19. September 2023

The Center Construction Robotics (CCR) has big plans: Together with its European research partners, the Center from the Construction Cluster will be hosting Open Campus Week on September 19, 2023 at Europe’s first Reference Construction Site on Campus Melaten.

On both days, the CCR will present the research highlights from its interdisciplinary collaboration with industry partners and students from the Construction and Robotics program at RWTH Aachen University. A special highlight will be the opening of Open Campus Week by patron Ina Scharrenbach, Minister of Regional Identity, Local Government, Building and Digitalization of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia. “Theory meets practice – The future of construction explored in North Rhine-Westphalia. Europe’s first Reference Construction Site on the new grounds of Campus Melaten, RWTH Aachen University is a great opportunity to collaboratively drive digitization in the construction industry” says Ina Scharrenbach. “Research is being conducted on everything from the pre-production of construction elements to automated construction sites. The results of research and teaching are tested here under real construction site conditions. This makes the construction site of the future at the RWTH Aachen Campus not only a think tank but also a real laboratory in one. Through projects like this, we are creating a transformation of traditional construction methods and creating a new digital construction environment.”

4,000 m² for the transformation of the building industry

The Reference Construction Site serves as a real laboratory for the transformation of the construction industry. Robotics technologies, software solutions and innovative teaching, working and communication approaches are tested under real conditions on a construction site on 4,000 m² at Campus Melaten.

Since the beginning of its research in the campus ecosystem, the CCR has attracted a steadily growing number of project partners working together on forward-looking topics such as climate change, the reuse of materials and automation in the construction industry. Professor Sigrid Brell-Cokcan, Chair of Individualized Construction Production and Scientific Director of the CCR says: “As a crowdsourcing project, the Reference Construction Site is open to all interested parties, fellow citizens, industry partners, start-ups, students and researchers. Another form of collaboration is project partnership based on a fair use principle: a collaboration in time-limited, targeted pilot projects. Any company that gets involved gets to use the site.” Particularly for small and medium-sized companies that do not have their own research and development department, the Center Construction Robotics’ offer represents an attractive opportunity. Companies can direct specific inquiries to the center to obtain solutions within a short period of time as part of proof of concept projects. Christian Klein, Managing Director of Schulte Transportsysteme GmbH is convinced of the cooperation with the CCR: “The digitalization of construction machinery is revolutionizing the construction industry. Intelligent technologies increase efficiency, reduce costs and increase safety. Machines become smart partners on the construction site of the future.”

International industry consortium of crucial importance

The European industry consortium currently consists of PORR, Hilti, EIFFAGE, KUKA, Autodesk, Doka, Leonhard Weiss, ALIMAK, Fundermax and Riegl. Jean-Marie Dolo, Technical and Innovation Director of Eiffage, sees several advantages for the cooperation with the industrial consortium: “The collaboration with RWTH Aachen University and other partners from industry in the Center Construction Robotics is crucial to find a relevant approach for the future of one’s own company, especially in the areas of digitalization, robotics, social, community development and the environment. This is also an accelerator for Research to Market.”

The CCR’s two lighthouse projects include the EU-funded TARGET-X project and the 5G.NAMICO project, which is funded by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Industry, Climate Action and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia and led by the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT. The focus of TARGET-X is on accelerating the digital transformation of key industry construction through extensive testing in various environments. Using 5G technologies, functions such as localization, digital twins and data fusion between sensors and networks are tested on the reference construction site. The 5G.NAMICO project, on the other hand, is investigating the application of the 5G mobile communications standard in the construction and mining industries.