ESA BIC Bavaria alumnus Vectoflow designs and manufactures the industry’s most powerful systems for fluid dynamic measurements. It supplies measuring systems consisting of flow probes, measuring hardware and software. Traverse systems consulting services round off Vectoflow’s product portfolio.
Regine Heue, Head of Marketing & Communications at AZO, interviews Katharina Kreitz, Co-founder of Vectoflow.
RH: Please give us a sneak peek of your product and the team behind it.
KK: Our systems enable the measurement of the angle of attack, pressure, velocity and temperature in a wide range of fluids (air, water, gas, oil, etc.). Using our systems, for example, an automotive engineer can evaluate how the air flow behaves around a test vehicle and optimise the design accordingly. In drones or unmanned vehicles, the measured data can be used to directly adapt to changing conditions, for example, by reacting to gusts of wind and preventing a course change.
Today, the aerodynamics in Formula 1 cars, jet engines, drones and even kitchen vent hoods are optimised and operated by our Vectoflow products. Using 3D printing combined with smart software solutions, we develop customised flow measurement systems that match perfectly to the customer’s application and deliver reliable results even in harsh and difficult conditions.
RH: What has been your company’s biggest challenge so far?
KK: The biggest challenge so far has been growing the company. Of course, it is always a challenge to increase the customer base/revenue, etc., but it is extremely important not to forget to grow the culture. It is an ongoing process, where it is really important to include all of the employees and not leave anyone behind. You should never forget that there is a reason why people work at a specific company. By all means, some things need to be changed in order to develop a company from a startup into a global player, but don’t lose the people who actually made the growth happen.
RH: Can you explain the three main ingredients of your recipe for success?
KK: The team is always the key to success. A great innovation is the basis, but you need a dedicated team to create a company with it. As you see them especially at the beginning quite often, you should also bond on a personal level. In my eyes, respect and a bit of transparency helps in discussions not only with your team but also with customers or investors. Another ingredient is certainly luck. Everything can be perfect but lucky unforeseen meetings, developments environment etc., are also needed
RH: What did you expect from ESA BIC Bavaria?
KK: Moving to the location of ESA BIC Bavaria in Oberpfaffenhofen helped us a lot as we were able to grow. We also found the perfect location for our supersonic wind tunnel, which is extremely loud.
RH: How did the DLR support you?
KK: Different dependences of DLR are our customers. We really like to work with them as we share a similar attitude. The knowledge exchange is always fruitful and highly appreciated on both sides.
RH: Let’s reach for the stars – what is going to happen in Vectoflow’s future?
KK: We would like to become the biggest provider of fluid dynamic measurement platforms! Currently, our systems are used worldwide in more than 50 countries — and we would like to increase the number. In addition, we are seeking aviation certification for our Air-Data Computer for normal passenger aeroplanes, where important measured air data parameters are provided instantaneously to the pilot, which is necessary to fly safely and efficient. This is hopefully our future!