Read more about the opening of INCworX
Read more about the opening of INCworX
Today saw the opening ceremony of the „Center for Next Generation Processes and Products (NGP²)“ on RWTH Aachen Campus (Campus Melaten). This building will be the new home of the five RWTH departments for process and chemical engineering, which were hitherto located in different buildings within Aachen. The NGP2 does not only lend a common roof to the departments, but also places them in the vicinity of local cooperation partners from the fields of chemistry, biology and biotechnology. On a rental area of about 11,000 m2, the best conditions for research have been created: apart from office space, rooms for conventions, lectures, seminars and meetings as well as laboratories and workshops are available. The centerpiece of NGP2 is a three-story modular biorefinery at pilot-plant scale. Here, new processes for transforming green or wooden biomass into platform chemicals and fuel components are researched. The focus is mainly on developing the necessary equipment and process steps as well as on determining the mechanisms that are at work during the process.
Here you can read the press release in German on the website of the Building and Real-Estate Management North Rhine-Westphalia.
Autonomous electromobility will make traffic in metropolitan areas cleaner, safer and more efficient. To promote the establishment of these systems and to inspire new technological innovations, ZF has envisaged a joint venture with the company e.GO Mobile AG through its subsidiary Zukunft Ventures. The goals of the new joint venture e.GO Moove, headquartered in Aachen, are to develop, produce and sell autonomous people and cargo movers. The first prototype was recently presented on the campus of RWTH Aachen University.
“Autonomous, connected and thus highly flexible e-shuttle vehicles will play a significant role in urban and metropolitan areas of the future as safe, comfortable, efficient and environmentally-friendly modes of transport,” explains Dr. Stefan Sommer, CEO of ZF Friedrichshafen AG. “These vehicles bring us one important step closer toward our Vision Zero.”
ZF is a leading automotive supplier of electrified drivelines, which are an important building block in ZF’s commitment to this envisaged joint venture company e.GO Moove, because they are characterized by durability, economy and a high level of efficiency. In addition, ZF will also make its ADAS, chassis and sensor fusion technologies available to this planned joint venture. The scalable supercomputing control box ZF ProAI will play a central role as an integrated vehicle system that can be updated in the cloud. The control box is based on artificial intelligence algorithms for vehicle-to-infrastructure applications and is capable of learning. It can communicate with other vehicles and its surrounding environment, and, in the form of swarm intelligence, make vehicle fleets safer and more efficient. Together, ZF, Nvidia and e.GO Mobile AG will work intensely on further developing and testing autonomous driving functions for the e.GO Mover.
“New vehicle concepts such as electrically powered people and cargo movers must be developed to be highly iterative and, at the same time, be inexpensively produced,” explains Prof. Dr. Günther Schuh, founder and CEO of e.Go Mobile AG. His company has installed a largely connected Industry 4.0 infrastructure on the campus of RWTH Aachen University that can be used to efficiently build homologation-capable vehicles and develop them for volume production.
“Cooperating with a strong partner like ZF enables us to quickly offer cities and the drivers of new mobility test fleets suitable for vehicle registration because we combine our start-up dynamism with ZF’s industrialization expertise and market access,” he adds. The envisaged joint venture will be headquartered in Aachen. There, engineers as well as production and sales experts have already started working on organizing a rapid market launch.
ZF sees a great deal of future potential worldwide for electric and autonomous vehicles to be used to transport both people and cargo. The ZF Future Study, published in November 2016, has already predicted enormous growth, mainly in the city center logistics industry by 2030.
The envisaged joint venture e.GO Moove will be a good addition to this market. As Dr. Stefan Sommer states, “Together with e.GO, we are combining the power of innovation, speed and global production know-how in the mobility industry with first-class sales and service expertise. The e.GO people and cargo movers will demonstrate our expertise in intelligent mechanical systems as well as autonomous driving – and thereby in the mobility solutions of the future.”
ZF is therefore continuing to establish cooperative agreements with external partners and other experts in the field, which is why it founded Zukunft Ventures GmbH in September 2016. Headquartered in Friedrichshafen, this new company has a clear mission, namely to invest in companies that are actively developing technologies that are relevant for ZF. And from ZF, these smaller, but already well-established companies receive support from a strong partner. In return, ZF is expanding its portfolio to include sustainable technologies that will keep it one step ahead of the competition.
Today, Dr. Walther Pelzer (Ministry of Innovation, Science and Research of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW)), Dr. Oliver Schumy (CEO of IMMOFINANZ), Prof. Günther Schuh (Director of the Production Engineering Cluster), Prof. Frank Piller (Founding Dean of the RWTH Business School), Dr. Bernd Bohr (Vice-Chairman of the Board of Governors) and Prof. Malte Brettel (Vice-Rector for Industry and Business Relations of RWTH Aachen University) officially opened the Production Engineering Cluster and the RWTH Business School on RWTH Aachen Campus at an event moderated by Prof. Bernd Mathieu (Zeitungsverlag Aachen). Guests from academia, industry and politics attended the opening talk. The opening celebrations were a program highlight of the Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium (AWK) 2017, which was attended by more than 1,000 engineering experts.
“Aachen and RWTH Aachen are among the most important research and development locations in the area of production engineering – nationally as well as internationally. This is where new concepts for a globally competitive production engineering of the future will be created and brought to life”, says Dr. Walther Pelzer of the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Research NRW. “I am excited to take part in the official inauguration of the Production Engineering Cluster and the RWTH Business School here today, which are two further key milestones for this location.”
“The cluster is set to become one of the largest research laboratories for production engineering and Industrie 4.0 in Europe”, explains Cluster Director and Campus Initiator Professor Günther Schuh. “More than 150 businesses are already members of this cluster; up to 800 experts from the sectors of science and technology collaborate in interdisciplinary teams with industry consortia.” With a gross footprint of 30,000 square meters, the Production Engineering Cluster is the largest building complex on RWTH Aachen Campus to date. Its research focus is digitally integrated production. Near realtime simulations of complex production chains by way of digital shadowing, self-learning factories made possible by big data usage and utilization concepts for cloud technologies for engineering-based governing of production controls are some of the central issues here. The new electric city car e.GO Life is, for example, one of the successful projects developed in this cluster.
The RWTH Business School, which is located in the Production Engineering Cluster, aims to assist executives to optimally prepare for the challenges of the future. These challenges are the result of increasingly fast technology-driven innovations, which brings radical change to established industries and their process environments. “Managers of tomorrow must understand this development in order to lead their companies safely through technological change”, says Founding Dean Professor Frank Piller, whose School of Business and Economics at RWTH Aachen University is responsible for the curriculum content of the new further-education facility. “In order to succeed, our study programs must be flexible enough to adapt to the specific needs of the students as individually as possible.” In Aachen, this is achieved via a personalized study course at the interface between technology and management, a concept that is currently unique in Europe.
Dr. Oliver Schumy, CEO at IMMOFINANZ, mentioned in his speech that the building complex is a new and innovative format for the property sector: “The Production Engineering Cluster, which brings together industry and science in close cooperation under one roof, is a showpiece for us as a property investment company. The economic world in particular is characterized by an ongoing adjustment process. New interdisciplinary research landscapes, like the ones here on campus, can help to decisively optimize and accelerate the innovation process.”
Here you can read the complete press release.
And here you will find the brochure on the Production Engineering Cluster.
Picture 4: Ramp-Up Factory: production of parts by means of additive manufacturing
Picture 5: Ramp-Up Factory: rolling chassis of the electric city car e.GO Life on a test bench
Picture 6: Opening of the Production Engineering Cluster and of the RWTH Business School (f.l.t.r.: Dr. Walther Pelzer, Prof. Günther Schuh, Prof. Malte Brettel, Dr. Bernd Bohr, Dr. Oliver Schumy, Prof. Frank Piller)
“The European 4.0 Transformation Center on RWTH Aachen Campus brings research and industry together. Here, scientists and partner companies advance digital transformation – and show what is possible with regard to electric cars.”
Link to the video (in German):
More information at the CeBIT 2017 (20-24 March 2017)
or at the AWK 2017 (18/19 May 2017)
In their online article, the VDI nachrichten explain the concept of RWTH Aachen Campus. Besides, prospective engineers who are involved in projects of individual centers e. g. by their master thesis have their say.
Link to the article in German: Partners under One Roof