ICNAP Interview Kristian Arntz

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Kristian Arntz co-founded ICNAP in 2018. As CEO, he is responsible for the strategic orientation and the merging of research topics and industrial collaboration. Kristian was born in Cologne in 1978 and studied Mechanical Engineering at RWTH Aachen University after graduating from high school, majoring in Production and Materials Engineering. Since 2003, he has worked at the Fraunhofer IPT in various positions as a research assistant and head of department. In addition, with the WBA Aachener Werkzeugbau Akademie GmbH and the ACAM Aachen Center for Additive Manufacturing GmbH, he was already involved in the successful establishment of two competence centers in Aachen before ICNAP.

What are your tasks at ICNAP?

As managing director of ICNAP, I am responsible for the strategic orientation of the activities and the anchoring in the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and the digitization activities at the Aachen site. Currently, we are primarily concerned with the question of how we can create even greater added value for our members by more closely linking publicly funded research activities with the studies and working groups in the ICNAP community. To this end, we are also working in particular on new structures and more agile project management.

What motivates you?

In recent years, the topic of digitalization has become one of the central themes for further development in the manufacturing industry. For me, it is a great motivation to drive forward and help shape this important topic of the future. We have an ideal environment for this here at the Fraunhofer IPT. And working with motivated and accomplished colleagues - that makes it even more fun.

Why should companies become part of the ICNAP community?

For many a company management, it may still feel foreign to collaborate with competitors. However, I firmly believe that collaboration across company boundaries is exactly the right way to move big issues forward faster and more efficiently. We have established this very successfully in various topic areas and industries, and with the ICNAP community we are creating an ideal basis for building knowledge and exchanging ideas with each other.

How can companies benefit from research in the area of digitization?

Each of our partners contributes its current topics and questions to the working groups of the ICNAP Community. We have structured our research activities in such a way that they are thematically oriented to the working groups. This allows us to transfer topics from industry directly into corresponding research projects when fundamental aspects need to be considered. At the same time, this structure enables us to make results available to partners more quickly and to regularly check whether the desired added value is actually occurring. This benefits everyone involved.

What are the major current issues and challenges in the area of digitalization?

Digitalization is more than digitization which means the implementation of infrastructure in the various areas of manufacturing and business organization. It is necessary to think much bigger and enable optimal interaction, from data acquisition, further processing, interpretation and use to the question of which legal framework conditions are changing and with which business models the whole thing can also be monetized. In my opinion, synchronizing these diverse facets is one of the greatest challenges we currently face.