Mathematics makes it possible – Interview with development engineer Dr. Eugen Zimmermann
14th March 2023
Today, March 14, is International Day of Mathematics, proclaimed by the UNESCO commission. Mathematics is one of the most important instruments at ROBOWORKER. In this interview, Dr. Eugen Zimmermann from software development who is primarily involved in research and development tells us what mathematics means to the company and to him personally.
You are a physicist with a doctorate in the ROBOWORKER team and are intensively involved in the research and development of powder compacting technology. As a physicist, what is your connection to mathematics?
I probably don't need to mention that nothing in physics is possible without mathematics. So, you have to bring along a little bit of joy and I am glad that I learned to appreciate the often clear laws behind it early on. As a development engineer at ROBOWORKER with a focus on software, mathematics is now also my daily tool. Consciously or unconsciously, it permeates all my areas of work – from path-curve calculations, optimization of controlling the pre-control algorithm to dynamic process optimization.
What are your research tasks?
We develop innovative functionalities for the powder pressing process and implement unique process sequences to significantly improve product quality and, at the same time, productivity. In addition, we naturally also support colleagues from other departments when questions arise.
Is Math Day a special day for you personally?
Essentially not, since mathematics accompanies me every day, as I mentioned. It's just that I'm more aware of how important it is for my own work and how strongly it is intertwined with all areas.
To what extent is mathematics in use at ROBOWORKER?
As a future-oriented mechanical engineering company, ROBOWORKER literally lives from mathematics. We owe the advanced intelligence, precision and speed of our systems to sophisticated mathematical algorithms that are used, among other things, in the pre-control of motors and axes, the control and optimization of processes and motion sequences, and image processing. In combination with the calculations and simulation of essential components during design, we are able to advance process technologies and respond to the high-tech needs of our customers.
For this purpose, the design department uses various simulations such as the Finite Element Method (FEM) to test components for ideal stiffness. In particular, this method determines the Von Mises equivalent stresses on individual parts or entire systems. We perform calculations to design the correct drive components for the respective requirements - e.g., speed or torque. The various areas in the software then calculate the required motion sequences and test processes. Mathematics is used here, for example, via the Levenberg-Marquardt algorithm to solve non-linear optimization problems, numerical cross-correlation in image processing, or the Gauss method to solve systems of linear equations – to name just a few examples.
What is possible through this?
The goals are, of course, innovation and progress. The diverse, already established algorithms and functions as well as our own very high demands on our machines from the very first process step allow us to focus on the highest process and product quality. In this way, we are further expanding our technology leadership.
Who is involved in these processes at ROBOWORKER?
The ultimate goal of ROBOWORKER is ultimately reliable, innovative, highly precise and productive machines. The processes involved therefore permeate almost all areas, starting with the design and layout of all parts, through the programming of all functions, to optimization.
Not least the launch of "ChatGTP" showed how Artificial Intelligence can help to further simplify or accelerate processes for us humans. To what extent is it interesting for ROBOWORKER's technologies?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an exciting topic and definitely relevant for ROBOWORKER as well. If we consider the three essential sub-areas of AI, "acting", "perception" and "learning", our machines can technically almost be classified as AI. For example, we already use extensive sensor technology - including image processing - for perception, as well as predictive analytics and, of course, robotics for action. In learning, validation of the process still takes place by humans. Thanks to a large number of innovative functions and algorithms, our machines are already the smartest on the market and will become even smarter through our continuous further development and their progressive networking with each other.
Thank you very much for this fascinating interview.
The interview was conducted by Hannes Gilch, Digital Marketing.