In the Beginning of April on Thursday, 04/11/19 almost 30 members of IEEE Joint IAS / PELS / IES German Chapter met each other invited by the company Beckhoff Automation in Verl near Bielefeld. After a „come together“ lunch Mrs. Dr. Ursula Frank, Head of Project management and R&D, introduced the company in some facts and figures and pointed out the existing cooperation in R&D and in the field of STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics). Beckhoff in Verl is developing and producing products surrounding the Industry-PC (IPC) based manufacturing technology, from user panel over IPC and drives up to communication bus systems. There products contain also solutions for actual trends in voice control an Internet of Things. In addition, Mrs. Dr. Frank pointed out the cooperation in five different apprenticeship study courses together with the University of Applied Sciences in Bielefeld.

After this global introduction three product managers gave the attendees a survey on several fields of their business: Challenges in analog based industrial technique of measurement, optical measurement technique, real-time-communication and condition monitoring in customer installations.

The following coffee break inside the show-room of Beckhoff gave the guests an impression on the extensive product range of the hosting company.

Subsequent a bus brings the attendees to a recently new constituted manufacturing site and storage for Beckhoffs’s PCB parts. The IEEE members got ESD clothes and after that an introduction and guidance along the assembly process of the PCBs for all products of Beckhoff from local staff representatives. The need of long-term storage for electronic parts and the high degree of individualization and automation in process of assembly as well as for quality check is distinctly and visibly. The guests pass a whole manufacturing line (one of them) in the new building and there is capacity for several more assembly lines in future.

Afterwards we move to Bielefeld for the evening program and visit the local fortress – the Sparrenburg located above the city center. In a very lively guidance tour through the casemates we get an insight into the daily work of former knights who served for defense of the fortress. The evening ends in a convivial atmosphere in a local brewery.

The following day, the chapter members met at the University of Applied Sciences Bielefeld invited by Prof. Bünte. There, the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Mathematics welcomes the participants and gives an overvie of the focal points of the department, which is characterized by a strong network of 170 (!) surrounding medium-sized companies and contribute to a high practical relevance of study courses and offered content also.

Prof. Ingo Hahn reported from the Germany Section on current developments of the IEEE in Germany and after it Dr. Peter Magyar gave a historical review on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Chapter and in the course of this also hands over certificates to active chapter members and representatives.

This is followed by three interesting lectures on various research areas in the fields of drive technology, renewable energies and automation by representatives of the university department. A joint lab tour completed the successful morning program at the university. Finally, the participants said goodbye after joint lunch catering for the weekend respectively see you again at the upcoming chapter meeting in autumn 2019.