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Innovation is a Company’s Best Asset
June 17, 2010   
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A system for improving hearing in patients with cochlear implants, new environmentally friendly engineering technology, and polymers that shine blue—these are just some of the innovations that were showcased at this year’s Intarg National Fair for Economic and Scientific Innovations in the southern city of Katowice April 23-25.

This year’s event, held for the fifth time, focused on the subject of “Knowledge and Innovation as Best Business Assets.” Forty exhibitors, including entrepreneurs, research centers, universities and schools, displayed their innovations. Twelve exhibitors were named Innovation Leaders in a national competition that has accompanied the fair since it was launched in 2002.

This year, two “Innovation Super-Leader” titles were granted as well. The first one went to the Institute of Mechanized Construction and Rock Mining in Warsaw for being named Innovation Leader five times in a row. The other was presented to Deputy Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak for his contribution and commitment to the implementation of the European Union’s Innovative Economy Operational Program.

Innovation leaders
The Innovation Leader competition was organized by the Regional Innovation Center/Silesia Province Club for Technology and Improvement in Katowice, in association with the Katowice International Fair company, the Upper Silesian Agency for Enterprise Restructuring, and the Eurobusiness-Haller company. The event was held under the auspices of the Ministry of the Economy, the president of the Polish Patent Office, and the chairman of Silesia province.

In addition to exhibition stands, the fair featured a series of seminars dedicated to issues such as investment in new technology, subsidies for innovation in the small and medium-sized business sector, and the use of innovative ideas in business practice.

Apart from inventions and new technology, new products based on inventions, innovative architectural projects, and leading data storage and processing systems were singled out for praise, along with modern educational programs, outstanding dissertations and new management ideas.

Award winners
The award winners this year included a number of engineering projects, such as an environmentally friendly technology for deep purification of coke-oven gas (Koksoprojekt Design Office); a new method for wet quenching of coke (Multicon Technical Modernization Company); and an invention called “a method and system for the separation of tar from coking waters” (Multicon Technical Modernization Company). The exhibition also featured other environmental projects, including “a technology for cleaning and low-temperature remelting of the metal components of waste batteries” (Orzeł Biały SA), and “a system for safe neutralization of asbestos-containing waste” (¦rodowisko I Innowacje Sp. z o.o).

Car cosmetics producer Melle showed several dozen car care and cleaning products, most of them made with the use of nanotechnology.

Two Innovation Leader titles went to inventions related to improving and testing hearing. The Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing in Warsaw won praise for its “system for the tele-rehabilitation of patients with cochlear implants,” enabling remote control, setting and adjustment of cochlear implants in patients regardless of their whereabouts.

A company called Instytut Narz±dów Zmysłów (The Institute of Sense Organs) was named Innovation Leader for its “Senses Examination Platform.” This is a portable device for the screening of hearing, sight and speech in children, teenagers and people with special educational needs. The device can be used for audiometric tests, screening tests of hearing, speech and sight, and for audiological testing, the company says.

The University of Silesia in Katowice, the Central Mining Institute and the Silesian University of Technology received a joint award for inventing a method for producing photoluminescent polymers. According to the inventors, these polymers could mark a breakthrough in the production of Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) displays and computer monitors. In normal conditions, they look like transparent plastic film, the inventors say, but when stimulated with ultraviolet light or electric current, they shine blue. Blue polymers are the most difficult to make, the scientists say. They hope that their invention will result in the production of higher resolution displays.

The Silesian University of Technology, in association with the Wasko company, won another award—for their WAMAX broadband platform for wireless data transmission. This device, based on WiMAX technology, enables high-capacity radio access over large areas, the inventors say. It offers an alternative to wire networks, especially as it requires smaller financial outlays to build the necessary infrastructure, according to the inventors.

The Institute of Mechanized Construction and Rock Mining was named Innovation Super-Leader for winning an award in the competition for the fifth straight time. This year the institute exhibited an innovative technology for making composite boards from packaging waste for use in the construction sector.

Ewa Dereń
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