Working GroupsCopyright: © Martin Braun
The Profile Area ProdE enables a dynamic adaptation to future research topics and serves as an interdisciplinary exchange platform to initiate research projects in the field of production technology.
Working group Biologization of productionCopyright: © Peter Winandy
Biologization of production: The new paradigm for addressing the "Grand Challenges"? Biologization is a collective term for the integration of principles of nature into the value chain and for the development of products or problem solutions in production with the help of life sciences. The term describes a process of change driven by the gain of knowledge in life sciences and especially in biotechnology. Biologization and digitalization can be understood as converging processes that reinforce each other. Bionics or generative algorithms have been discussed in construction and design for quite some time, AI/ML algorithms based on evolutionary biological principles are currently under strong discussion, the use of new classes of materials promises many possibilities in broad fields of application. Self-replicating and organizing cellular machines are part of mathematical concepts, but have not yet been realized. Ecosystems and swarm intelligence have become the starting point for modern economic value creation arrangements. The term "Biologization of production" is prominently placed in the German government's HighTech strategy. But how can RWTH Aachen University position itself in this topic field, what competences do we already have, what competences should we build up in order to address what kind of questions in an innovative way?
Working group Transformation of constructionCopyright: © RWTH
Progressive digitalization is also changing the world of work on construction sites. Although Germany has been experiencing a building boom for years and there is an increasing shortage of skilled workers, productivity on building sites has hardly changed in the last 10 years. Robot-based automation offers great potential for increasing productivity in the construction industry. Furthermore, the possibilities of digitalization offer great potential for increasing productivity. In order to make innovative digital methods usable on construction sites, the previously non-existent digital chain from planning through production to assembly has to be presented in a consistent manner. This enables the identification of disruptive processes in the construction industry and subsequently the development of new business models.
To achieve these goals, scientists at the Center Construction Robotics at RWTH Aachen University work closely together with market-leading platform and technology enablers. In this context, the expert committee "Transformation of construction" bundles specific competencies at RWTH Aachen University from the fields of civil engineering, engineering, computer science, information technology and innovation management in order to develop an interdisciplinary methodology toolbox. In cooperation with the participating companies, this will enable the rapid implementation of a joint strategy for the digital transformation of construction. This will create a promising environment in Aachen, enabling all participants to play a creative role in the transition towards the digital construction site.
Working group Human-Technology transformationCopyright: © WZL
Driven by innovative technologies, rapid digitalization and the increasingly necessary specialization of skilled workers, growing areas of tension are developing constantly between human and technology. These areas of tension need to be reduced as quickly as possible by identifying the reasons for the tensions and making the growing complexity between human individuals and technological innovations manageable. This should be made possible in the future at the RWTH for example in a Living Lab Incubator. Through collaborative method and technology development, the working world of tomorrow will be designed in such a way that people and technology will work hand in hand to maintain and increase productivity and job satisfaction in Germany as a business location. It is important to integrate legal frameworks into the design of tomorrow's working world as early as possible and to make the benefit of innovative technologies, such as artificial intelligence, clear to users. Research and teaching approaches in the fields of smartification or managerial sense making of new technologies play a role in this context, as well as direct human-machine interaction or augmented decision-making.
In times of technologically driven disruptive change, these challenges must be viewed holistically and researched in an interdisciplinary manner. A holistic view and investigation of the interrelationships require close cooperation between all disciplines involved. In the expert committee "Human-Technology-Transformation", institutes from the fields of behavioral research, ergonomics, engineering and innovation management therefore develop strategies for the design of tomorrow's teaching and work, in order to provide “the engineer 2030” with the necessary specialist knowledge as well as the methods to work with innovative methods and technologies.
Working group Scalable production of energy production and energy storage systemsCopyright: © WZL
Long range, zero emission. The market for zero-emission mobility concepts offers huge growth potential. This growth potential is currently contrasted by energy production and energy storage solutions that cannot cover today’s requirements adequately. Battery-powered electric vehicles offer too short ranges, synthetic fuels can only be produced in small quantities and hydrogen-based mobility concepts can only be produced in small series and are usually uneconomical. Increasingly, driven by political and ecological efforts, manufacturing companies in Germany are faced with the challenge of bringing the required technologies and the necessary components for implementing emission-free mobility to maturity phase in record time, while at the same time operating economically. A large number of manufacturers from the automotive and aviation sectors are confronted with this particular challenge.
In order to solve these challenges as quickly as possible, it is essential to network the participants across the entire value chains closely and to develop interdisciplinary solution strategies both horizontally across the sectors and vertically along the individual value chains.
The expert committee "Scalable production of energy production and energy storage systems" achieves this goal through close networking of relevant university institutes and participants from industry and politics. Core topics include the technologically challenging large-scale production of fuel cell components or the design and production of engines that are using alternative fuels.