Innovation, Research & Development
The PALFINGER brand stands for innovative, reliable, safe, and efficient crane and lifting solutions. Strategic investment in research and development (R&D) strengthens the core business and supports the advance of the digital transformation at all levels. In this way, PALFINGER delivers on its promise of LIFETIME EXCELLENCE – solutions and products that create added monetary value for customers throughout and beyond the products’ life cycles. At the same time they serve to develop new business models and new markets.
Research and Development (R&D)
With the introduction of the GPO, the decentralized R&D organization was turned into a global matrix for Product Line Management & Engineering (PLM & E Organization). This matrix defines and develops all product lines globally and exploits synergies, shared processes, and reusable elements on the basis of a modular construction kit.
Four business models specify the internal value creation and address various market and application needs:
- Standard offers standard configurations of the construction kit in a minimum-cost and highly efficient internal value chain.
- Configurated is PALFINGER’s central business model and defines global modular construction kit architectures.
- Customized allows design variations to customer specifications within the defined modular construction kit architecture.
- Project makes it possible to offer defined solutions on the basis of specific customer and tender requirements.
PALFINGER continuously develops decisive new competencies in order to create the products of the future.
- Project & Portfolio Management
- Product Life Cycle Management
- Model-Based System Engineering
- Business Intelligence & Big Data Analytics
The corporate incubator P21st pursues digital ideas and disruptive innovations. To this end, P21st cooperates with PALFINGER’s core organization, particularly the product lines and centers of excellence, as well as with external partners from industry and research. P21st has also been able to successfully support a number of initiatives with outside research grants.
COVID-19 caused P21st to shift its focus more to promoting the innovation network within the PALFINGER organization. Significant new ideas were introduced thanks to a range of initiatives, such as the Innovation Challenge, a company-wide ideas competition, and the setting-up of a digital innovation platform for the entire Group.
STRUCINSPECT – PALFINGER joint venture for digital bridge inspection
The digital bridge inspection service STRUCINSPECT, a joint venture of PALFINGER, the Angst Group, and VCE Vienna
Consulting Engineers ZT GmbH, successfully completed its second year of operation in 2020. It won the Austrian “State Digitalization Award” and the “Digital Impuls Award” presented by Die Presse, a daily newspaper, and 3 Business, a mobile telephony provider.
Protecting PALFINGER’s intellectual property
For PALFINGER as a technology and market leader, intellectual property (IP) is vitally important. IP management is an integral part of the System Management & Engineering center of excellence. It assesses IP risks and opportunities, supports the research process, and manages the interfaces to external patent attorneys and the PALFINGER IP data-base.
In 2020, PALFINGER had over 111 active patent families (utility models, national and international patents). A large number of other ideas, utility models and patents are being prepared or have been filed. PALFINGER also holds de-sign patents to protect functional designs.
Sustainable products and solutions
For PALFINGER, supplying sustainable products and solutions is of paramount importance. PALFINGER defines sustainable products according to two main factors: (1) the health and safety of customers, operators, and users, and (2) the environmental impact of producing and operating the products and solutions.
Major innovations in 2020
The Loader Crane, Marine Crane & Wind Crane product line focused chiefly on the launch of knuckle boom TEC models in EMEA and NAM. For container handling, new stabilizers were developed and launched on the market in 2020. Series development of the Smart Control system for digitalization of crane operation was completed and commercialization will start in 2021 following successful system verification and validation.
Fast Tipping Down for TEC5 models: this new function guarantees safe movements and a constant working speed no matter what kind of load is in the container.
In the Tail Lifts & Passenger Systems product line, new tail lift models were added to the light commercial vehicle sector. The new RCBT remote control unit with Bluetooth® 5.0 technology is available for all tail lifts in the range.
PALFINGER has developed a new generation of unmanned offshore cranes which can be controlled remotely from a cockpit on land and offer a range of support functions that improve safety when working in challenging weather conditions.
A new advanced A-frame system was developed for the research vessel R/V OceanX for starting flexibly and recovering submarine vehicles.
In 2020, “Metallization”, the new surface protection, was introduced. This new process provides vastly improved protection against corrosion of surfaces subjected to heavy use.