Rethinking collaboration: Fill Hackathon – the mechatronics challenge


Technical college students and young professionals impress with creativity, talent and teamwork at the second Fill Hackathon.

On December 13 –15, the machine engineering company Fill, based in Gurten, Upper Austria, transformed into a hotspot for creative, mechatronic ideas. Forty participants from the technical colleges in Andorf, Braunau, Grieskirchen and Ried faced the challenge of incorporating their ideas into projects to solve a tricky task in the area of automated quality control in the best possible way. Since there were no restrictions in terms of creativity, software or hardware, they made use of drone cameras, design solutions, 3D printing, programming, and the Fill image processing tool CYBERNETICS VISION. Unconventional, creative and out-of-the-box approaches were encouraged. The five teams, each consisting of eight participants (two from each college), eagerly set about their task under the guidance of a mentor. What made the Fill Hackathon so unique was that the challenge brought together participants from various disciplines and technical colleges. Team 5, named “AeroFillDetection”, emerged as the overall winners, taking home 1,600 euros in prize money. The winners in the categories of Design, Prototyping, Automation, and User Interfaces were each rewarded with a drone.

Gurten, December 21, 2023 – The young talents from the technical colleges had an exciting three days at the Fill Hackathon, which revolved around the theme of “rethinking collaboration”. “Young people have tremendous potential. With their enthusiasm, they often create remarkable solutions. And it was pretty amazing to experience this concentrated creative energy,” says Alois Wiesinger, CTO (Chief Technology Officer) of Fill Machine Engineering, who was very impressed by the participants’ efforts at the Hackathon.

Hackathon as a unique opportunity
A hackathon presents a unique opportunity to collaborate with different people on exciting ideas. With the support of mentors and experts, teams work together to develop a prototype, code, concept, or business model for an innovative solution within a very short timeframe (48 hours). The task at the second Fill Hackathon was to train the vision system in such a way that the quality of bottles and crates could be checked automatically with the help of a drone camera. The drone’s safety technology was an important consideration on this task. A 360° propeller guard was designed and 3D-printed so that the drone could be used safely indoors. The participants also had to implement an interface for image processing in CYBERNETICS and present the results in a user-friendly interface that offered flexibility in terms of analysis level (classification, object detection).

Excellent presentations
During the closing event on December 15th, 2023, the teams presented their solutions at the Fill Future Dome in front of a large audience of around 240 people. Under the discerning eyes of the judges, all participants demonstrated solid skills and worked to a professional standard. “Everyone gave it their all and showcased their remarkable talents. The attendees were left deeply impressed by what young people can achieve when they join forces. It was a great event that will have a lasting impact,” said a delighted Andreas Fill, proprietor and CEO of the company.

Corporate data
Fill is a leading international machine engineering company based in Gurten, Upper Austria. With sophisticated high-tech systems and custom manufacturing solutions for metal, plastics and wood, Fill makes its customers the best in their fields. The automotive, aviation, sports and building industries all benefit from Fill’s expertise. Since it was founded in 1966, the company has distinguished itself through enormous innovative strength, strong values and the best jobs. “If you are seeking the best solution, shape your future with Fill” is the guiding principle of the company’s more than 1,000 employees. “We are one!” is their vision and stands for togetherness not only with the team, but also with customers, suppliers and partners. The company is 100 percent family-owned and managed by Andreas Fill (CEO), Martin Reiter (CFO), Alois Wiesinger (CTO) and Günter Redhammer (COO). In 2022, Fill recorded sales of around 187 million euros.

The winning team at the second Fill Hackathon took home some great prizes after impressing the judges and audience with their creativity, talent and teamwork.

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