“Who’s riding so late where winds blow wild”?
Prototypes in the press for the first time
Prototypes first became the focus of the press in the 1950s, when Heinz-Ulrich Wieselmann, editor-in-chief of the automobile magazine “auto motor und sport”, and his colleague, automobile historian Werner Oswald, published a picture of an actually secret automobile prototype in every issue from 1952 without asking. According to Oswald, these images were then considered an “unprecedented provocation of the automotive industry”. For this reason, the two decided to accompany the publication series with small eight-line poems in the style of the Erlkönig “to sweeten the bitter pill for the concerned industrial companies a little”. Since the category was baptized “Erlkönig”, from then on every prototype in the magazine was described as such. The first episode dealt with the Mercedes-Benz 180.
The automotive industry reacted by designing various camouflages for the “Erlkönige”. From camouflage films to full coverings and the integration of new technologies into older models, all means are used to ensure confidentiality.
In contrast to the “prototype cars”, KUKA prototypes do not leave the company premises. Expensive camouflage is therefore not necessary in the in-house workshop. “We in the department must ensure the assembly process. Questions must be clarified as to whether certain devices are needed in production and how the workplaces must be staffed,” explains Sören Papsdorf, head of the Assembly Process Development department.
KUKA “Erlkönige” already exist from various robot models. Project runtimes can be reduced by four to six weeks using prototypes – a major advantage of process development. When the products go into series production, the prototypes are no longer important. But as opposed to Goethe’s story, not every prototype “dies” in its father’s arms, but is allowed to live on as a converted desk lamp for special occasions.
Read more about 3D printing: https://www.blog.kuka.com/2018/03/20/schnelle-entwicklung-schicht-fuer-schicht-mit-3d-druck/?lang=en