What does GMA stand for?
In German, GMA stands for the Society for Measurement and Automatic Control within VDI and VDE. Our work is about the automation of processes, machinery and systems. This technology is used primarily in factories, but also in cars, for example, where it’s enabling autonomous driving. Our other main area, measurement technology, is largely about sensors and the correct use of measuring devices. It’s thanks to this technology that we can understand and influence our environment at all. To put it another way, everyone talks about the 1.5-degree target for global warming. Without us, we couldn’t even measure those degrees.
Give us a picture of what it’s like working in the GMA.
Working in the GMA is always about taking things from areas like mechanical engineering, process engineering, car-making and the like and introducing processes from electrical engineering and information technology. We’re the glue among many different applications. We work together in an interdisciplinary way and as a network, but also beyond the boundaries of measurement and automation technology. Around 1,500 volunteers represent the heart of our society, and we have a very democratic structure. If someone at one of our meetings stands up to suggest an agenda item and they can convince the other participants, then onto the agenda it goes.
When was the GMA founded, and why?
The GMA just celebrated its 50th anniversary. It was founded as the GMR (Society for Measurement and Control Technology) as factories were undergoing the first big wave of automation. As the change in our name indicates, we’re constantly reinventing ourselves. That’s a byproduct of technical progress itself, which is obviously important to us as a technical society. With our technologies today, we’re simply in a very different place from where we were in the 1970s. To reflect these developments in the GMA, we also recently changed our structure again. With 53 active committees organized in five departments, we now cover the full depth and breadth of measurement and automation technology.