With the Innovation Award IKU, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) honors innovative technologies, processes, products, services and business models that show new ways in the field of climate and environmental protection and thus recognizes the commitment of business and research. Companies could apply in seven categories. Six of them have now been awarded first place, in some cases twice. The top-class jury, which made its decisions based on scientific evaluations by the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI, thus honored ten pioneering projects from a total of 150 applications received. Criteria included innovation performance, contribution to climate and environmental protection, market potential of the innovation, benefits for consumers and companies, and possible synergy effects. Kurtz GmbH & Co. KG may now call itself the sole winner in the category “Environmentally Friendly Technologies”. Kurtz developers worked on the competition entry Radio Frequency (RF) technology for almost four years. The technology enables the processing of particle foams by electromagnetic waves in the high-frequency range. Compared to conventional steam processing, RF can save up to 70% CO2, 90% energy and 100% water, depending on the material used.
At the IKU 2022, Kurtz, as a manufacturer for shape moulding machines, went to the start with the project “Resource-saving moulded parts production from biomaterials and recycled materials using radio frequency”. In addition to the savings mentioned above, RF technology offers a sustainable solution for the cycle, as it achieves recycling rates of up to 100% and for the first time also allows the processing of biological materials such as corn grits – a by-product in food production that is usually disposed of. Kurtz's RF technology enables access to many other markets; potential fields of application are primarily a wide variety of component groups in the e-mobility industry. New business areas are also emerging through the processing of high-temperature resistant materials with a fusion temperature of up to 250 °C, for example in the aviation or automotive industry.
First reactions of the Kurtz management directly after the award ceremony: “It was a great surprise and great honor to receive this award. It is a good feeling that the invested work of our employees has paid off. An even greater gift is knowing that we are contributing to climate protection with our development and helping to drive the circular economy in our industry,” said Uwe Rothaug. Matthias Hofmann added: “We are delighted that, after winning the Bavarian Energy Award 2020, we have now also been honored at national level with the IKU 2022 and have been able to convince such a top-class jury of our sustainable technology. The award encourages us to set new ambitious goals in the development of climate-friendly technologies and to continuously develop and optimize existing processes in terms of sustainability.”
Get to know more about RF Technology
Watch Award Winner Video