5. July 2022

Concluding the Open Campus Week

At the reference construction site at Campus West of RWTH Aachen University, guests from industry, research, politics, and associations met to follow the invitation of the Center Construction Robotics to an Open Campus Week. From June 20-24, 2022, the Center Construction Robotics, under the lead of Prof. Dr. Sigrid Brell-Cokcan, offered an extensive program to provide guests with insights into the current topics and the research results of the past two years at this ‘construction site of the future’, which is unique in Europe.

Research meets top talent from all over the world

The week kicked off with the NRW State Championships Worldkills Digital Construction. During a six-hour competition, up-and-coming talents took on the challenging tasks of BIM planning and digital construction site management. Meanwhile, Dean Prof. Dr. Stefanie Reese and Prof. Dr. Sigrid Brell-Cokcan informed the guests about recent collaborations between the faculties of architecture, civil engineering, computer science, and mechanical engineering, as well as about the international master’s program Construction & Robotics. In addition, the guests were able to examine the best student projects right on the spot as part of an exhibition: CCR industry partners (Ralf Mosler, Autodesk, Jörn Weichsel and Pia Pfitzenmaier, LEONHARD WEISS) took the opportunity to closely examine the best works and spontaneously offered an extra prize for the best ideas.

Lernen. Forschen. Machen. RWTH’s anniversary motto is also part of the program at the reference construction site

On day two of the celebration week, Prof. Dr. Dr. Ulrich Rüdiger, Rector of RWTH Aachen University and patron of the event, welcomed the guests to the 10,000 m2 site, which he had handed over to the Center Construction Robotics in a ceremony on behalf of RWTH Aachen University around two years ago. He praised the initiative’s doer qualities, emphasized the interdisciplinary collaboration, and thanked sponsors and industry partners for their trust and outstanding results.

Then, he welcomed Prof. Beate Wiemann, General Manager of the NRW Construction Industry Association, who took questions from the audience on the presentation and conclusion of the Reference Building Site Campus West research pilot project. The pilot project Reference Building Site Campus West aims to generate knowledge from university research at RWTH Aachen University and practical training in the NRW construction industry. Specifically, the Chair of Individualized Construction Production (IP) and the Institute for Fluid Power Drives and Systems (ifas) carried out developments on the automation and digitization of construction machinery and developed various training courses with the Hamm, Kerpen, and Oberhausen training centers. In the third and final training course, one of the topics taught was robotics.

This was followed by a brief portrait of the “Internet of Construction (IoC)” research project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Research and Development. All companies involved in this research project met after the presentation by Prof. Dr. Sigrid Brell and Christian Wurst, President of the German Steel Construction Association DSTV and Managing Director of Wurst Stahlbau GmbH, for the consortium meeting and official conclusion of the development project.

The Internet of Construction – all data as a digital information landscape

Wednesday – day three of the Open Campus Week – was also once again dedicated to the sovereign research project “Internet of Construction”. The day began with the opening of the closing ceremonies by Tom Wünsche from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research as a sponsor of the project in the program “Future of Value Creation – Research on Production, Services, and Work” and supervised by the Project Management Agency Karlsruhe (PTKA). The research project was funded with a total of 3.9 million euros. After the presentation of the results in detail by Prof. Dr. Robert Schmitt (WZL, RWTH Aachen) and Prof. Dr. Sigrid Brell-Cokcan (Individualized Production, RWTH Aachen), the guests had the opportunity to view the individual results live based on seven partial demonstrators during a tour of the reference construction site and to discuss them with the scientists and industrial partners.

Open minds meet open campus: research meets business, industry, and associations

The focus of the event was finally the panel discussion on the transformation of the construction industry and on building in inventory. Moderator Eva Maria Hermann led the panel around Jürgen Raschendorfer, PORR AG, Valérie David, EIFFAGE SE, Helga Kühnhenrich, BBSR, Johannes Bröhl, Ministry for Home Affairs, Municipal Affairs, Building and Equality of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, Jörn Weichsel, LEONHARD WEISS, Prof. Dr. Robert Schmitt and Prof. Dr. Sigrid Brell-Cokcan, both RWTH through an entertaining discussion on current challenges, the integration of existing and new technologies and possibilities for improved cooperation between industry, politics and business.

Then, the guests had the opportunity to follow an invitation of the institutes of the Cluster Bauen to a “Tour de Campus” over the Campus Melaten as well as a “Tour de Pop-up Campus”, an initiative of the BBSR. The day ended with a party on the roof terrace of the LW Showtruck provided by LEONHARD WEISS.

Finally, on day four of the Open Campus Week, the consortium meeting of the Center Construction Robotics took place. Prof. Dr. Markus Kuhnhenne and Sebastian Möller started with their presentation “From modular to circular: Shift happens” and gave an outlook on the Modulo project. Afterwards, Nikolaus Studnicka from industry partner RIEGL presented their 3D laser technology. The agenda of the Center meeting included current and new projects.

Finally, day five was an internal day for the scientists of the teams from the Chair of Individualized Construction Production and the Center Construction Robotics to extensively reflect, and celebrate the achieved goals and results.

The reference building site offers space for exchange and lots of idea

The good news at the end of an intensive week of festivities is that the reference building site will not only provide insights into the center’s work during the Open Campus Week. According to the fair-use principle, interested guests from research, politics, associations, science, and industry can contact the center at any time to place ideas on the reference site and thus actively promote the digitization and automation of the construction industry in a participating way.