The KIT spinoff robodev GmbH has developed an intelligent module construction kit for a profitable production of small quantities in manufacturing enterprises.
Robot-supported automation is experiencing a boom. Nowadays, the automobile branch in particular would be quite inconceivable without modern industrial robots. From punching sheet metal components to the complete car body, whole automation lines are in operation partly without any human action. It is no coincidence that the automobile industry has become the paragon in this area. As a rule, unlike in many other branches, extremely large quantities are involved that all have to be produced according to exactly the same pattern. “The cost of a simple automation solution is at least 80,000 euro. If smaller quantities, below 10,000 items per month, are involved, this investment will usually not pay its way. Slightly below 75 per cent of processes in the German manufacturing industry are therefore manual or have only been automated to a small degree,” explains Dr Andreas Bihlmaier, co-founder of robodev GmbH.
The robodev founders (left to right): Dr Julien Mintenbeck, Dr Jens Liedke and Dr Andreas Bihlmaier. Quelle: robodev
KIT’s spinoff emmtrix Technologies GmbH facilitates programming of multi-core processors and, thus, enhances performance of embedded computer systems.
The Founders of emmtrix Technologies (f.l.): Michael Rückauer, Frederik Riar, Oliver Oey und Dr. Timo Stripf. (Source: KIT, Meißner)
What is already standard in desktop computers and laptops is increasingly applied in the area of embedded systems, such as telecommunication devices, automotive electronics or industrial control systems: Processors of two or more processor cores for higher speed and enhanced computing power. The higher performance of multi-core processors compared to single-core processors is only reached, if the tasks are distributed appropriately to several processor cores in an efficient and problem-free manner. So far, such a parallelization has been accomplished manually: This is very time-consuming, cost intensive and requires special programming knowledge.
A team of scientists of from the KIT Institute for Information Processing Technology (ITIV) headed by Professor Jürgen Becker started to look for solutions to simplify parallelization of multi-core processors already in 2011. Within the framework of the EU project “Algorithm Parallelization for Multi-core Architectures“ (ALMA), the scientists, in cooperation with industry partners, developed an innovative programming environment. The computer scientists and electrical engineers Dr.-Ing. Timo Stripf, Michael Rückauer and Oliver Oey were part of this research team. Based on the software tool developed in ALMA, they decided to start their own company. “About 40 person-years had been spent for the development. When the project was completed, we decided to start a company to make the technology available for the industry,” Timo Stripf explains.
OPVengineering offers highly dynamic test bench automatization components in the field of automotive development. With their solution, they create ideal test environments in the test bench by operating drive components interacting with virtual vehicle remainder models. In cooperation with industry partners and the KIT, the team works on constant development. In an interview, we asked the team of OPVengineering about the idea, the startup time, and the future prospects.
OPVengineering team (f.l.t.r.): Christian Stier, Steffen Jäger, and Martin Geier with a test bench demonstrator system