CEO Dr. Claudia Reinlein (center) at the award ceremony.
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Zwobbel enables innovative laser material processing

Spin-off of the University of Jena receives the Thuringian "ThEx Award" in the category "Founding"
CEO Dr. Claudia Reinlein (center) at the award ceremony.
Image: Thomas Müller
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Published: 18 November 2021, 19:00 | By: Axel Burchardt/Vivien Busse, translation by Luzie Rogulis.

The presentation of the "ThEx AWARDs" is the highlight of the current Founders' Week in Thuringia. Robust AO GmbH, a spin-off of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena and the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering (IOF), can look forward to one of these start-up prizes awarded in three categories. It convinced the jury in the category "Founding" and was awarded the first prize of 6,000 Euros by the Thuringian Center for Business Start-ups and Entrepreneurship (ThEx) on November 18th.

Winner funded at university's start-up centre

The core idea of Robust AO is the development of a mirror that turns a 2D laser material processing machine into a 3D machine. The "Z-axis" used for this purpose, the so-called Zwobbel®, offers a solution for retrofitting machines. The company is convinced, that with the Zwobbel® as a highly dynamic z-axis laser machine manufacturers will increase the profitability of systems, as the Zwobbel® is up to 100 times faster than competing products. The technology also enables completely new and individual machining processes. Development services for other mirror systems are offered in addition to adaptive optics. Founder Dr. Claudia Reinlein and her teammates Marlies Gier and Immanuel Burkhardt were given an EXIST start-up scholarship at the start-up center of Jena University until the middle of this year.

The team's mentor, economist Prof. Dr. Matthias Menter from the University of Jena, is very pleased about the award:"The award from Robust AO illustrates the outstanding potential of academic start-ups. Through EXIST funding and the accompanying mentoring, the team was able to further develop the initial idea in a protected space and finally found their own company. I am convinced that Robust AO can serve as a role model within the Friedrich Schiller University Jena to promote further technological start-ups from within the university. I warmly congratulate Robust AO on this success," says the junior professor of business development, innovation, and economic change.

Second place to graduates of Jena University

Janova GmbH, founded by graduates of the University of Jena, received the second prize of 4,000 Euros in the category "Founding". Dr. Toni Eichelkraut and Simon Stützer are developing a novel table tennis bat that can process data and bring new elements into the game.

The ThEx AWARD is a competition of the Thuringian Centre for Business Start-ups and Entrepreneurship (ThEx) under the auspices of the Erfurt Chamber of Industry and Commerce. The prize money is donated by the Thuringian Ministry of Economic Affairs.  The ThEx AWARD is presented in the categories "Founding", "Getting Started", and "Succession".

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