About: Dr. Schmidt Andreas - Director of Hohenstein's Function and Care Department
Founded in 1946 and run to this day as a family business, the Hohenstein Institute, with a total of about 500 employees at the site in Bönnigheim and in over 40 contact offices globally, is among the most important independent research and testing institutions in the textile sector. Our core competence forms not only the application-oriented research and development of innovative products and processes, but also a wide range of tests and certifications which are utilised by numerous customers from trade and industry as an established basis for making decisions on product development and marketing.
1. Can we start with a quick overview of your company? You are one of the world's leading textile research and testing laboratories, Can you comment on that?
Since its foundation in 1946, the Hohenstein Institute has developed into an internationally renowned institution for testing, application-based research and development, consultancy and inspection for high technology and functional military textile articles and many other associated areas. We know that our customer’s success in today’s markets mainly depends on technological leadership and innovation. For this we invest a great deal of our energy into research activities to ensure that our clients always have a competitive edge. With our interdisciplinary team of more than 500 highly qualified and committed employees in Germany and in 40 branch offices worldwide we work in the best-equipped, state-of-the-art laboratories to provide our clients with reliable results and solutions. Test designs, for example, can be fully customized to explore the most diverse and specific challenges. Finding answers to such challenges are our speciality.
2. Can you comment on the current condition of the defence sector and the major trends and development that are going forward?
The global economic crisis also had a negative impact on the military industry. However, emerging actors in the global defence market, such as Russia, India & China have increased their military budget. The success of today’s missions in ever faster changing scenarios and environments largely depends on the well-being of the soldiers on duty. If we take a look at the soldier‘s clothing system, the aim is to develop lighter, more breathable and comfortable materials with no compromise on ergonomics and operational capabilities. Optimized ergonomic fit for both genders helps to maintain manoeuvrability in combat.
3. What excites you most about Defence Sector and what were the most important achievements for HOHENSTEIN INSTITUTE?
Well, the defence industry is an extremely innovative sector and we at Hohenstein thrive on challenges and love to develop new ideas together with our customers. And if the soldiers on duty feel comfortable in their clothing, our work contributes to their safety and the successful completion of military operations.
4. How has the current economic climate impacted your company?
We are very fortunate that the economic situation has not yet had large impact on our company. Our very diversified and innovation-based approach is helping us to even expand our market position.
5. What is the place of innovation in a company as large as HOHENSTEIN INSTITUTE? Where are your key markets and where would you see your main focus in the future?
The Hohenstein Institutes see themselves as partners of the industry. Through our intensive collaboration with the industry and other research institutes in relevant research projects and standardizing bodies we are actively involved in the latest developments on the market and in defining new standards. This knowledge edge is often critical to meeting the growing market demands for our customers worldwide. Our key market is, of course, still Germany, however, in the last years the international market has gained importance. And we are excellently positioned, not just in the German and European markets, but with a tightly meshed international network covering all world regions that matter for our business. Currently we are experiencing strong demand from China, India, the United States and Russia for our services.
6. HOHENSTEIN INSTITUTE is growing fast across the globe, since its inception in the year 1946. How do you see things going forward in Asian region? What else is driving HOHENSTEIN INSTITUTE’s growth?
We are where our customers need us – worldwide and we will continue to extend our international presence in order to serve our markets as effectively as possible. Also on the Asian market ever new functions and innovative textile materials set the pace for the industry making innovation an essential requirement for successful business operations. Another focus is the safety aspect in the entire clothing business that is gaining ever more importance worldwide. With the improvement of life situations also in the emerging countries, the awareness for the importance of safety at work also rises. The aim is to develop clothing, which is not only safe, but also comfortable for the wearer to ensure best possible concentration and thus less injuries and illnesses at work.
7. What makes you so different from your competitors in terms of developing these products?
Compared to most of our competitors, we do not only offer pure testing, but also extensive research and development in many fields and are thus providing our clients with a substantial added value in international competition. Thanks to the interdisciplinary cooperation between textile engineers, chemists, physicians, biologists and physicists, we are uniquely positioned to fulfil the individual requirements of our customers from a single source. As pioneers not only in the field of clothing physiology, we help our customers to improve the performance of clothing systems and thus the efficiency of soldiers on duty.
8. What do you see as the single biggest challenge for the Defence Industry in 2013? What are some of the newer, exciting technologies or products that HOHENSTEIN INSTITUTE is working on?
Successful missions nowadays often depend on the performance of the tactical clothing and equipment. The soldiers survivability, mobility and stamina is closely linked with wear comfort and fit of the clothing. Heat stress is a prevalent problem in today’s military operations. The cooling of the soldier is a vital problem, that must be solved. One recent achievement in military research at our institute was the successful development of a new type of IR-absorbent textiles with a far better screening effect than with conventional camouflage prints helping to make soldiers invisible to the CCD sensors on nightvision devices. And we have also developed a new testing method for acoustic measurements of textiles in order to ensure low-noise emissions of the materials used for example for clothing of military staff.
9. Defence-industries is a connecting point for buyers and suppliers across the global defence industry. Used daily as means of creating partnerships and as a point of reference by professionals within the defence industry, this comprehensive resource supplies the latest news releases, detailed information on industry projects, event information and careful segregation of products and services. What do you think about our website which promotes & brands defence industry today on such a wide scale?
For us, Defence Industries provides a professional platform to offer our services to the military industry worldwide at competitive prices.