To kick off our new blog, we’d like to take some time to look back and review the last three years, starting with the initial idea, through the major milestones and successes, and ending with our products.
The genesis of MotionMiners
The initial idea for Motion-Mining® came to Sascha Feldhorst in December 2014 while jogging and looking at his fitness tracker. He asked himself whether it would not be possible to carry out efficiency analyses in companies according to a similar principle. This led to his dissertation “Automatic Activity and Context Recognition for the Analysis of the Picking Process” at the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics in Dortmund.
This idea, of an automatic analysis of manual logistics processes using sensors and artificial intelligence, developed, thanks to the collaboration of Sascha Feldhorst, Rene Grzeszick and Sascha Kaczmarek, into the foundation of MotionMiners GmbH (October 2017), a spin-off of the Fraunhofer Institute. The full spin-off did not take place until last summer. Along with the final steps of the spin-off, the move out of the offices of the Digital Hub Logistics also took place at the end of 2019. The hub goes back to an initiative of the digital association Bitkom and is part of the Digital Hub Initiative (de:hub) of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) with a total of 12 hubs. Since then, we have stood completely on our own two feet.
First successes, further development and our products
The first success of our founding team was the acquisition of the Exist research transfer in fall 2017, which enabled the foundation of MotionMiners GmbH in October 2017. Winning the grand prize at the German national competition Digital Innovations in 2018 was another important step for funding the first two employees, who have been instrumental in shaping the project and product business to date. We are also particularly proud to receive the VDI Innovation Award 2019, the first non-startup award for us.
Since its foundation, MotionMiners GmbH has been growing steadily. Over the years, the team has grown from 3 to 30 miners today. Our team consists of people from a wide range of nationalities and disciplines, from logistics process engineers to hardware developers and data analysts.
As the team has grown, so has our offering and technology, most notably the detection of movements using machine learning and the handling and analysis of Big Data, which has evolved and improved over the years. We started developing our artificial intelligence using deep learning / machine learning, as well as learning process-specific movements for process analysis back in 2015. With the foundation in 2017, our service offering then also started. Here, we accompany our customers on site during the measurement of their manual processes and also during the subsequent evaluation. Our customers benefit from our experience in the areas of process mining and data analytics, among others. Through the automatic analysis of manual work, an effort reduction of approx. 80% can be achieved compared to analyses such as REFA, MTM or the Leitmerkmalmethode. Today, in addition to Motion-Mining® as a service, our portfolio includes our Manual Process Intelligence (MPI), the Motion-Mining® product solution, and the Motion-Mining® Tracing Solution (MMTS), a Corona countermeasure. We will discuss these solutions in detail later in this report.
Last year, we launched the beta phase of our MPI. Since then, 14 customers have taken advantage of our new offering. MPI enables our customers to independently perform automated efficiency and ergonomics analyses for their production and logistics processes for the first time. This year, in March 2020, it was awarded Best Product of the Year 2020 by LogiMAT, just in time with the exit of the beta phase.
The MotionMiners in times of Corona
2020 was a special year for us as well. Many trade fairs were cancelled or only offered digitally. We had to come to terms with the concept of a “home office” and the fact that we would not be able to work together physically for an indefinite period of time. In addition, planned projects were postponed because many companies had to send their employees on short-time work and analysis under normal conditions was not possible. In addition, there were contact restrictions and, depending on the industry, absolute bans on visits. This led to a deceleration of our project business. An increase in our Exist II funding came at just the right time and helped us greatly during these and subsequent months.
Against this background, we asked ourselves whether it would be possible to use our technology and experience in the field of process analysis and process optimization to make a contribution to the fight against or to life in times of COVID-19.
In May we started to develop our Motion-Mining® Tracing Solution (MMTS). The technology relieves and supports companies and employees in complying with hygiene and distance rules. It is an infection prevention tool. Consisting of an APP-beacon combination, the MMTS makes it easy and fast to trace infection chains and automatically categorize contacts to avoid a complete lockdown. The APP also provides real-time feedback to notify staff when clearances are not met or when the 15-minute contact time is exceeded. In case of infection, information on further measures can be retrieved via the APP. In addition, contact clusters can be detected to identify potential “super-spreaders”.
We already recorded the first success with our new technology in July 2020: In the Santander X Tomorrow Challenge, in which 2,200 companies from around the world participated, our Corona solution won in the Re-Invent category, the “reinvention of working life.”
Another milestone we set out to fulfill this summer is this blog. We’re excited to bring you even more interesting and in-depth behind-the-scenes insights from MotionMiners GmbH. We plan to share a post with you on a regular basis. The focus will be on topics related to logistics, production and MotionMiners. But we would also like to use this platform to give others the opportunity to present their know-how or innovations. We are curious to see how this blog will develop.
In this sense – Stay in Motion!