Founded in 1991, GÖPEL electronic GmbH (read Goepel) offers to the industry advanced testing and inspection systems for electronic assemblies and printed circuit boards. The company’s wide range of technology provides a basis for finding manufacturing defects at every stage of the product life cycle – from design to end-of-line. On the side-lines of the just concluded SIAT 2019, Auto Tech Review met up with Jörg Schneider, Managing Director, Automotive Test Solutions, Goepel Electronics GmbH (L) and Sandeep Reddy Cherukupalli, Director, Automotive Test Solutions, Goepel Electronics India Pvt Ltd (R) to learn more.
DEVELOPMENT OF TESTING SOLUTIONS
Goepel not only builds systems for carrying out testing alone, but is also supporting both OEMs and Tier I suppliers in the R&D process of new products. Schneider said this benefits the company by enabling it to be involved with its customers around various engineering topics during the entire lifecycle of the development of the product or vehicle, and helps in picking up on various engineering development requirements, which can then be translated into new offerings for other customers.
The company provides test and measurement equipment used for testing all types of in-vehicle electronics, barring powertrain electronic control units (ECU). These solutions are offered for various ECUs, including body control module, gearbox, electronic power steering as well as for all communication interfaces such as in-vehicle infotainment. Additionally, in the area of infotainment, which is gaining prominence, the company provides testing solutions for development of displays, clusters, rear-seat entertainment, radar sensors, ADAS cameras and 360° cameras.
The other key area Goepel offers solutions for is noise and vibration testing for seats as well for various small motors present in the vehicle. The company offers solutions to carry out functional, endurance and end-of-line testing functions.
Not much of R&D work happens in India though. However, Cherukupalli said over the next two to three years, the company plans to begin carrying out more development work for its own offerings, albeit focussing on software alone. As a global company offering solutions across the world, Goepel’s test and measurement equipment need to adhere to various international standards applicable for validation devices. This is the main reason for the company not carrying out much of product engineering out of India, Cherukupalli explained.
Schneider noted that the links between different techniques needed for end-of-line testing for product development are getting more and more complex. About five to six years ago, systems were simple as there was probably a single ECU for an entertainment system that comprised one BUS interface and a power source. At present, there is multiple gateway ECUs that are running with a number of BUS interfaces, which all interact with each other – sometimes in real-time depending on the level of their criticality, Schneider explained.
There is a scenario where a large amount of data needs to be handled and analysed. Schneider said sometimes the test itself is not complex, but the complexity lies in understanding how all the multiple systems are connected to each other and point out what element of it is needed to be tested. Further, the company is also working on developing test benches for electric drives that will be seen in Germany and India over the next few years, focussing on small motors like those of windshield wipers. Schneider said the customer requirements are towards testing the efficiency of these motors.
Adoption of internet has grown the amount of infotainment usage in vehicles. Livestreaming has also increased thanks to the penetration of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The increased adoption of infotainment systems has led to more demand for testing equipment of these systems, and provides Goepel with an opportunity to penetrate into, due to its experience of over two-decades with in-vehicle electronics. In addition, the increasing level of complexity of CAN boxes in the vehicle, need for clusters and displays using low voltage differential signals (LVDS), and the move to TFT also provide the company with further opportunities, he added.
In terms of the types of customers using solutions from Goepel, Cherukupalli said there is a mix of OEMs and suppliers, who leverage the company’s equipment for their development work. Testing used to be carried out predominantly by Tier I suppliers earlier in the Indian scenario, but nowadays OEMs are carrying out a large amount of testing themselves. In addition, the company is witnessing an increased number of customers entering into the areas of gateway and networking testing for vehicle communication. The increasing vehicle complexities in the domestic market as well as Goepel’s work with customers for export projects is paving the way for adoption of more complex testing solutions, Cherukupalli explained.
Goepel is continuously working with customers on their projects from early development stages, especially with regards to Gateway ECUs. Cherukupalli said this enables removal of issues and errors in the initial vehicle development itself, which is an added advantage that customers get. Additionally, the company is working on providing testing solutions for electronics in seats as well as acoustic and vibrations for global companies.
TEXT: Naveen Arul