Interview Dirk Büttner – INNOspace Masters Overall Winner 2019
Axiotherm GmbH, the overall winner of the 2019 INNOspace Masters, enables industry and service companies to benefit from increased efficiency and effectiveness offered by PCM (Phase Change Materials). The company provides extensive experience in development and application planning, and is a manufacturer and expert partner for leading companies, and a specialist for cost-efficient systems based on approved macro encapsulations.
Regine Heue (RH), Head of Marketing & Communications at AZO, interviews Dirk Büttner (DB), Key Account Manager at Axiotherm GmbH and ESDA Technologie GmbH.
RH: In 2019, you have submitted your project to the INNOspace Masters. What was your motivation to participate in the competition?
DB: For many years, ESDA Technologie GmbH – a typical SME – has been one of the leading producers of technical extrusion blow-moulded parts and innovative plastic products. Due to our spin-off in 2015, we have been able to successfully establish Axiotherm GmbH and, today, we are a leading supplier of macro-encapsulated PCM thermal storage solutions on the market. R&D in this field is of central importance for us. Due to increased customer enquiries in recent years, we have intensified our research in the field of material development for the thermal stabilisation of electronic components and systems. We became aware of the INNOspace Masters innovation competition as we are a member of Space2Motion. This competition for the next space generation seemed to us to be the perfect opportunity to present our development and its application potential in the space industry and to a jury of experts not otherwise to be found in this form.
RH: How did winning the Challenge help develop your project and what kind of support do/did you receive from OHB?
DB: First of all, being the overall winner of the 2019 INNOspace Masters was, of course, fantastic publicity for us, both as a company and for our product, which is already reflected in numerous specific enquiries. But the innovation competition itself also helped us enormously due to the constructive feedback of the expert jury in the different phases in order to get further focused and to consider important, additional aspects.
RH: What is the current development status of your project?
DB: Our development project with OHB has not yet started but, irrespective of this, we have already started a project with the Center for Sustainable Energy Technology (KET) at the University of Paderborn. A FEA/CFD model environment is currently being developed with an interdisciplinary team of scientists from the power electronics and mechanical engineering sectors in order to be able to thermally and electrically simulate specific components and systems in the future and thus evaluate the potential of our PCM polymer in various operating modes, such as, for example, batteries or electronic heat sinks. Nevertheless, OHB already has another project, which is also the same topic of use. The first talks with one of their customers are currently being conducted by OHB.
RH: Last but not least, what are your recommendations for interested participants of the INNOspace Masters competition?
DB: As I mentioned before, I would like to emphasise the uniquely high quality of the entire innovation competition, and I can highly recommend participating in the INNOspace Masters to anyone who wants to place their idea or project in the space industry. Of course, the effort in participating is significant throughout the course of the event but, for me personally, it is in a fair proportion to the outcome. Not only for our company but also on a personal level, it is a true “challenge” that benefitted us all greatly. If I just think back to the pitch coaching by Airbus together with the other finalists, this was a lasting, positive experience, both technically and for us as people.