NEXTSENSE passes the €10 million mark
Winning the Styrian innovation award in 2007 provided the four former employees of JOANNEUM RESEARCH (Clemens Gasser, Albert Niel, Peter Kaufmann and Edwin Deutschl) with the start-up capital to found NEXTSENSE GmbH. The success story of the Graz-based measurement technology company now includes more than 70 employees, rapid growth and the international success of their measuring and inspection systems based on the "Calipri“ measurement principle. The opening of the first overseas branch in Atlanta, USA, in the previous year sets a clear course – NEXTSENSE wants to become the global market leader. That is why the opening of a Chinese subsidiary in Shanghai is already planned for this year.
In the context of its second Fast Forward Award from the Styrian Business Promotion Agency (SFG), NEXTSENSE GmbH's interim balance sheet is looking more than healthy. In early October, the €10 million threshold for incoming orders was crossed – a quarter sooner than planned. Now the company is aiming for a turnover of €13 million by the end of the year, at an EBIT of approximately €3 million. Clemens Gasser, Managing Director of NEXTSENSE GmbH, is looking to the future with confidence: "We are well prepared for the next step in our growth with an equity ratio of more than 90%, no bank loans, a powerful strategy, motivated employees and unique technological features."
At the core of the Austrian company's sustained success is the further development of its profile measurement method. The "Calipri principle" developed by the four founders and patented by NEXTSENSE is based on the laser light section technology. In this method, a laser line is projected onto an object and captured by a camera in order to measure the height profile along this line. What makes NEXTSENSE's principle unique worldwide is that it uses three parallel laser lines instead of one. This enables a complex mathematical algorithm to correct rotations and tilts. Thanks to this correction, NEXTSENSE measurement devices can be conveniently operated by hand without influencing the measurement result – at an accuracy in the micrometer range. With its unique method, NEXTSENSE first conquered the railway industry, where the company's CALIPRI measurement devices are used for wear measurements on wheels and rails. Around the world, this safety-related application range is now firmly in the hands of the Austrian company. In addition to European national railways, such as the Austrian ÖBB, the German Deutsche Bahn and the French SNCF, railway operators in China, Japan, the USA and Russia rely on the unique technology.
The step into the automotive industry followed in 2009. A newspaper article brought the measurement technology company to the attention of Magna Steyr. Since then it is particularly premium manufacturers, among them Audi and Daimler, who swear by the NEXTSENSE profile measurement devices for gap measurement to improve the appearance of their cars. Further possible applications for the Calipri principle are in the steel and aerospace industries, where it is already used by voestalpine and Airbus.
The path to the future for NEXTSENSE is therefore set to stay on international railways, roads, and increasingly airspace. To achieve this, the high-tech company is aiming for at least 25% annual growth in the next five years, which corresponds to a €30 million turnover by 2021. This organic growth should also have a positive effect on the number of employees. There are currently already more than 70 members of staff at NEXTSENSE, and that number is intended to reach around 120 by 2021. Recruitment is on-going, as Gasser says: "We are looking for committed personalities with an entrepreneurial approach and ambition for more. Due to our strong growth, it is likely that every single department will be affected."