Controlar is a multinational company specialized in industrial automation and test systems with focus on the automotive industry. The company was founded in 1995 and has been expanding its business globally – through mergers, acquisitions, and representations –to several advanced industrial applications, since. It has become a reference in the automation and test fields, both nationally and internationally.

Supported by skills such as hardware and software development, systems integration and development, functional and quality tests for electronic devices and robotics, Controlar companies hold a significant portfolio of projects and services.

Among its references are multinational companies and partnerships with leading manufacturers around the world.

With over 240 employees, Controlar companies operate through a network of production units in Portugal, Spain, Mexico and Malaysia and branch offices/representatives in Germany, Russia, Morocco, India, and China. 

Interview with Maria Gonçalves, Global Marketing and Communication Manager at Controlar.

Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company?

Maria Gonçalves: The company’s activity is based on four business units: Test SystemsAutomation SystemsAerospace and Defense and Solutions and Partners.

As a global leading manufacturer of test and automation systems, Controlar companies provide their customers with hardware, software, and services, including the development, manufacturing and assembly of complete turn-key projects. Software support and training for industry machinery and equipment adds to the companies’ core businesses.

E.E: What are the ranges of products?

M.G: Within the Test Systems unit, the focus is on the conception and development of industrial test systems for PCB Testing, End-of-Line Testing, functional testing, and quality control.

Within the automation branch, Controlar companies develop and integrate industrial automation solutions, such as assembly machines, haptics and vision systems, welding machines, test benches, conveyor systems, leak testers, universal robotic stations, among many others…

These projects normally include the use of advanced technology, project design, development of mechanical parts, electrical projects, programming, etc.

Controlar is continuously building its product and components portfolio, consisting of tooling & fixturing equipment, automotive Ethernet test systems, industrial testing and IOT platforms, portable test solutions and customized test adapters.

Additionally, our companies integrate, represent, and distribute first-rate products for applications in the automation and test systems fields through partnerships with important players and international manufacturers. 

E.E: What’s the news about new products?

M.G: Technology develops rapidly from day to day in an exponential level. New products emerge integrating diverse technologies, so we try to answer to any technological challenge, providing the best technological solution.  

The company goes step by step with this technological evolution. We must ensure that our solutions are always up to date with the market and that we have the internally capacity to deal with future challenges. 

In this sense, Controlar technological roadmap is orientated to build test solutions for new technologies in areas as autonomous driving, electric mobility, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, circular economy.

Such involves the adaption of the testing and assembly machines to develop a new generation of vehicle components, for example, as the ones related to automotive electrification (Powertrains, eTurbo, batteries, battery management systems (BMS)…).

E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active?

M.G: Our market is constantly developing, mainly due to the introduction of the new 4.0 industrial revolution a few years ago, which launched new paradigms to improve automation and production efficiency.

The Incorporation of IoT (Internet of Things) in factory floors for monitoring both production and machines’ status will continue to prevail.

In what Artificial intelligence is concerned, one can watch the development of AI and of artificial vision systems for data collection and preventive maintenance of machines.

The influence of digitalization on industry is here to stay and becoming mandatory for companies that wish to keep their business running and stay ahead.

E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?

M.G: As aforementioned, the use of digital industrial technologies is becoming a top priority on many industries’ management agenda. Examples are the Internet of Things (IoT), Augmented Reality (AR) or Robotics and Automation Systems to ensure the continuity of some activities, particularly those related to production, monitoring, maintenance, and repair.

Other technologies, as collaborative robotics, are major players in the future of industry and can be integrated to meet any automation challenge. 

On the other hand, one can notice the industry’s transition to greener, more connected, digital, and autonomous forms of mobility.

It’s mandatory to develop test solutions for new technologies in autonomous vehicles, namely Radars and Lidars, displays and infotainment, connected mobility communications, intuitive driving…

Controlar is committed to maintaining the highest level of innovation through a continuous activity of research & development oriented towards the design of new solutions carried out by its R&D +Innovation Center. The integration of technologies to support industry digitization is also being explored through internal and financed projects and strategic partners.

E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed? 

M.G: The In Line Manager System, composed by the XILS800 and the XILS600 handlers, is among our best sellers marketed by EIIT, one of Controlar companies. These are completely customizable and adaptable machines designed mainly for In-Circuit testing applications.

The system integrates the Line Manager Software an open platform software and high scalable solution for smart traffic management of PCBs according to the real needs of the production line. 

Controlar has also marketed an IoT device management platform – QiO2 -for industrial monitoring applications that uses LoRaWAN® and Wi-Fi communication to increase the coverage of the factory floor. Another a highly scalable solution, allowing the simultaneous use of a high number and types of sensors, actuators, and gateways. It can be used with a Cloud-based or on- premises. Undoubtedly, this solution has great potential for a large number of industries, when it comes to be a part of the Digital Transformation movement.

Moreover, the NUVX.IQ is our gold cloud-based RF infotainment test platform, that can generate signals that cover the different communication standards and protocols required for automotive infotainment tests. The signals can be sent to different hardware configurations integrated in factory plants, productions lines or test stations. It can be used for testing a wide range of automotive infotainment solutions, with the integration of future communication technologies in the NUVX.IQ platform.

Also, worth mentioning is PARTS, a high-resolution test solution developed by Controlar to test and validate automotive radars in the production line for quality control and safety compliance.

Based on a smart and modular concept, this high-quality test solution allows easy operation and product maneuvering by the user.

E.E: What estimations do you have for 2022?

M.G: Controlar is always seeking to expand its business worldwide, so exportation has been set as one of Controlar business strategies. Our goal is to import test systems directly from our production plants in Portugal, Spain and Mexico to supply local customers in places where we have acquired customers.

To reach that target, Controlar expects local alliances will help to accelerate the growth and success of its expansion in international markets, while contributing to local progress and employment. We are moving from a group of companies towards being a global company.