Rainer Rasche is a new member of the iFE board

On July 1st, 2019 Rainer Rasche was appointed to the professorship "Mechatronics and Electromechanics" at the Technical University of East Westphalia-Lippe. In autumn 2019, she was accepted as an associated member of the board of the iFE. In the interview, Rasche gives us an insight into his technical interests, his experiences and his teaching approach.

Denise Hohenstein (DH): Hello Mr. Rasche. Thank you very much for your time. You have now been at the OWL University of Applied Sciences and Arts (TH OWL) for almost a year. How were the first months at TH OWL? How did you spend it?

Rainer Rasche (RR): Hello Ms. Hohenstein, I greet you. In my first few months, I was mainly concerned with building up teaching and internships. I also wrote my first research proposals, which I hope will get positive feedback as soon as possible.

DH: Before we talk about your teaching subjects and research interests, I would like to know what your professional background is. What did you study?

RR: I studied mechanical engineering at the University of Paderborn and Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo (USA), and also did my doctorate at the University of Paderborn.

DH: What topic did you do your doctorate on?

RR: Autonomous driving in the intersection area.

DH: Autonomous driving is a hot topic and very exciting. What did you investigate in detail in your doctorate?

RR: Autonomous vehicles are very modern, networked mechatronic systems. The task was, on the one hand, to let the vehicles drive safely and without collisions - this is an absolute requirement - over the intersection. On the other hand, in addition to the freedom from collisions, other criteria also had to be met, e.g. B. the energy requirement or driving comfort for the passengers. These criteria include conflicting objectives, i.e. they cannot always be optimally fulfilled at the same time. That is the problem - but also the attraction. The approach to solving such tasks is initially model-based, by deriving physical and mathematical replacement models. These are the basis for simulations and other analysis methods and offer the potential for extensive optimization and testing. This ensures that the above Criteria are met before costly real prototypes or even series vehicles are developed and built.

DH: Let's talk about your last job. What did you do before you became a professor at TH OWL?

RR: Project and group leader in the software development department of a tool manufacturer (dSPACE in Paderborn) for the development and testing of complex mechatronic systems. So-called hardware-in-the-loop (short: HIL) simulators play an important role. At HIL, the control devices to be tested, for example those of cars or airplanes (e.g. ABS or brake control devices of a vehicle are well known) are not immediately installed in the real system. Rather, it is first connected to a simulation that behaves as exactly as possible like the real car or plane. This has a couple of very important advantages. First, the simulation can be carried out fully automatically around the clock (24/365) without test drivers / pilots and thus without dangers (for people and material). Second, the simulation does not require energy for drive systems. Apart from computer operation, it has no CO2 or pollutant emissions and of course does not produce any physical wear (e.g. the tires or brakes). Third, the simulation can be restarted and reproduced as often as required. Also z. B. after a (virtual) collision. This makes it easier to isolate errors and test whether they have been corrected correctly. And last but not least, the investment costs in this technology are calculable. The risks of safety-critical errors during operation and worldwide product recalls due to faulty vehicles or planes are often not. B. Boeing 737 MAX.

DH: And how did you get to TH OWL? Why did you choose the TH OWL?

RR: You can configure your own filters on job portals and then receive regular information via newsletters. I had made use of this possibility. If you choose the filter cleverly, the number of offers remains manageable and you can strike at the right moment (laughs). Joking aside: In my many years of industrial activity, I was able to formulate numerous challenging topics for student jobs and theses. In doing so, I gradually introduced the students to professional practice and provided them with scientific support through supervision in contact with several universities. Many of these students are currently employed in the company where I worked. It appeals to me to pass on this diverse experience from professional practice. I find TH OWL's activities in the field of interdisciplinary energy research particularly exciting. When it comes to the efficient networking and development of innovative solutions for sustainable energy systems, I can optimally use my previous experience from my doctorate and profession. This particularly includes experience in the development of methods and tools for the design and testing of mechatronic systems as well as active participation in the standardization of components and interfaces and their use in teaching and research.

DH: What subjects do you teach? How would you describe your teaching style?

RR: I attach great importance to interdisciplinary work, to establish a connection to practice and to combine industrial professionalism and high quality and the potential of "low-cost" components from the "maker scene". There is tremendous potential here, because many components are available today at extremely low cost, which means that you can gain your own practical experience.

DH: What research topics are you interested in? For what reasons?

RR: In addition to the above The topic is recycling, in particular the recycling of electronic waste. Here there is a close connection to energy (the extraction of materials is often very energy-intensive) and enormous potential, because a lot of things are designed today so that they cannot or should not be recycled. Here at the university we have an excellent basis for future research activities thanks to our own electronics production on campus.

DH: What are the biggest challenges for you at the moment?

RR: Clearly: the structure of the teaching. In addition to the networking of theoretical content, there is also exciting practical work, such as the establishment of new internship attempts - or the conception of a new hardware generation for the subject "Hardware-related programming".

DH: Do you have a life motto? If so, what is it and why did you choose this motto?

RR: I don't have an explicitly written motto. Nevertheless, two sentences come to mind on this question. Those who work with me for longer will hear them more often. And yes, I have already been asked by former colleagues that they have been memorized by me. Of course, these sentences did not come from me, but have stuck with me well. And I can fully identify with it:

"There is no second chance for a first impression." (I would not like to give a more precise classification here - just let it work if necessary ...)

"Making mistakes wisely, that's why one is not enough": You don't have to make every mistake yourself, but the emphasis here is clearly on "make it yourself" and in small or similar things just start and try it yourself ... and of course make mistakes. This is much more educational than just reading, listening, watching, e.g. B. Youtube. Everything indispensable and more and more accessible and consumable through modern media. But the most instructive mistakes are often where things went wrong or where you have most disgraced yourself. And then it says again: draw the right conclusions from it and continue ...

DH: Thank you very much for the interview, Mr. Rasche!