Working at a startup is no easy drill!

arculus focused on providing Modular Production solutions

Please introduce yourself and your startup arculus to our readers!
arculus is a startup, headquartered in Ingolstadt, focused on providing Modular Production solutions. The company was founded in March 2016 by Fabian Rusitschka, Frank Hempel, Witold Kopytynski, and Marius Leffler following almost 4 years of researching and developing their flagship product, a software to control and operate factories and warehouses with real-time visualisation. All four founders have already gained industrial experience in various projects and industries (Audi, Bosch, DLR, Festo, Honda, Porsche), and have a very good understanding of current challenges and opportunities in production and logistics. The company has since worked to enhance their offering by developing their own AGV (arculee) to be able to provide complete and sound solutions to customers. The company has gained first revenues from demo projects with AUDI AG, and have been profitable from year 1.

How did you get the idea to arculus?
The original idea of Modular Production came from our CEO, Fabian Rusitschka.
He worked for AUDI AG several years in technology innovation for production, and was in direct contact with the challenges and pains of manufacturing in the automotive industry.
One day, it suddenly hit him. The idea came from bringing together two concepts: the one of automated logistics (Kiva Systems use-case), where the products are transported to where needed, and the challenge of multi-variant manufacturing in the automotive industry and line-balancing processes. Why can’t we transport the cars independently, only where needed? If the premise of a standard product does not apply anymore, what do we need the line for?

How difficult was the start and what challenges you had to overcome?
We started arculus in order to develop and commercialise a product that would bring modular production to life. The concept, its working principles, and the first working simulation of this new production paradigm were developed during our stay at AUDI AG for the better part of two years previous to arculus’ foundation in March 2016.
Before leaving AUDI AG, we got awarded with the EXIST Grundstipendium for covering the expenses of our project during the first year. The initial development was done in cooperation with AUDI AG, as well as its real size demonstrator in November 2016: our very first project.

Who is your target audience?
Our primary target are the car manufacturers. Modular Production works best the more complicated the system is, and there is hardly a more complicated manufacturing system (variant-wise) than in the automotive industry. The less standard a product is, the better the results out of the overall system.
We are already in contact and working closely with AUDI AG, Porsche, and SIEMENS.

What is the USP of your startup?
There are several points that conform our USP:
Human centred: All stations are independent and have their own cycle-time, which adjusts to the worker’s capabilities. In turn, workers are more relaxed, and quality levels go up.
Efficiency: The modular production system is up to a 30% more efficient.
Area: Combining both production and logistics in the same system, we can reduce the area used by 20%.
Lot size one: individual customisable products can be manufactured in the same system, without affecting the output.

Can you describe a typical workday of you?
It all starts at 7 am, turning on the lights, and heating up the coffee machine. It all goes up from there: the occasional meeting, external visits, our daily self-cooked team lunch at our kitchen. The day usually finishes between 6 and 8 pm, sometimes even later. Depending on the mood, we share a coffee or a beer before closing shop, and calling it a day.

Where do you see yourself and your startup arculus in five years?
We are starting to diversify our customer portfolio, and in 5 years’ time we will have a stable market position and presence. Car manufacturers are only the beginning. We are already starting to explore the possibility of different industries, and different applications for Modular Production.

What 3 tips would you give other Start-up founders on the way?
Working at a startup is no easy drill. There will always be ups and downs, and the pace is usually faster than expected. Sometimes you won’t have time, sometimes you won’t have funds, sometimes you won’t have either. You definitely won’t have both at the same time, at the beginning at least. Getting started might be difficult, but once you’re in it, just enjoy the ride.

More information you will find here

Thank you Witold Kopytynski for the Interview

Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.

Sabine Elsässer

Sabine Elsässer is founder and chief editor of the StartupValleyNews Magazine. She started her career at several international direct sale companys. Since 2007 she works main time as a journalist. While that time she learned more about the Startup Scene, what made her start her own Startup Magazine the StartupValleyNews.

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