From a vision to a product in 5 months - 3 Karlsruhe companies show how transformation works.

Oktober 2020.

Innovation. It is a visible and good-tasting sign from the network around Karlsruhe Economic Development and "Automotive Engineering Network" (aen): "MyAppCafé". From the outside, it is a container measuring around nine square meters that currently serves coffee in the "Postgalerie" with a robot made of coffee vending machines. But that would be too simple, "it could eventually replace the "Coffee-to-go market", emphasizes Dirk G. Rothweiler, Managing Director of "Rothweiler Feinwerkmechanik", guild specialist for precision engineering and digitalization officer of the "Kreishandwerkerschaft Region Karlsruhe": "Because this is a very good example of a successful product from a network in which everyone contributes their strengths and competencies". A fitting approach for the competence and innovation platform of the "aen". "Whether it's innovation, development, IT or implementation," says Rothweiler: "This shows the concentrated competence of the network." Initiator Michael Stille of "MyAppCafé" approached the network, "we approached the customer," explains Rothweiler, "starting with the vision, we then networked everyone" - incidentally at an event organized by the Karlsruhe Economic Development Agency. Whether electronics, mechanics, computer science or mechatronics: functional technologies are in demand - and synergy effects take place by networking the specialists, the partners.

Whether housing, fair coffee, coffee vending machines, robotics, cups, stirrers made of sustainable materials, grippers, controls, interfaces, cash register system, dispensing system or app development: "We clarified who can do what best, then called in the specialists," says Rothweiler: "To network everything appropriately, that's our job!" From the vision to the first served coffee was implemented peu à peu, are now many industries united, which ultimately makes the corresponding added value also in the networked technology region. Karlsruhe as the first location is also a commitment, "after all, all the companies come from the region," says Rothweiler: "So it's a short way for all of us to shape the transformation and ensure sustainability in the process."

The interesting thingis to then link the processes accordingly; a digitalization of processes, Prof. Fritz Neff from the "aen" and Rothweiler are pleased to say. "A great implementation in this project," Stille from the professional network is also enthusiastic. "Robots build cars, why shouldn't they also make coffee?" is how Mischa Saisila, CEO of IBS Ingenieurbrüo Klaus Schürer, describes the initial situation: "It was a challenge for us, but we are technology enthusiasts." The requirements were defined, interfaces were defined, new techniques were used, for example, the gripper arm and the housing were produced using 3D printing.

The Corona time brought a delay, but it was used efficiently for optimization, especially for the interface issue, Saisila says, "because after all, everything communicates with each other."


High-tech from Karlsruhe for coffee enjoyment

Robbi" - currently a prototype in the Postgalerie in Karlsruhe - can serve between 80 and 120 coffees an hour, whether espresso doppio, cappuccino, latte macchiato, chocciato or latte, in 160 variations - and as a great gimmick, a picture or text (via food printer) on the milk foam. "By the way, this also works with your own photo," explains Stille: "Free of charge, of course!" No wonder, for example, that many share their personalized cappuccino on social networks immediately afterwards. "That makes us happy, of course," smiles Stille. Incidentally, cappuccino is currently the most popular coffee specialty at "MyAppCafé"!

Customers either order on site at a touchscreen or via app on the go, then there's a QR code, which is then handed over at the vending machine and the automatic "Street Barista" quickly gets down to enjoying the fair trade coffee, freshly prepared of course.

The corresponding ordering app was contributed by ROCK5 GmbH. "For the app, we placed great emphasis on ease of use combined with an attractive design. The cloud component was also an essential component for the diverse payment methods offered by the app," elaborates one of the two managing directors, Eduard Marsal, from ROCK5. "Through the IoT, the interconnectivity of machines, devices and services is increasing more and more, bringing huge potentials for new smart business models. This is demonstrated by the highly innovative MyAppCafe project. We are very pleased to have once again supported a Karlsruhe startup on its digital journey!".

Sustainability issue: the cup is made of corn starch and is placed under the WMF high-end appliance, the desired product runs.

The robot arm then picks up the finished coffee and swivels it to the dispenser. A coffee-to-go from a robot's hand! MyAppCafé" only needs to be refilled after around 600 serves - of course, the system informs the operators in good time: a good value for a stand-alone!

Great international demand

Intensive work is being done to spread the franchise concept: "There is a lot of interest," says Stille, who has been to franchise trade fairs with his team: "We have inquiries from all over the world, from the U.S., Israel, Sweden, Dubai, France or Poland." It currently takes around two months to manufacture the modular construction and set it up at the respective location. "It shows the transformation in the gastronomy sector to use round-the-clock robotics," Rothweiler emphasizes.

Future locations are conceivable in shopping malls, at train stations or at airports, among other places, "we are open in all directions," emphasizes Stille. After all, the next five devices are already in the works. Rothweiler is convinced that many more such analog processes will be digitized for the added value of the end user. "We are only at the beginning of a transformation of all companies regardless of size. I see the partner companies of the Karlsruhe region and the networks strongly positioned." His view of the future is definitely positive, "because Karlsruhe and the region CAN".

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