European Hackathon – Day 1

12 hours and 33 minutes are over now. 20 more to go.

It is an awesome lot of students. The enthusiasm is unbroken, and we all want to make our prototyp working.

Of course, it is also necessary to look after the personal health and eat some pizza.

We are working on the following projects:

  • Team CoolPanda: Realizing a prototype for an ice-dosing module
  • Team ÜMUN: working on a RFID tag mover flag
  • Team PIG: Prototyping a cup cleaning machine
  • Team NoUFO: Automate user input for higher producitvity

Stay put, to see the final result tomorrow.


FLL 2016 – Go Robot

Since Project Mi5 is all about modern education, we also support soon-to-be engineering students.

I was very lucky, that I could work together with this very ambitious team from the Gymnasium Ottobrunn: Go Robot. After their participation on the world final in South Africa last year, they continue to amaze. In a very successful pre-competition in Munich and Regensburg, they managed to qualify for the European Final in Hungary on March 19th and 20th.

They told me this (paraphrased):

“You have to work really hard to go to a final. But once you are there, you will learn from the best teams and make new friends from all over the world.”

This young team manages to make our modern media usage look immature: Have a look!

We wish you all the best! I hope you rock the final!

Best regards – Thomas


PS: You can also find more information on their website:




IQS Design Study – Andres Garcia

We proudly announce a design study, made by the spanish university IQS under Prof. Andres Garcia. It is the university of our alumni team members Jordi and Bernard.

Students made a design study in order to make their ideas of possible modules more tangible. You can see a frozen yogurt machine, with a cooled yoghurt dispenser and a topping module. In another study, there is a dispenser of “disparillos” and other sweets to decorate the product. In video 4/8 you can see an animated dispenser with different toppings and a mixer.

All the Mi5 team congratulates the students at IQS for their great work. We hope to collaborate further on this topic, and would love to build a module together.

Keep up the awesome work!

Ps.: Please note that video 2/8 cannot be watched in germany, since there is a GEMA conflict :-/

Mi5.MUC Kick-Off Hackathon!

We want to get to know you!

For our next increment, we would like to invite new students from TUM, HM, HI and other universities to join us on our Kick-Off session.

First time, we will make an Mi5-Hackathon. As a basis for new ideas and developments, we want to use our existing demonstrator. Since it is already a unique platform to understand automation technology, we want to base your brainstorming on the demonstrator.

The Kick-Off will be on two days: Friday and Saturday, May 8th and 9th of 2015.

We divide every day in 3 steps. Friday:

  1. Get to know the demonstrator. Test every function, find bugs, hick-ups and see for yourself, how you could optimize the machine.
  2. Brainstorm and evaluate your ideas. Structure your thoughts and put them on paper. Show them to the other participiants and tell, what you want and can achieve on the one and half day remaining
  3. Find another person, or work on your idea by yourself.


  1. Sprint Review of the previous day. Tell what is your biggest challenge, and where you could need support.
  2. Continue developing and testing
  3. Integrate your solution in the demonstrator

The already existing Mi5-Team will also work on solutions, but will also assist any newcomer with the necessary knowledge of the existing technology.

We are sure, that it will be a great possibility to kickstart your Mi5 experience. Please keep in mind, that there are numerous possibilities, on how you could continue developing your own idea, or become a part of the Mi5 team: Working student, internships, being a part of a research project, funded by the BMBF (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (DE) / Ministery for Research and Education of Germany) are just a starting point.

If you want to join, please send us an email on the contact form below, or to me personally:, or just leave a comment. We will send you the specific times and dates.

We are looking forward to hear from you.

Mi5 / Virtual Reality and Real ‘Steel’ side by side

We proudly present you our newest video, where you can see the configuration we used during the SPS IPC drives trade fair.

Side by side you can now compare the simulation in industrialPhysics and the real machine. Don’t get confused, it is not just a nice-to-have feature. It was essential for us, to use the simulation during the development for testing purposes of system-wide aspects.

You can see the following things:

  • No module is visible in the simulation. This means, that the module have not yet been initialized by the process tool, and no position is saved.
  • A virtual module is being initialized. The initialization works in a way, that the mover is passing a sensor (virtual/real) and the module sends back to the XTS a boolean value when the mover passes by.
  • The modules get initialized and, first the Cookie-Module, then one after the other appears in the simulation. Once a module appears, that signalizes, that they now are configured and ready to produce
  • You then will see an order in action.
  • Pay attention to the different colors that the mover is changing to. This is the virtual-reality-mode of the simulation, where a mechanic can see in which state the mover is in. He then would know, if it is save to touch or not.
  • Further you see, that one Cream-Module is missing in the simulation. It has been deactivated on purpose. But nevertheless the machine is able to produce any cookie without error, thanks to our modular approach.

We hope you enjoy the video. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!

Industrie 4.0 – Business Day at VHS ENKG – 26. February

Mark the day: 26. February!

A business day regarding topics of Industry 4.0, the Volkshochschule Esslingen, Nürtingen, Kirchheimm, Göppingen is hosting a conference. In cooperation with the Fraunhofer IAO, the Stuttgarter Produktionsakademie, Fraunhofer IPA, VDMA and VDI, it will be a day, full of different events.

It is mainly divided into four topics:

  1. “Produktion und Technik” – Production and Technology
  2. “Strategien und Innovation” – Strategies and Innovation
  3. “Arbeitswelt/Arbeitsorganisation” – Working environment and organization
  4. “Qualifikation and Qualifizierung” – Ability and Qualification

We recommend you to visit the event and stay tuned on this topic. It is a chance, not only for us, but also for every participant to exchange thoughts and generate ideas about the future collaboration in this diverse subject of Industry 4.0. For Industry 4.0 has not stopped yet, it has merely started.

You can find the full schedule an further details under this link: VHS-4Business Schedule (PDF – 2.1 MB)

We are looking forward seeing you there!

Stand Up Coffee Meeting

Inspired by some new management techniques, we summarized our previous efforts in one final meeting. In a collegial atmosphere, we stood together, drank coffee and cookies (no cocktails today) and mused about worldly issues. To grab our thoughts and put them in a more orderly fashion, we covered the tables with a paper table-cloth and distributed pencils to every table. In this fashion we put down:

  • Things we want to do better in the next step
  • Concrete ideas how to make something better
  • Whatever we could think of, that has something to do with the project.

For example, you can see on the left side an idea that is called FiVe. It gives five points that should be done for every new team member:

  1. Vertrag (eng. contract) – Figure out the details for a new team member regarding his personal contract with ITQ (working student, free team member, etc.)
  2. Vorstellung (eng. introduction) – Introduce the team member to the consultants in ITQ and to the office. Futher to all the Mi5 team members of course
  3. Verteiler (eng. emails) – Make sure, that the new team member gets all information!
  4. Verantwortung (eng. responsibility) – Define what the new team members capabilites and thus responsibilietes are
  5. Vorraussetzung (eng. prerequisites) – What the new team member needs to add to the team: initiative!

There we have also collected information to the following points, that I will sum up here shortly:

  • brainstorming needs to be shorter and at defined points
  • leadership organization according to abilietes
  • email to everybody difficult, often only 50% read and address the emails
  • targets in redmine need to be reachable
  • communication coach for the team
  • weekly meetings: figure out if the whole team needs to hear something or more the module part
  • mentor for new team members is good
  • more open reviews

Below you find our results. It is the same picture flipped by 180 degrees.

This kind of feedback round was widely appreciated. The team liked the cozy atmosphere of drinking coffee in the conference room. We could talk and sum up our efforts and get together for a last time, before everybody had to head back to his studies.

One thing for sure, we will do this again! Next time maybe with cocktails.

Start UP!

After one week-end of very intensive work, we managed to get all modlues up and running. Thanks to our extensive use of HIL simulation, we could manage the start up with the XTS and the Cookie Module in only three hours. It felt like plug and play.

  • Wiring the modules (Cookie- and Cream-Module) on Thursday and Friday
  • Setting up the modules on Saturday
  • Connecting them on Sunday

While it was the first time, that the modules were actually connected to our Process-Tool, the HMI and the Process-Tool and the simulation were already pretty firm. So on that side, we didn’t have any problems. But still, of course, there is still room for optimization, which we will use, until the fair. The clock is ticking. Less then 7 days!

Have a look at our first successful run:


On the video you see Oliver, how he is ordering a task on our touch panel. The XTS then starts, while Oliver goes to the “Manual Module” view on the HMI. The XTS is getting a cookie, and later Oliver is doing a manual task.

Constant Support – Beckhoff

Today we encountered a little challenge on the XTS programming. Since we load very large configuration files for the OPC UA Server (OPC UA does not let you change the data structure during runtime, therefore we configure it with free space beforehand), the Server had some unpredictable behaviour.

Thanks to our good contact with Beckhoff, Mr. Schätzle, application engineer at Beckhoff, with a lot of expertise in OPC-UA and TwinCAT, came to our office and gave us support. The problem then could be solved within a short time. We used this occasion to show Mr. Schätzle our current setup. He was quite impressed about the latest progress on our project, connecting TwinCAT 3 with Industrial Physics Simulation and the XTS. In our virtual setup we have the modules with motors and sensors, directly interacting with each other and the XTS. It is the first time that he saw, how neat the XTS integration with Industrial Physics works. We also used the time for a little brainstorming to get some input from an expert.

We are glad about the constant supoort by Beckhoff, that fully support us at any time, either through technical components or know how and expertise.

Ps.: Below, you find some impressions of this short visit: