Horst Harrer seems a fairly typical German small business owner. His company Harrer & Kassen, which he started 20 years ago in the south-western town Langenbrand, employees nine workers to develop measuring devices for industry. However, his growth horizon makes him stand out from the crowd. In 2006, his company's yearly turnover was 1 million euros and, despite the crisis, he aims to make double that in 2010.
Part of the secret of his company's expansion is due to a new product developed as a EUREKA project - an instrument to measure colour which can help monitor production processes, particularly of foods. Harrer has found even after just one initial visit to China, he is already receiving lots of interest in this colour spectrometer from sugar factories there. "The potential is enormous," he says. "There is one province alone which has 110 sugar plants."
It was about two years ago that Harrer spotted the niche in the market which would help his company and two European partner firms grow their businesses. Polz, a long-standing Czech distributor for Harrer, a specialist in analysing colour in the paper and transmissible film industries, told Harrer's company it often received requests to measure colour in other industrial processes. There was nothing suitable on the market that was reliable and affordable.
The pair decided to work together to develop an accessibly priced colour spectrometer. Harrer & Kassen turned to a company it had worked with before in France EDIT to develop the software for maintaining and analysing the colour readings and the trio decided to carry out their research as a EUREKA project, helping them to secure financing in their respective countries.
Measuring colour is done by collecting and quantifying the amount of light reflected from an illuminated object. In existing systems the light receiver and the digitiser (which converts a signal into a digital reading) are in one unit and flash illuminati
|Contact: Piotr Pogorzelski|