Baumüller Technical Center
The Baumüller Technical Center is extremely exciting, both visually and technically. On the one hand, it’s an exhibition area for technology solutions and, on the other, a development area that provides impetus and space to work out new ideas.
“The atmosphere is nothing short of a dream. It immediately makes my team want to create something new,” says Frank Kästner, Team Leader Robotics, PLC and Industry 4.0. His team works together on templates, technology solutions and customer projects.
“Behind the show function of the Technical Center is a sophisticated system of hardware and software that is used in machines in many places around the world. This creates a fantastic atmosphere and motivates me enormously,” reports application engineer Sebastian Maul. His favorite place to work is quiet and offers plenty of space to test technologies extensively. “You can find a variety of machines from different industries here: From servo-hydraulics that produce Playmobil figures or Lego bricks, for example, to handling systems that execute robotic movements, to servo presses that press car parts and other components out of sheet metal. The technologies are developed and tested in our Applications department.” Together with his colleagues, he programs and parameterizes these technologies. “We use metrological methods and diagnostic tools, work out simulation solutions, generate machine visualizations and use cloud technologies. We use anything that helps us to develop our technology,” explains team member Benjamin Weggel. The finished result can then be admired at trade fairs, in the virtual showroom or on site at the Technical Center in Nuremberg.
“The Technical Center is integrated into our headquarters in Nuremberg and is directly connected to the Baumüller Academy. This creates excellent synergy effects: Customers and employees are trained in the academy and can experience our technologies and products in use in the showroom immediately afterwards. Technology meetings are also carried out on these premises and new projects are presented in the Technical Center. This means that the entire company benefits from this location. Of course, short distances to Production and other departments are also an advantage,” Sebastian reports.
Fascination with technology
Proven mechanical systems, such as those from previous trade fairs, also find a place in the Baumüller Technical Center. They remind Sebastian of the odd episode of “Die Sendung mit der Maus”, a popular German educational series. The series made him a big fan of technology, even though he comes from a family of merchants. After completing his bachelor’s degree in Production and Automation Technology, he studied Mechanical Engineering at the Nuremberg Institute of Technology. To get an even deeper insight into technology, he applied as a working student at Baumüller. “Actually, the job description was beyond my capabilities. But I was able to win them over and was taken on. A lot has happened since then: I wrote my master’s thesis in Applications on the topic of the Development and Investigation of Industry 4.0 Use Cases. I examined and evaluated more than 75 use cases. This resulted in fields of action for the future. I was so interested in these issues that I took the initiative to apply for a job as an application engineer. That worked out, too. Since then, I’ve been working on a technology developed in-house that promotes sustainable thinking by transparently displaying and breaking down the energy consumption of a machine or drive train. This information is helpful when it comes to optimizing the machine process with regard to energy consumption, thus taking another step toward sustainable production and further CO2 reduction,” Sebastian explains.
Baumüller produces power electronics and motors in the Nuremberg metropolitan region. The Technical Center is a showroom for components, technology applications and solutions developed by Baumüller. For example, work is being done on customer solutions on topics such as IoT, sustainability and efficiency enhancement. Sebastian programmed and parameterized the previously described energy monitoring project with his team leader Frank Kästner in the Technical Center. “Cross-team development of software solutions is both a lot of fun and also provides a lot of benefits for the end product. It’s very important to me that the diversity of ideas and experiences of the individual employees can flow into the development process,” says Frank Kästner. An application setup helps to test the solutions and also serves as a customer presentation.
Teamwork makes the dream work
From trained technicians to qualified mechanical or electrical engineers, Sebastian works with a wide range of talents. These are divided into different areas of expertise. “What really fascinates me is that everyone is there for everyone else. Everyone pulls together and supports each other when problems arise. That’s really cool! We exchange information about current projects and technical backgrounds on a weekly basis, which is very important and helps us to work together. Application meetings are held regularly on site at the academy and the Technical Center to exchange ideas with colleagues from all over the world and learn about exciting new projects.”
The ability to work in a team is an important criterion for working in Applications. Sebastian benefits from the know-how of his colleagues. “Sometimes, especially when things don’t go as planned, you can feel a bit frustrated. It’s good to have a team at your side that builds each other up and collaborates in a motivated way.” Every new project, every new technology, every new technical development is a challenge and delivers new insights. “I’m very inquisitive and always want to learn something new. That’s why the world of drive technology is a great fit for me. Every project has a specific goal that is achieved through individual sub-steps. That’s what drives me every day. I strive to move on to the next steps and find a solution for the issues at hand,” Sebastian continues.
Sustainability as a goal
The team is currently working on the question of how it can enrich data from the converter or the drive train into usable information and how this can then be retrieved, stored or further processed. After all, digitalization is playing a major role not only in all areas of the economy, but also in our private lives, and it’s a major trend. Sebastian is pursuing an ambitious goal in this regard: He wants to make machine building, in particular the drive system of machines, more sustainable and efficient. “Occasionally the team will discuss and work on ideas late into the evening at the Technical Center. I’m glad that Frank always lends us an ear and coordinates all the projects so that we can concentrate fully on technology development. If I get stuck, Frank asks me a bunch of questions to get me on the right track or works with me to find a solution. That’s really great!”, Sebastian says enthusiastically.
Sebastian lives out his creativity to the fullest at Baumüller. He can try a lot of things out in his projects and that’s how he succeeds. However, this would not be possible without the appropriate environment, cooperative colleagues and the perfect place to work: “I’m very happy to have found a fun, enjoyable place to work that also has a wonderful atmosphere and a great team.”
©Tim El-Helou, Europäische Metropolregion Nürnberg, Baumüller