TU-brains plugged into smart DATRON machines

Tue, May 03, 2016

Category: Milling Machines, News, Press-Release

Looking at the fruits of their research - Matthias Berger (TU-Darmstadt) and Götz Görisch (DATRON) in a double interview

Where does DATRON’s innovative strength come from? The machine building specialist DATRON always develops, manufactures and markets pioneering new products, that regularly receive product and design awards. However, innovation does not simply happen: 25 percent of all DATRON employees are active in R&D. The business is very open to and works closely with research partners such as the Institut für Produktionsmanagement, Technologie und Werkzeugmaschinen (PTW, Institute for Production Management, Technology and Machine Tools) of the Technical University Darmstadt (TU, Darmstadt). Industrial Engineer Matthias Berger from PTW has been a very dear partner of DATRON for many years. Together with Götz Görisch, Director of R&D at DATRON, he explains in an interview about joint research projects, visits to trade fairs and study trips.

Mr. Berger, at PTW, among other things, you also lead lecture tours. What do you look for when selecting business destinations?

Berger: It is very important to me that students get enough insight into the behind the scenes workings of a business. Many large corporations only offer a location video and a factory tour, without actually getting into touch with the potential engineers. For this reason, DATRON’s Technology Centre is our preferred tour destination: The open and familial atmosphere is very productive and on top, it fits the lifestyle of the students very well.

Your latest excursion to DATRON’s Technology Centre took place in November last year. What stood out for you?

Berger: The practical information depth during this visit was unique. The host started a discussion about the development process of a milling machine using the example of the M8Cube, allowing our engineering students to use it for themselves. Even in the selection of the actual workpiece, the technical engineer at DATRON made a great effort: A “quadrocopter” challenges the machine on different levels. The way the M8Cube solves these challenges was explained by both developers and construction engineers.

Mr. Görisch, you accompanied the TU students together with our DATRON colleagues Lisa Widuch and Werner Peters. What was the learning objective?

Görisch: We wanted the students to experience live how industrial machines are developed, manufactured and marketed, and they were able to understand this really well at the DATRON Technology Centre. We were very surprised by the record number of 40 students visiting, especially since this excursion is part of the voluntary university schedule.

Annually, about 35 interns, student employees as well as bachelor and master students gain practical experience at DATRON. You are the one who knows the students best, Mr. Berger: Why do so many of them choose our machine buidling company in Mühltal-Traisa?

Berger: At the PTW we want to prepare our students not only professionally, but also from a people perspective for the real business world. DATRON widely reflects the industry with its four market segments: HSC milling machines, dental milling machines, HSC milling tools and dispensing machines. Moreover, we are united in the specialisation in high-speed milling: Just like DATRON, our former institute director Dr.-Ing. Herbert Schulz recognised the innovative power of this technology approach. It was also he who drove forward the cooperation of the University with the industry with his magazine “Werkstatt und Betrieb” (Workshop and Business”).

What projects are currently pursued by the PTW and DATRON?

Berger: There are a number of interfaces. DATRON equips our own workshop regularly with new equipment. We really love DATRON milling tools, and the HSC solutions DATRON M10 Pro and DATRON D5 are among the top milling machines for us. The core of our cooperation, however, is the transfer of knowledge. Matthias Reck, former CTO at DATRON and current strategic consultant for product development and future markets, shares his knowledge with the budding engineers, for example, as an external referent. The biggest advantage of cooperation, however, comes from the numerous research projects that we were able to jointly present at machine construction trade shows.

Mr. Görisch, which research projects were particularly valuable for DATRON?

Görisch: DATRON benefits enormously from the joint research projects with the PTW. The DynaSource project, for example had the goal of developing a HSC milling machine that is both optimized in regard to resources and the construction area. The result was the highly successful M8Cube and the award of the ZIM Prize 2014 of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, of which we are very proud. Another research project, COMMANDD, allowed us to improve the dental process chain and the internal data system of the DATRON D5 to reduce unit costs for dental indications.

What future projects do you envisage for the cooperation with DATRON, Mr. Berger?

Berger: At the beginning of the year, a strategy meeting was held at the PTW, with DATRON being represented by Matthias Reck. This resulted in a number of ideas for future research projects, such as an intelligent selflearning tool machine or a system that detects which tools or machine parts need to be replaced soon. This is an Industry 4.0 endeavor. We look forward to a continued cooperation and exchanges with machine construction practitioners. There are many issues in the field of increased productivity and automation, which would be interesting for both teams.

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