Research and Development

“Stagnation is regression”

Hans Wegele, Head of Research and Development

“There’s no such thing as can’t be done” has always been one of the guiding principles in technical development at Albert Frey. We’ve never shied away from taking on new challenges.

Another resolution, “We want to offer service for everything we sell”, led to the development of the first control cabinet for a pump control system in 1995, at that time still in Hans Wegele’s private cellar. It was quite simple, with an electronic hardware controller, but no PLC.

Just a few control cabinets later, a C7 PLC from Siemens was used instead of the hardware controller, because we realised that our customers often wanted to do a little more than just controlling a pump. The PLC made this possible.

This is how Albert Frey’s first own PLC programmes came into being.

At that time, the sales department consisted solely of Peter Frischmann, who kept creating new demands on the technology through his ideas. Coupled with the irrepressible urge of Hans Wegele to master these requirements and to make it a little better and more comprehensive every time, this developed into a solid basis for the subsequent ALFlex process.

In the following years, the Albert Frey team grew and, with the new building in Marktoberdorfer Strasse, also had an assembly hall at its disposal. In the course of the various different projects, the control systems for them were also developed. These weren’t just for pump controls, but also for machines and systems, such as bottle and pallet transports, unpackers and packers, yeast cultivation systems, flash pasteurisation systems and much more.

When our company started on keg plant engineering, the PLCs were also networked with each other. They talked to each other. As early as 2016, we switched over completely to the Siemens engineering system TIA Portal in conjunction with the S7-1500 hardware for new control systems. The plants grew and so did our expertise.

A new board division was created in 2020 to give Hans Wegele’s “creative” streak a new platform. The “Research and Development” department was born. Patrick Dietz took over the automation area and, together with Hans Wegele in the background, has been continuing the development of ALFlex ever since.

As part of our effort to “constantly improve what already exists and try out new things”, we’ve already been working on “WinCC Unified”, the new, web-based visualisation environment in the TIA Portal, for two years. AI-based safety technology, collaborative robots and camera technology for object recognition are exciting fields of activity that we’re involved with.

We’re in constant contact with the university in Kempten and also like to visit the Fraunhofer Institute from time to time in order to boost our knowledge in a variety of ways.