How Knoche KNOCHE Maschinenbau GmbH Implements Cloud-native Multibody Simulation Principia MBS

This case study encapsulates Knoche Maschinenbau’s journey in enhancing their product development process through the adoption of Multibody Simulation (MBS) technology offered by principia MBS. It outlines the challenges faced, the solution implemented, and the promising results achieved, alongside future aspirations. 

Knoche Maschinenbau and the CROSSMAX FW

With a legacy spanning over 225 years, Knoche Maschinenbau GmbH is deeply rooted in family tradition. Originating in 1790, Hans Heinrich Knoche, a farrier and armorer, assumed ownership of the forge in Horsten. Evolving over generations, the company transitioned into Knoche Maschinenbau under Heinrich Knoche’s stewardship in 1965. With a workforce of 40 dedicated employees, Knoche Maschinenbau specializes in high-quality, bespoke solutions. Their machines, renowned for their excellence, serve clientele not only in Germany and Europe but also across the globe. The product range encompasses a variety of machinery tailored to agricultural needs, catering to diverse clients such as sugar-beet farmers in Magdeburg, agricultural cooperatives in Romania, and soybean producers in Japan.


The product in focus for this case study is the CROSSMAX FW, designed for stubble cultivation. Its development period is two years, production duration of six weeks, and ongoing quality assurance processes focusing on critical components such as joints and frames. 

CROSSMAX FW (c) Knoche Maschinenbau GmbH

The Problem: Status Quo of the Product Development Process at Knoche Maschinenbau

Before integrating Multibody Simulation into their product development process, Knoche Maschinenbau relied on experiential design for product development. The development process for the product described in this case study, the CROSSMAX FW, involved designing joints based on experience as well as already existing models. This method led to challenges, including up to five alterations during the validation process before achieving a production-ready version. What further resulted in decreased efficiency due to higher time and cost efforts. 

“During the product development process, we are currently relying mainly on experience for the validation of critical components such as the joints and refer to existing versions of our CROSSMAX FW. This results in up to five changes within the development process, which leads to increased costs and time expenditure for us.” – Jörg Knoche, CEO Knoche Maschinenbau GmbH

The Cloud-native Solution at Knoche Maschinenbau: The Implemenation of Principia MBS

To address these challenges, Knoche Maschinenbau integrated Multibody Simulation into their product development process. principia MBS, a cloud-native Multibody Simulation App available as an Onshape Add-On, provided the solution. By incorporating principia MBS, the company aimed to accurately predict the interaction between multiple components, particularly focusing on critical aspects such as the frame and joints.  

Due to the seamless integration of the principia MBS app in the existing Onshape environment, the implementation of the software was an ease for Knoche Maschinenbau. The simplicity and the scalability of principia MBS in combination with personalized support and prompt feedback from the principia MBS team helped Knoche to achieve intended results rapidly.  

The Results of the Application of Principia MBS

The integration of principia MBS into the product development process yielded significant results for Knoche’s development process of the CROSSMAX FW even at the late phases. Material selection and design were optimized based on simulation outcomes, leading to improved product performance and reliability. While it’s too early to observe widespread changes within the company, the engineering team envisions Multibody Simulation as a vital tool for future development, particularly for critical machine assemblies. 

“Knoche’s product development department can draw on a wealth of knowledge and experience from years of activity in the development of agricultural machinery. The quality of the products reflects this in an impressive way. However, we at principia MBS maintain that even such companies, or especially those with a lot of experience and a willingness to innovate, can benefit from simulation because they know how to use the results. In the case of the CROSSMAX FW project, the collaboration started late in the development cycle, simply because principia MBS was not yet on the market. Even at this late stage of the project, Knoche’s team was eager to start simulating and drawing conclusions. That’s what I call an agile way of working.” – Stefan Oberpeilsteiner, CEO principia MBS GmbH

Simulation results of the CROSSMAX FW in principia MBS as base for informed decision making and optimized product development process (Geometry by Knoche Maschinenbau GmbH)

What is the Future Outlook at Knoche Maschinenbau?

In the future, Knoche Maschinenbau aims to streamline their development process further with Multibody Simulation, particularly principia MBS. Short-term goals include reducing alterations from prototype to production to a maximum of two. Long-term aspirations involve field simulations with verifiable results, enhancing product validation and performance.