MicroControl foundation 25 years ago –
Three creative lads – one innovative vision
One can hardly believe, but in the mid 1990s digital transformation was not really an issue. Things that form a big part of our lives today – such as internet, emails and messengers – at that time, only a small group of technology experts had a vague idea of it – among them the innovative boss of a Troisdorf engineering company where the three young electrical engineers Torsten Krahl, Frank Wielpütz and Uwe Koppe were part of the team. Here they got to know the CAN bus and soon had a vision of the potential for industrial applications.
After a few engineering projects on mere product developments for customers, the three considered the idea of turning CAN bus into the core component of their own business. They did not only want to provide plain development services, though, but had a plan of manufacturing their own products to meet the need for modular solutions in the growing automation market.
“Many experienced senior developers disapproved of or even rejected our ideas”, Frank Wielpütz recalls. “CAN? Has it to do with Canada?”, we were asked frequently But the young engineers were not to be daunted and soon aroused interest among developers of the same age. Solutions that worked in cars could also make sense in industrial automation. The MicroControl team never gave up and promoted the future technology “CAN bus” at trade shows, in mailings and in countless customer calls and meetings.
The market launch of the CANopen protocol in 1997 was just in time to give the MicroControl team the chance to show what they were made of in a first customer project on the acquisition of temperature signals. “We want to achieve the best possible technological solution”, says Frank Wielpütz. That way, the 4-channel system was integrated in a robust aluminium die-cast casing which is still used today in the 3rd module generation and has hardly been changed since.. Of course, MicroControl has further developed the electronics and features of the modules always being up with the latest trends of technological progress.
To facilitate programming MicroControl soon started to develop their first protocol stacks and discovered both the need for training courses and their suitability to further promote the CAN bus technology. “Today, our seminars and webinars are booked by beginners who want to have an introduction to the CAN system, as well as companies which already use CAN and would like to push the envelope.”