Prok. Rudolf BertholdCTO
Ing. Rudolf Berthold
How everything started...
Before I founded my company back in 1989, I was employed first as contracted and later as ordinary university assistant at the technological university in Vienna in line with my studies. An exciting job, which gave me the opportunity to be responsible for a research project on microprocessor controlled three phase converter for Siemens Austria.
In the course of that, I was able to tie contacts to Philips (category: industrial automation). After completing the research project, I could develop a small operating/control software for site stations of a new product category of "logistics projects". This project expanded continuously and I switched over to Philips, where I engaged myself with software and project tasks. Later on, I was acting as project leader for weighing, EMSR, CNC and control system projects.
In 1986 I took the lead over the industrial projects department. Further reorganization forced me to start up my own company in 1989, whereas I remained an extern adviser of Philips, especially for audio-video and access control projects. Moreover, I was able to acquire further automation projects for Philips' plants. Thereby, mainly the development of interface processors to connect complex devices (like robots, engraving machines and production machines) to existent control systems were ordered.
First customers from the building material sector
In 1990 I succeeded in wining a new customer. Perlmooser Zementwerke approached me to benefit from my knowledge to realize a comprehensive dispatch automation control system. This was the beginning of VAS! Our new dispatch automation control system was constantly improved for instance by adding railway handling (announcement, loading, transport papers) or multiple operation levels.
In 1992 a new customer from the building material sector was found: W&P BauMit Zementwerke engaged Berthold company to build a logistic system for her plant in Wietersdorf and later on, also for plant Peggau as well as for the first foreign plant in Sirac (Croatia). Thereby tasks like recipe management, production planning and controlling, vehicle disposition or a tool, to administer all accessories and like containers, tools and accessories where included to the VAS-system. But also all process-orientated, dynamic manipulation steps were integrated.
We were faced with new challenges when we won AEG and Group Schneider as new partners. With these two, we accomplished projects for Aktual-windows, Bank-Austria-security and many more. With Seiler, a company who holds the patent for glazing technology, Berthold developed a new method for banknote printing, so it was possible to regenerate the incidental wipe base up to 98%. This method reduced cost and improved ecological damage. Moreover we performed a few other projects for Seiler, which subject was water treatment, flue gas cleaning, garbage burning or filter systems.
Dosing systems and process control for foods production became another important division of Berthold. We were able to build weighing, dosing and manufacturing projects for well known chocolate production companies and for Hipp we established the complete control system for baby food production in Croatia. Because the building material sector is very cyclical, we established a new product line in 1997: garbage-logistics. Spittelau and Flötzersteig garbage burning plants were equipped with the first stage of our logistics concept
The foundation of VAS-II®
Technological advance made the creation of a complete new system concept possible in 1998: with the help of external partners we developed VAS-II®, the new generation of dispatch automation control systems, which is an absolute highlight for building material, garbage and biomass with its modular, free configurable structure. The system is based on an Oracle database and is unique, because of its process orientated, controllable software modules, its configurable reports and remote maintenance accesses down to the lowest level. After its completion in year 2000, VAS-II® was trademarked internationally.
VAS-II® takes over the logistics sector
Our development was applied at the worldwide second largest building material manufacturer immediately. The corporate group that today is known as HOLCIM installed our system in a large plant in Slovakia. Modules for forklift coordination, for railway coordination and a continuous quality management with integrated laboratory module followed soon. With this, our logistics concept probably turned to be the most powerful, process orientated tool in the logistics sector. From this time onwards, we called our product to be a "logistics control system VAS-II“", like the process control technology - all logistic tasks can be integrated into this system.
At W&P BauMit we were able to upgrade VAS equipped plants to VAS-II®, moreover, we could equip further plants in Slovakia, Bosnia and Latvia and Italy with our system concept.
In the following years, we expanded to a supplier of complete turn key solutions, which include also complete weighing technology, digital intercom systems for internal communication and video equipment combined with access control for production and process monitoring besides our logistic control system VAS-II®.
New systems for the energy sector
In 2002 we were able to adapt our modular concept in the energy sector. Besides our installations of dynamic rail scales, we established and integrated also dynamic truck scales to the system, which were used for weighing of garbage collecting vehicles at Fernwärme Wien. Additionally, the whole handling of dangerous goods transports including all certificates and orders was implemented, as well as a consistently process cycle starting at proposal management, guiding all business processes and stock management, ending with invoicing and reporting. This comprehensive system concept was also implemented by AVN/EVN for their burning plants in Austria and Russia. Further more, we went into a new direction for the logistic processing of biomass with EVN. We have developed a VAS-II® integrated measurement method to determine the calorific value. Within 24 hours the system calculates an accounting based upon the calorific value of the delivered product.
Service and support
We are especially proud of the improvement of our service and support department. We are the first provider of 24-h-support with guaranteed reaction time, which provides all necessary human resources besides a complete spare parts stock at our customer's disposal. To be able to guide our customers in all respects, we have launched a pan-European unique hotline-support. In our experience, about 70% of the support calls can be solved within the first telephone call. Mostly, hard- and software is not responsible for the problem, it is caused by wrong datasets from the host system or with handling errors. In some cases, our system works logically correct, like the validity date of an order has expired, or a flag blocks inhibits delivery, because of the financial problems of the client. One of our key accounts, W&P BauMit, was so pleased with our support that they we took over the supervising task for logistic systems of all their plants. A service that we can offer to all our customers in line with fully maintenance contracts.