Uchi Technologies: Core Technology

  • Do you know what is the core technology of Uchi Technologies?
  • Does UCHITEC make digital or analogy products?
  • An animation from KRUPS to demonstrate how fully automated coffee machine works

Give a word that best describes what the core technology of Uchi Technologies is. Probably you would say electronics, semiconductors or control systems. I’ll bet none would say mechatronics. In case you’re not familiar with this word. The objective of mechatronics is to integrate other systems such as control systems, electronic systems and mechanical systems. The Euler diagram below represents their relationships.

Core Technology – Mechatronics

As shown in this diagram, Mechatronics is the overlapping area of four domains:

  1. Control system
  2. Electronic system
  3. Mechanical system
  4. Computer system

These four systems overlaps each other and form four sub-domains

  1. Control electronics
  2. Digital control
  3. Electro-mechanics
  4. Mechanical CAD

To help ourselves understand what Uchi Technologies does in the context of mechatronics, I firstly recommend you watch this coffee machine operation animation from KRUPS before you continue to read.

As an example, I select some operations from this animation and elaborate them:

  1. Selection of Cappuccino: the electronic system collects the selection inputs from the touch screen and send its corresponding digital control signals to the control system – the green printed circuit board (PCB)
  2. Adaptation of the fineness of grinding according to the selected drink: the embeded computer system (microprocessor) on the PCB calculates the required bean grinder position
  3. The control electronics (mixed-signal controller) converts the digital control signals into analog electrical power to drive the motor (electro-mechanics) of the grinder

Core Product – Electronic Control Module

Apart from technology perspective, we can also understand UCHITEC from its products. The exhibit below shows typical products for fully automated coffee machine. From the picture of function test, we can identify at least three products:

  1. Control panel (red circle) consists of
    • a six-button control panel in black
    • a dot-matrix display in red LED
    • an integrated input & display module (hidden behind)
  2. Mixed-signal electronic control module (yellow box)
    • the black plastic printed with UCHI is believed to be a microprocessor (zoom-in picture)
  3. Power module (yellow box)
    • it is just next to the electronic control module

Uchi Technologies does not only design and develop these products but also manufacture and assembly them. Its customers like Jura further assembly them into its coffee machine.

Digital vs Analog

“Digital” is a buzz word that many products have it in their names. Consumers think that a product has higher technology content if it has “digital” attached to it and “analog” is considered as something out-dated. As serious value investors, we better see a true picture. Surely processing data in digital way has no ambiguity, for it is either 1 or 0. That’s why digital dominates in information technology industry like computer for example. However, our physical world is analogy; The water temperature is continuosly changing when it is heated up; the coffee grinder is continuosly moving. The techniques to collect and then to convert these real world analogy data into the digital world are the strength of UCHITEC. Its electronic control systems and microprocessors could handle both digital and analog data; that is why they are called “mixed signal” electronic control systems and mixed signal microprocessors. It is technically very challenging to design and make mixed signal systems than those digital or analog alone.


Sources of pictures





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