Matthias Keil, Wieland Knodel (v.l.) Foto: MAUL-THEET GmbH
After a two-and-a-half-hour visit to the Maul-Theet company, when you emerge again in the Bülowbogen commercial complex, you have to adjust your view of the world just slightly. Firstly: Maul-Theet is not just any company tucked away in a courtyard, it’s a hidden champion. Secondly: the Heraclitian saying „Panta rhei“ was incomplete for over 2000 years. It should be: „Everything flows – and vibrates“.
In the words of Managing Director Wieland Knodel, this sounds somewhat more businesslike and modest. He talks about stimulus, resonance and the right frequencies: „We perform vibration analyses, develop measuring technology and provide services in this sector.“
„This sector“ is big. „Anywhere that it vibrates, we’re working there,“ says Knodel: „The automotive industry, rail technology, aerospace, medical technology, entertainment electronics, but also in science and research.“ In the widest range of industries there’s a need to know how something vibrates when it’s stimulated. The reasons for this are varied: where can I save on material? Where do I have to reinforce my component? How does the human ear work? What loads can my object withstand?
Sensors, microphones or lasers are used to capture structural-dynamic properties, which are then evaluated by software. These are the words of Maul-Theet itself: it translates the complex data captured by its measurements into readable and comprehensible graphics or animations. For example, Maul-Theet performs hydro-acoustic measurements in U-boats for the Bundewehr and develops testing stands for Siemens gas turbines. Even when the Burj Al Arab in Dubai remains stable in strong winds, this has something to do with the work done by Maul-Theet.
However, the structural dynamics market is competitive, and innovations are important. „So we do a lot of development work ourselves,“ says Wieland Knodel, as he enters the room behind the football table. In here is the latest invention of the eight-man company: the VibroLaser ScanSet.
A network of red laser points flits across the wall, with Matthias Keil capable of altering their arrangement at will on a PC. The Head of Development at Maul-Theet explains: „By correlating these points we can measure the vibrations of the wall: Is it bulging? Is it contorting? Is it making wave forms?“ In particular, this scanning system can measure objects to which it is difficult to attach sensors. One special feature: it runs with all conventional single-point laser vibrometers – and this is considerably cheaper than a complete system, assuming that a laser is already present.
„Our location here is not only desirable for product development“, says Knodel. „We have short distances and there is a good mixture of software companies and manufacturing industry.“ He is also happy with the infrastructure in Schöneberg. In contrast to Berlin-Mitte, „everything flows“ can also be applied to the traffic here.