The Karlsruhe Mechatronics Conference took place again in June, this time under a new name: Mechatronic Dialog Karlsruhe. The event at the Center for Advanced Technological and Environmental Training (FTU) at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) was coordinated, managed and run by the Karlsruhe-based Steinbeis Transfer Center for Mechatronics and Sustainability in collaboration with the Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences, the KIT and Landescluster Mechatronik BW GmbH (the Baden-Württemberg State Mechatronics Cluster).
The new name - Mechatronic Dialog Karlsruhe - was chosen to highlight the greater emphasis on different information and communication options. One important goal was to add more appeal by shifting the emphasis of the event, which has been running successfully for 13 years.
Around 150 organizers attended the conference with a healthy mixture of representatives from universities, research, trade and industry. The event featured information booths on research and industry providing plenty of things for visitors to talk about.
A keynote speech by Wulf Höflich, CIPO at EADS in Paris and Munich, on his vision of mechatronics, left the audience captivated, providing plenty of impetus for the entire day. The SMEs at the event were particularly interested in technology licensing. Prof. Thomas Bauernhansl (University of Stuttgart), Johann Soder (SEW-Eurodrive, Bruchsal) and René Ohlmann (ADDI-Data, Rheinmünster) gave three talks on Industry 4.0, inspiring the audience with their highly descriptive and realistic interpretations of the megatrend. There was also a section on e-mobility with Philipp Klein (SEW-USOCOME, Haguenau) expanding on the latest possibilities created by the technology. Renewable sources such as wind and solar power will help cover energy requirements through decentralized storage solutions. These will make it possible to supply vehicles with energy while traveling, parking, or both. A live e-bike project is already proving successful and is especially popular among members of the public. Thomas Blank, from the Institute of Data Processing and Electronics (IPE) at the KIT examined related energy storage issues and possible short-term solutions, brought to life with some useful battery management concepts. Coming from the medical technology angle, Lena Ginzinger, Stefanie Hadon and Angela Hermes provided an insight into the use of mechatronics on the operating table and in surgical aspirators. Dr. Rudolf Gensler (Siemens AG, Erlangen) demonstrated the particularly impressive transformation of medical devices resulting from mechatronics and the benefits to developers and users, especially in terms of usability and patient safety.
All speakers were then available for a 30-minute Q&A discussion, the “dialog session,” to address the audience’s questions in depth. For everyone involved it was a fascinating and fruitful day, underscored by the feedback received through the Steinbeis Transfer Center’s survey. The usefulness and novelty of content was scored “high to very high” by 78% of respondents. The Q&A sessions were clearly “very good” (87% of answers), and 86% said the project booth relevanve was “high to very high.” Topics suggested for future meetings included medical technology, sensors and production technology, with particular interest for robots and drones, as well as software development tools and simulation solutions.
For the organizers, the evaluation of the event confirmed that the concept is a winner, with some pointers on even better ideas for Mechatronic Dialog Karlsruhe 2014.
Prof. Fritz J. Neff
Steinbeis Transfer Center Mechatronics and Sustainability (Karlsruhe)