Dr.-Ing Rodrigo Pastl – Leaving Fraunhofer IPK to Brazil as UNIDO Ambassador
Rodrigo Pastl "just wanted to learn a little German" when he left Brazil to go to Berlin in 2013. He stayed for almost five years and made his greatest dream come true at the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Systems and Design Technology IPK. Now he is back in Brazil as a climate saver as the Ambassador of UNIDO, the industrial development organization of the United Nations. He has set out to research as Digitalization and Quality Manager the optimization of biogas plants and is also involved in helping German technologies take root in the tropics.
Mr. Pastl, what brought you to Fraunhofer?
After my master's degree in Brazil, I worked as a Global Management Trainee at the mining company Vale S/A. As a telemetry engineer, I first worked as a coordinator and then as an internal manager responsible for service and maintenance management and development. On my first opportunity to travel, I went to Berlin on vacation. At first, I actually only wanted to learn a little German.
However, when I got to Germany, Dr. Tiago Borsoi Klein, Research Fellow at Fraunhofer IPK, and Dr. David Domingos, Managing Director at the Fraunhofer Project Center Advanced Manufacturing ITA, invited me to Fraunhofer. I had met them in 2010 while working on my Master's thesis at ITA in Brazil. A scholarship from the Brazilian government made it possible to fulfill my biggest dream: to do my PhD in Germany. Why was this my dream? Because I am a mechanical engineer and German quality is unbeatable!
At the end of 2017, the Fraunhofer IPK together with the Instituto Tecnológico de Aeronáutica (ITA) opened the Fraunhofer Project Center for Advanced Manufacturing @ ITA. The center, FPC@ITA for short, maintains strategic cooperation between IPK and the Brazilian institute. That is how I came to the position as guest researcher and was able to coordinate various projects and collaborations in the field of Industrie 4.0 and additive manufacturing. Parallel to my work, I was a student supervisor, which gave me the opportunity to supervise a Six Sigma project (Green Belt). Several of my students are now in great positions, which for me is tremendously rewarding. Also, this gave me the opportunity to receive the Six-Sigma Black Belt Certificate. I also inititated several partnerships between German organizations and Brazil such as a cooperation between the Brazlian Embassy and the Technical University of Berlin, the Fraunhofer IPK and the "Science without Borders" program of the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service).
During my time at Fraunhofer IPK, I worked in the "Production Systems" department headed by Prof. Eckart Uhlmann in the "Production Machines and Plant Management" department, where I reported to Eckhard Hohwieler. This was a very enriching experience, for which I am still very grateful. After all, I received my doctorate from Prof. Eckart Uhlmann. My project was even included in the Institute's annual report at that time.
What was your research about?
We developed a mobile app that ensures quality in the process of selective laser welding. In addition to ensuring quality, the app also allows us to evaluate the data. "Additive Manufacturing AM 4.0" is an application for decentralized online process and machine monitoring. This makes it possible to react quickly to situations that compromise quality. Intelligent algorithms allow the app to identify different systems and the machine's condition. This means the app also enables predictive maintenance.
Did your research prepare you for your current task?
Most definitely! The most important thing I learned from my time at Fraunhofer is how to apply research in practice to develop new ideas. I've now returned to Brazil with this mindset. Here my work also includes working on maintenance processes in which I interlink networks, Industrie 4.0 and data science.