“Our long-established position in the x-ray module space provides us unmatched access to our customers and gives us a thorough understanding of their needs and challenges. This allows us to tailor our components closely to our customers’ constantly evolving requirements. As a result, we create value for our growing customer base in an expanding range of applications – nowhere more so than in the inspection of increasingly complex components and novel materials. Whether for the qualification of parts in automotive and aircraft production, for oil and gas pipeline fabrication and inspection, or for the screening of baggage and cargo at airports, ports and borders, the IXM division has created a powerful value proposition. In this way, we contribute to reliability, safety, and security on multiple levels,” says Rebecca Rudolph.

“We are taking x-ray ­technology well into the 21st century: Delivering ­enhanced stability and ­intelligent software-based functionality.”

Rebecca Rudolph, Vice President of Global Sales, Comet IXM

Rebecca Rudolph, Vice President of Global Sales, Comet IXM

The former head of Microscopy and Imaging at the American Museum of Natural History was at one time a specialist intensely involved with the technology she now sells. Its fascination has never left her. For more than four years Rebecca Rudolph has passionately helped her customers to solve their complex detection challenges using Comet’s technologies. “What makes me stand out? I want to enable my customers to be exceptionally successful. I want the extraordinary for them.”

Thomas Wenzel’s vision for IXS goes far beyond inspection applications. “In CT today we deliver the best image, but even more importantly, CT as a technology provides the best sensor in the industrial manufacturing sphere. And this combination is precisely the key to future growth for our x-ray systems,” says the new President of the IXS division. He adds that, while the focus today is on hardware and image quality for optimum defect recognition, tomorrow’s emphasis will be on analytics software and comprehensive data for the predictive optimization of entire production processes. “For defect detection we only need 5% of all the data we generate. Our goal is to leverage the unused 95%, together with deep learning techniques, to optimize existing manufacturing processes. Our customers will thus be able to analyze data about every process step and so improve their value chain even when the pieces inspected are defect-free. This is particularly important for new production methods, such as additive manufacturing.”

In inspection, IXS is able to build on its strengths and the successful integration of measurement technology. The division is now focusing on strengthening its position in integrated process control and building the capabilities needed to develop solutions for the optimization of manufacturing processes.

“Data analytics and ­machine learning combined with the best image chain – this is the future of our x-ray systems. It will turn them into a power­ful ­optimization tool for our customers’ ­production ­processes.”

Thomas Wenzel, President, X-Ray Systems (IXS) division

Thomas Wenzel, President, X-Ray Systems (IXS) division

“Every day, we have the ability to open up a new world, make visible things we have never before seen, and convince customers to use x-ray technology who would never have thought of it” – this is what excites him about his work, says Wenzel, who holds a computer science degree and a PhD in engineering. As a specialist for computed tomography, process-integrated test systems, data analysis and machine learning, he knows how the IXS division can exploit growth opportunities from digitalization through new product development.

“ebeam is incredibly versatile. That makes it critical for us to focus and to combine forces,” says Gregor Hommes, who has been closely involved in Comet’s emerging ebeam business for six years. The EBT division has developed sterilization applications with Tetra Pak and Bühler, companies which are making strategic use of the ebeam technology. EBT is now in talks with possible partners for developing the prototype for the treatment of hatching eggs. Through such collaborations, the reorganized division wants to scale up what has been achieved so far in terms of the technology, products, manufacturing, and the application itself. “Take our project for treating hatching eggs,” expands Gregor Hommes. “In it we were able to build on our experience with Tetra Pak drink cartons – which makes perfect sense, as an eggshell is simply a form of natural packaging. And in turn, we are now assessing what further application we can base on our work with hatching eggs.”

“Working with a technology that makes life better, that helps the ­environment and makes production processes more efficient is a daily source of motivation for me.”

Gregor Hommes, Senior Business Development Manager, EBT division

Dr. rer. nat. Gregor Hommes, Senior Business Development Manager, EBT division

With his interdisciplinary background and wide commercial experience, the PhD biologist knows how to bring people and issues together and drive R&D projects forward from the initial idea to market readiness. Today, his daily work is all about the ­inactivation of bacteria on synthetic and on natural packaging, such as eggshells.

“Being located in Suwon at the center of the Korean semiconductor industry, with a team of highly skilled and motivated developers, makes all the difference for us,” says Yong Tae Kim. Since opening five years ago, the subsidiary has succeeded in building long-term relationships of trust with important players and has grown continually. “This is only possible because we are well-established locally with our expertise and know our customers’ challenges in detail. We do development right here, hand in hand with them – rapidly, nimbly, and precisely customized to their needs. Our customers are impatient, always looking for the best solution and for true innovation. And they want the very highest quality.” Comet PCT is highly regarded in the Korean market for its vacuum capacitors and recognized as a globally leading manufacturer of impedance matching networks. In view of the trend toward integrated solutions, the development of the coming new radio frequency (RF) system is a logical progression. “PCT is taking its offering to the next level, which will change our role in the market starting in 2020. For us, it’s a big opportunity for significant growth in tandem with our customers.”

“A complete digi­tal and modular RF solution is something truly new and our innovation-hungry customers await it with keen curiosity.”

Yong Tae Kim, General Manager Comet Technologies Korea

Yong Tae Kim, General Manager Comet Technologies Korea

The materials engineer knows the semiconductor industry in Korea like few others. After three years as an independent distributor for Comet PCT, he presented a compelling growth plan for the Korean semiconductor market and opened the Comet subsidiary in Suwon in 2013, which he has headed since then. The small team with staff in customer service, sales and R&D is well diversified. “Today almost every RF engineer in Korea knows Comet PCT,” says Yong Tae Kim with some pride.

Comet strives for profitable growth. That takes agility, speed and high efficiency, but also space. The facility expansion built in Flamatt offers the Comet Group’s divisions this room and the opportunity to organize production along lean lines and automate it. This also includes the just-in-time procurement and delivery of small parts to the production floor. “Thanks to the new storage system we now have the capability to handle up to 300 storage and retrieval operations per hour,” explains Markus Hess, who was personally responsible for the completion and introduction of the automated small parts storage system in Flamatt.

  “With the automated management, storage, order picking and delivery, we are answering many of the needs of continuous lean manufacturing: We are delivering much more quickly and with high reliability. We are flexible and agile; the system adjusts smoothly to the pace of demand from production, processing several orders simultaneously. We are efficient, because we handle large volumes with the same small number of employees. As well, the central and highly compact warehouse saves 600 square meters of space compared to before, which we can use for the optimal organization of our production operations.”

“Precisely timed, cost-­optimized, flexible and very dependable – our new automated storage system is an important factor enabling lean production in Flamatt.”

Markus Hess, Director, Global Logistics, Comet Group

Markus Hess, Director, Global Logistics, Comet Group

The racks have since filled. The small-parts storage system in Flamatt is running smoothly – and represents a logistical precision landing. From first-hand experience in his career, Hess, who holds a business degree, knows how significant logistics has become for companies. With global responsibility for the Group’s logistics, he brings efficiency and speed to internal and external logistics processes and ensures compliance with international freight and foreign trade ­regulations.

Shuttles supply parts to production just in time.

Over its now seventy-year history, Comet has grown into a leading global high-tech company with a diversified positioning. This success and the strong growth of recent years would have been unthinkable without steady, high investment in innovative and custom-tailored solutions for existing and new markets.

The Group annually invests about 11% of its sales in R&D, thereby opening up new applications, services and markets based on its technologies and core competencies. As a maker of x-ray tubes, Comet laid the foundation for today’s PCT business back in 1965 by launching the development of vacuum capacitors and establishing the first customer relationships with manufacturers in the semiconductor industry in Japan and then in the USA. With the subsequent development of its own impedance matching networks and generators, Comet is now becoming a provider of complete RF power systems. Comet also laid important groundwork in 2001 by additionally focusing on industrial x-ray modules, followed by the entry into the x-ray systems business and the electronics, automotive and aerospace markets via acquisitions. And through the development of the compact ebeam lamp, Comet gained entry to the market for food safety. By virtue of diversification, Comet today is well-positioned in a variety of high-growth markets.