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Biggest Pain in Robotics: Integration

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Biggest Pain in Robotics: Integration

The problems are almost always the same: whether robots work on the moon, under water or as an industrial arm in production – the most difficult and complex part of realizing a robotic application is the integration. In most cases it doesn’t run smoothly. This leaves many robotic solutions far below what is possible. dr denis Stogl has been researching in this field for many years. When it comes to integration and control architectures in robotics, his specialist knowledge hits a nerve. Now in demand internationally, he scales his engineering and consulting services and founds the startup Stogl Robotics.

By Ariane Lindemann

When it comes to robot integration, you are in demand worldwide. Why is your experience so attractive?

I have been doing research in this area for over 10 years and then started the consulting business in 2021. Since it is a niche product and there are not many with my experience, I am now very well known.

Simply buying a robot and putting it there doesn’t solve any problems… What exactly is the difficulty with integration?

Between robot manufacturers and users, there is a need for integrators who put the different components together and integrate them into the existing solution so that all systems can communicate and harmonize optimally with each other. But exactly at this point there are not enough specialists who are familiar with it. In very many cases, the robots are far from doing what they can actually do. In addition, the integration and optimization are very time-consuming. Since these are heterogeneous systems, a lot of experience is required here. The more system components, the more complex. A higher-level controller and the optimal selection of hardware and software are decisive here.

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You turned your consulting service into a startup…

Yes, we help with our advice and our control software to set up a control architecture and implement it. The software is like a “driver” for robots.

One solution for all types of robots?

In principle yes. Because we have deep insights into completely different robots, from agricultural vehicles, underwater robots, industrial arms to consumer robotics, we are able to offer common cross-sector solutions and get robots up and running very quickly. It is interesting that the different robots all have almost the same problems. Therefore, you can get these problems under control with one and the same solution. Many companies actually contact us here because they simply need help. Some try to solve it themselves. But then they come to us and want our service. Here we also offer our software.

Here you rely on open source …

We rely heavily on open source because it gives us easy options for using the solutions with multiple customers. Without any license problems. In the end, this is also a way that we use to get a lot of customers. Of course you could also do it yourself, but with us it is 20 to 50 times faster.

The software is already being tested on thousands of robots worldwide… What’s the feedback like?

The feedback is very good. Above all, higher productivity, more efficiency and also enormous time savings are praised. But we also get feedback on where there are still problem areas. This feedback is incredibly important for further product development. On the other hand, the software is also very honest, because we don’t have to promise something we can’t. Anyone can look at this. Ultimately, this creates the opportunity to continually improve the product’s core functionality.

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How high is the support effort?

Very high – fortunately! Because it gives us a much better understanding of the core problem. We can operate from vacuum cleaner robots to space robotics and everything in between.

We can only do that because we have very deep insights through this support work. This enables us to offer very, very good technical solutions.

Can you use this to allay the fears of companies that have not yet dared to approach robotics?

This is definitely a target market where we want to develop over the next year. Because more and more staff is missing, companies increasingly need robots to do the monotonous tasks. But: One of the currently big problems in Germany is the loading of processing machines with robots. Because here, too, there is a lack of people to insert the parts into the machine. Then, of course, production will not run efficiently. The plan is to develop a complete solution that would be sold to smaller companies to solve their problems.

Are you largely alone with your niche product?

There are other companies that offer this as well, particularly in the US. But these are more likely to become our customers. If they have real problems, they come to us. A lot of people associate my name with the core software we use. I get a lot of feedback on LinkedIn for example. Here, too, you can see that the need is really there.

You could almost say the world market leader. What about the region?

We are known worldwide in this niche, but we certainly see our future market in local companies. That was also a reason to contact the CyberLab. Because even if we work a lot remotely across several continents, we primarily want to solve problems on site. The CyberLab gave us very good contacts to local companies and we were able to boost local networking. However, the accelerator was interesting for us for several reasons. Exchange ideas with mentors, acquire even more knowledge about company structure, how the team can work and gain insights into areas that you have not dealt with at all before.

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Did you turn your idea inside out again in the CyberLab?

In fact, we have now increased the focus on product development again. Before, we were very focused on the service sector. The CyberLab gave us another push here.

Is your product a sure-fire success?

Because we develop a product based on the problems we see every day, we can be sure that there really is a big, real need. People come to us because they know they need something like this badly. This is a great advantage and therefore our product can be described as a sure-fire success.

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