OWL Innovation Award 2020



New development Altendorf Hand Guard awarded for trend-setting occupational safety on sliding table saws.

Altendorf GmbH from Minden impressed the 12-person jury in the “Industry and trade” category with a new type of safety system for sliding table saws. This is an important field of development, because the hands to guide the workpieces during the sawing process are often only a few centimetres away from the saw blade rotating at high speed. When cutting a wide variety of materials with sliding table saws, accidents at work happen every day around the world. The protective systems already known mostly rely on the conductivity of the skin in order to recognise a dangerous situation and then to bring the saw blade to a standstill with an impulse. The problem: With all existing solutions, the contact between the saw blade and the hand must first take place for the safety system to take effect. In some systems, components inside the machine are even damaged, so that it is not possible to continue working afterwards.

The point in time at which the hazard is identified is decisive.

"The Altendorf system is based on the early detection of a dangerous situation. Different defined situations are optically recognised and classified. Two cameras collect the data for this, which are processed by a powerful hand recognition program. If the system detects a hazardous situation, ”

the hazard is eliminated: Within a quarter of a second, the saw unit is quickly lowered and the saw blade stopped. The machine can continue working immediately after the safety assistant has been triggered. There is no damage to the machine or the saw blade, therefore the productivity of the company is maintained. Karl-Friedrich Schröder, Head of Development at the Altendorf Group, explains the motivation behind the pioneering development: “We were not satisfied that existing systems only start working after the accident happened and at the same time destroy parts of the machine. Our goal was to start earlier. First and foremost, we wanted to avoid accidents, i.e. to protect the operator. That is why we have developed a system with which we can gain valuable time. In this way we can, so to speak, switch off the danger before contact is made.

Awarded for innovation.

"At the award ceremony on 9 January 2020 at the BildungsCampus Herford, Thomas Niehoff, General Manager of the Chamber of Commerce Ostwestfalen zu Bielefeld, in his capacity as spokesman for the jury, emphasised the innovative strength of the many years of development work of the machine manufacturer. “In the opinion of the jury, Altendorf has made a leap in innovation in the safety of circular saws over many years of development work. This will set new standards that will improve the requirements for occupational safety in the woodworking industry and in the trade around the world. At the same time, the company is positioning itself well in global competition. With the system, Altendorf will significantly increase its sales and secure employment,” according to the statement of the jury.”

Strong competition at the 13th OWL Innovation Award.

"Companies from East Westphalia are awarded the OWL Innovation Award for innovative products, services and processes. The award is an important business award with a large number of participants. At the 13th call for entries for the competition, 85 companies submitted 91 innovations. After an intensive evaluation process, the jury selected five winners from the top-class field of participants. The focus was in particular on the criteria of novelty and uniqueness, customer benefit and added value compared to similar solutions, market success or market potential and the impact of innovation on the future viability of the company.”