Fraunhofer IPM wins Innovation Challenge

Fraunhofer IPM / January 09, 2019

Fraunhofer IPM was able to prevail against global competition as one of the two winners at the Swedish SmartSteel Innovation Challenge. The competition looked for processes for label-free tracing of steel products. By the end of last year, 26 teams from all over the world had placed themselves to this task. Fraunhofer IPM convinced the jury with »Track & Trace FINGERPRINT«, a method for label-free tracing.

© Jenny Korhonen/FindIT
»Track & Trace«, a method developed by Fraunhofer IPM for label-free component tracing, came out as winner of the Swedish »SmartSteel Innovation Challenge«. Dr. Tobias Schmid-Schirling (r) accepted the award in Stockholm in December 2018.


The SmartSteel Innovation Challenge was launched in the fall of last year. The aim of the two organizing Swedish special steel manufacturers, Sandvik Materials Technology and SSAB, was to develop something similar to a fingerprint for steel products using open innovation methods in order to reliably trace individual products. The organizers selected 7 teams out the 26 applications from all over the world to be invited for the final in Stockholm. In December 2018, one representative per team was allowed to present the solution concept to the expert jury. In the end, the jury voted for two winners. The winning teams came from the Freiburg based Fraunhofer Institute for Physical Measurement Techniques IPM and the Swedish Luleå University of Technology.

»Track & Trace FINGERPRINT« convinced the jury


»We are very pleased with this award,« said Dr. Tobias Schmid-Schirling, head of the Inline Vision Systems Group at the Fraunhofer IPM. »The entire team has been working intensively on this method for years. The degree of maturity convinced the jury. We are particularly delighted to be able to further develop the »Track & Trace FINGERPRINT« method together with SSAB and Sandvik Materials Technology. This is the next step to introduce the method to the market to an even greater extent«. In the field of »Track & Trace FINGERPRINT«, Fraunhofer IPM has already been cooperating very successfully with companies from the German automotive industry. In particular, smaller articles and components that cannot be labeled due to their function are already being traced in a label-free manner.

© Fraunhofer IPM

Track & Trace FINGERPRINT is an optical system for the traceability of mass-produced components that enables individual recognition (authentication).