Written By: Sath Rao, Frost & Sullivan
The Frost & Sullivan Award for Product Innovation of the Year is bestowed each year upon the company that has demonstrated excellence in technology leadership within their industry. The recipient company has demonstrated technology leadership by excelling in all stages of the technology life cycle—incubation, adaptation, take-up and maturity—to ensure a continuous flow of improvements. By innovating leading-edge concepts the company has pioneered client applications, which have the potential to emerge as best practices across several industries.
To choose the recipient of this Award, the analyst team tracks all emerging technologies and ongoing research and development projects within the industry. This process includes interviews with market participants, end-users and extensive secondary and technology research. The technologies and research projects are then compared according to customer segmentations. Also considered are elements such as design innovation, unique problem that the product solves, customer acceptance rates, industry adoption rate, ability of the technology to emerge as best practices, and estimated time to market. Competitors are then compared and ranked for relative position. The company chosen to receive the Award received the number one industry ranking in the application category.
In addition to the methodology described above, there are specific criteria used in determining the final ranking of the competitors in this industry. The recipient of this Award has excelled based on one or more of the following criteria:
· Significance of the technology in the industry
· Product innovation and application expertise
· Number of competitors having similar industry technology
· Process refinements that help meet the changing end-user needs
· Value-added technology and services to the customers
· Adoption rate by industry participants
· Product innovation
The recipient of the Frost & Sullivan Product Innovation Award for 2004 is Leica Geosystems. Leica Geosystems is a pioneer in the design and manufacture of precision optical equipments used in industrial metrology. Its optical and universal coordinate measuring machines are a standard in high precision, non-contact metrology used by high precision industries such as aerospace and automotive manufacturing.
Building on its history of over 150 years, Leica Geosystems has continued on the path of innovation and delivered outstanding product concepts, which solve real world manufacturing problems.
Leica Geosystems has a leading position in the laser tracker market in the aerospace industry. Customers increasingly use Leica Geosystems laser trackers to ensure accuracy of large fabrications, and ensure alignment in the final assembly process. In the automotive industry, customers also use competing portable coordinate measuring machines (CMM) i.e. articulated arms. Customers however often reported that frequent repositioning of the articulated arm led to loss of accuracy and decreased efficiency. Listening to customers, Leica Geosystems developed an armless solution, the Leica T-Probe and Leica T-Scan, for use with its laser trackers. The combination of the tracker technology with photogrammetry forms the base of Leica Geosystems’ new Local Positioning Technology (LPT) that enables real time measurements with freely in space moved hand held devices such as the T-Probe and T-Scan. With the walk around CMM, T-Probe, customers now have an alternative option to using articulated arms to further decrease measurement times by simultaneously increasing the accuracy and measurement range.
The T-Probe and the T-Scan is proof of Leica Geosystems continued innovation. Both overcome the problems that plagued the laser tracker industry i.e. “ need for a direct line of sight” to make measurements. The T-Probe is made up of carbon fiber composite, insensitive to temperature changes and is shock-resistant. The completely wireless, the ultra-light T-Probe can be used for easy and flexible measurement of any geometry in large measurement volumes. Using its remote trigger, measurements can be taken within areas of up to 30 meters. The T-Scan that captures 10’000 points per second offers the benefit of digitizing large objects quickly. It is insensitive to different surfaces and needs no surface preparation. Customers have already started reporting increased savings on measurement time as well in accuracy by using some of the innovations offered by Leica Geosystems.
Leica Geosystems has also focused on software innovations to drive value for its customers. Customers have often expressed the wish to run their standard CMM software and CAD software with Leica Geosystems’ trackers. The new emScon open software interface allows the customers to embed Leica Geosystems’ laser tracker in any application software. With this web enabled solution a customer can connect and measure with the Leica Geosystems tracker from a website, he just needs its web address.
In several manufacturing segments, customers using Leica Geosystems products have reported improving end-product quality, savings in production waste, reduction in manufacturing costs and reduced down time. Leica Geosystems has demonstrated technology innovation and application expertise and its contributions are reflected in the increasing adoption rate across target industries across the world. Its focus on delivering value and innovation to its customers have qualified Leica Geosystems to be the rightful recipient of the Frost & Sullivan Industrial Automation Product Innovation of the Year Award for 2004.