HARTING Uses Image Mining on Patent Images for

Product Design Inspiration



Founded in 1945 in Minden, Germany, HARTING Technology Group employs more than 3,800 employees worldwide, with 40 subsidiary companies and representative in 27 countries. The company develops, manufactures and sells electrical and electronic connectors, device terminations, backplanes, network components, and cable harnesses for networks, and machinery, and for power and data application in factories. HARTING products are used in mechanical and plant engineering, broadcast and entertainment, factory automation, power generation and distribution, and industrial electronics and telecommunication.

“They were searching for appropriate pictures in existing patents that might display different locking, connecting, and housing mechanisms and designs. For example, we were checking car seat belt images that might inspire new locking designs for connectors,” he said. “It took five months for the team to review 100,000 patents, then select 300 really good images from these patents.We copied and printed the images, then posted them on a wall for our developers to view and brainstorm around. It was amazing how good the pictures worked. At the time, I thought ‘There have to be tools for doing this faster than five months’ About two years ago, I started doing some research on the Internet, and found some YouTube videos about using RapidMiner.”

“RapidMiner provides a framework for substantially reducing the time it takes us to find interesting patents. In one day, I was able to do what had once taken months…”

——Thomas Hartmann

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