• New election of the entire board
    Klaus Stark from PILZ departs.
  • Dr. Detlev Richter from TÜV SÜD moves up.

The 19th regular General Membership Meeting of the Technology Initiative SmartFactory KL, as SmartFactoryKL is officially called, took place on May 11, 2023. Dr. Detlev Richter replaces Klaus Stark, who did not stand for re-election. Richter has nine years of experience contributing to our working groups and has been involved in the development of pioneering technologies. Among these are Worker Assistance, which was jointly developed at PILZ and Empolis and introduced in 2020, and the current use case Operational Safety Intelligence, in which he participates along with PILZ and B&R Automation.

Dr. Detlev Richter newest member of the board
Dr. Detlev Richter joined TÜV SÜD in 2010 and has advanced to become Vice President & Global Business Line Manager. His work passion is the overall subject of safety, but he also focuses on digital twins and the Knowledge-Graph technology. In his motivation letter that accompanied his application for election to the board, he wrote: “To drive skill-based production to industry maturity; to bring a TIC (Testing, Inspection, Certification) company perspective to the digital world and business models; to integrate the topics safety, security, and privacy into Production Level 4 and to the platform business model, and to help shape the SmartFactoryKL association’s worldwide visibility and networks.” “With such motivation, his chances of being elected were quite good. Detlev Richter is a natural fit for our organization,” said Prof. Martin Ruskowski, chairperson of the association’s board.

Klaus Stark departs
Klaus Stark from PILZ has been an active member of the board of SmartFactoryKL (SF- KL) since 2017. The graduate engineer has been responsible for innovation management at PILZ for the same period. He actively promoted the topic of automation in various committees, including serving as Chairman of the ZVEI technical committee for “Safety Systems in Automation.” He also played a key role in driving the Industrie 4.0 vision in the further development of Production Level 4. Although he had already cut back on his working life due to age, he remained fully committed to the board. “But at some point you have to stop. We definitely have to shift into high gear in new developments in German industry, so it was important for me to pass the baton at the company,” said Klaus Stark. He has succeeded in doing that. Younger colleagues like sensor technology expert Onedin Ibrosevic and R&D manager Bernd Neuschwander are now working on skill-based production systems in Kaiserslautern. This ensures that development will continue on the safety-use case, which was first presented at Hannover Messe 2023 as “Operational Safety Intelligence.” “Klaus Stark has been a great asset for us, with his good networks, calm manner, and frank speech. Naturally, he will be missed. But, with Detlev Richter we have gained another respected expert for our work,” said Ruskowski.

The Board of SmartFactoryKL
The longest serving member on the board is Andreas Huhmann from Harting, where he works as Strategy Consultant for Connectivity + Networks. He was elected back in 2011 and is currently focusing on plug connectors and administrative shells as the main areas of study. Eric Brabänder joined the board in 2022 succeeding Dr. Haike Frank from Schott. Brabänder is Chief Evangelist & Vice President Products, as well as a member of the executive management team at Empolis. He brings a software company perspective to the table. Ruskowski, as chairperson, is a forward thinker who, together with his team in Kaiserslautern, is advancing scientific research while at the same time testing practical applications for the production of the future.

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