Q.ANT and Festo agree strategic partnership

Auto­ma­ti­on technology faci­li­ta­tes lar­ge-sca­le bio­mass cul­ti­va­ti­on using arti­fi­cial pho­to­syn­the­sis // Quantum sensor pro­vi­des infor­ma­ti­on on algae growth // Pro­to­ty­pe with quantum technology to be pre­sen­ted at Han­no­ver Mes­se 2022

Esslingen/Stuttgart/Ditzingen, May 22, 2022 – Festo and Q.ANT, a whol­ly owned sub­si­dia­ry of TRUMPF, are ent­e­ring into a stra­te­gic part­ners­hip to cul­ti­va­te bio­mass on an industrial sca­le. The two com­pa­nies aim to achie­ve this using a combi­nation of auto­ma­ti­on technology from Festo and quantum technology from Q.ANT. Algae offers signi­fi­cant poten­ti­al in this context. 

Algae are tiny cli­ma­te-chan­ge fighters

Algae have an extre­me­ly high pho­to­syn­the­tic effi­ci­en­cy in their natu­ral envi­ron­ment, bin­ding ten times more car­bon dioxi­de (CO2) than land plants. When algae are grown in bio­re­ac­tors equip­ped with appro­pria­te sensors, con­trol technology and auto­ma­ti­on, this effi­ci­en­cy can be incre­a­sed even fur­ther, reaching a hund­red­fold that of land plants. The sub­s­tan­ces crea­ted in this pro­cess can be used as raw mate­ri­als for phar­maceu­ti­cals, pack­a­ging and cos­me­tics and, ulti­mate­ly, recy­cled in ways that crea­te a cli­ma­te-neu­tral system. This gives algae con­si­derable poten­ti­al to dri­ve the cir­cu­lar economy. 

“We aim to make a decisi­ve con­tri­bu­ti­on toward impro­ving qua­li­ty of life for both cur­rent and future genera­ti­ons. Our auto­ma­ti­on technology and exper­ti­se in con­trol engi­nee­ring make us the per­fect part­ner for lar­ge-sca­le bio­mass cul­ti­va­ti­on,” says Prof. Vol­ker Nest­le, Head of Life­Tech Pro­duct Development at Festo. “Our goal is to deve­lop mate­ri­als that will be easier to com­post in the future. This opens up a who­le new chap­ter in our Bio­nic Lear­ning Network.” 

Festo pro­to­ty­pe at Han­no­ver Mes­se

One of the big­gest chal­len­ges lies in accu­rate­ly deter­mi­ning the amount of bio­mass. To do this, Festo reli­es on quantum sensor technology from Q.ANT. “Our quantum-based par­ti­cle sensors open the door to new pro­ces­ses, app­li­ca­ti­ons and industrial pro­ducts. Using this technology for industrial pho­to­syn­the­sis is a gre­at way to demons­tra­te how much poten­ti­al it offers for the future,” says Dr. Micha­el Förtsch, CEO of Q.ANT. A pro­to­ty­pe of a system with quantum technology will be pre­sen­ted at Han­no­ver Mes­se 2022. 

Quantum sensor enab­les cell measurements

The Q.ANT sensor pro­vi­des pre­cise, real-time infor­ma­ti­on on the orga­nisms’ growth. To obtain this infor­ma­ti­on, algae are con­vey­ed to the sensor auto­ma­ti­cal­ly and con­ti­nuous­ly through spe­cial micro­flui­dic com­pon­ents made by Festo, such as pumps that can hand­le extre­me­ly small quan­ti­ties of liquids with out­stan­ding pre­cisi­on. The quantum sensor is able to opti­cal­ly ana­ly­ze indi­vi­du­al cells in order to pre­cise­ly deter­mi­ne the amount of bio­mass. It also checks the cells’ vita­li­ty with the help of arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence. Only then is it pos­si­ble to respond proac­tively to pro­cess events and take steps to regu­la­te them. 

About Festo

Festo is an inde­pen­dent fami­ly-owned com­pa­ny head­quar­te­red in Ess­lin­gen am Neckar. It is also a glo­bal play­er that has been set­ting stan­dards in industrial auto­ma­ti­on technology and tech­ni­cal trai­ning ever sin­ce it was foun­ded, thus con­tri­bu­ting to the sus­tainab­le development of the envi­ron­ment, eco­no­my and socie­ty. Festo sup­plies pneu­ma­tic and electric auto­ma­ti­on technology to 300,000 cus­to­mers that use fac­to­ry and pro­cess auto­ma­ti­on in over 35 dif­fe­rent indus­tries. Its Life­Tech divi­si­on, which offers solu­ti­ons for medi­cal technology and labo­ra­to­ry auto­ma­ti­on, is beco­m­ing an incre­a­singly important part of its busi­ness. Festo’s pro­ducts and ser­vices are avail­ab­le in 176 coun­tries around the world. Employ­ing some 20,000 peop­le at over 250 branch offices in 61 coun­tries, the com­pa­ny gene­ra­ted sales of around 2.84 bil­li­on euros in 2020. Each year, it invests appro­xi­mate­ly 8 per­cent of its tur­no­ver in rese­arch and development. As a lear­ning com­pa­ny, it also invests 1.5 per­cent of its tur­no­ver in trai­ning and development pro­grams. Festo Didac­tic SE is a lea­ding pro­vi­der of tech­ni­cal edu­ca­ti­on and trai­ning. It pro­vi­des cus­to­mers world­wi­de with com­pre­hen­si­ve digi­tal and in-per­son lear­ning solu­ti­ons in industrial settings. 
More infor­ma­ti­on is avail­ab­le on Festo’s web­site at http://www.festo.de.

About TRUMPF

TRUMPF is a high-tech com­pa­ny offe­ring manu­fac­tu­ring solu­ti­ons in the fiel­ds of machi­ne tools and laser technology. The Com­pa­ny dri­ves digi­tal con­nec­ti­vi­ty in the manu­fac­tu­ring through con­sul­ting, plat­form pro­ducts and soft­ware. TRUMPF is a technology and mar­ket lea­der in high­ly ver­sa­ti­le machi­ne tools for sheet metal pro­ces­sing and in the field of industrial lasers. In 2020/21, the com­pa­ny employ­ed some 14,800 peop­le and gene­ra­ted sales of about 3.5 bil­li­on euros. With over 80 sub­si­dia­ries, the TRUMPF Group is repre­sen­ted in near­ly every Euro­pean coun­try as well as in North Ame­ri­ca, South Ame­ri­ca and Asia. The com­pa­ny has pro­duc­tion faci­li­ties in Ger­ma­ny, Fran­ce, the United King­dom, Ita­ly, Aus­tria, Switz­er­land, Poland, the Czech Repu­blic, the United Sta­tes, Mexi­co and China. 
Find out more about TRUMPF at http://www.trumpf.de.

About Q.ANT

Foun­ded in 2018, Q.ANT is a high-tech start­up and part of the TRUMPF Group. Q.ANT’s visi­on is to impro­ve the qua­li­ty of how machi­nes ana­ly­ze their envi­ron­ment, how humans pro­cess infor­ma­ti­on, and how we think. To achie­ve this goal, Q.ANT deve­lo­ps quantum sensors and quantum com­pu­ting chips based on its Quantum Pho­to­nic Framework. 

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