WZL takes Replacement Areas at Rotter Bruch into Operation after Hall Fire




Dr.-Ing. Patrick Mattfeld

Chief Engineer in Charge


+49 241 80 25302



After the large WZL hall burnt down on February 5, 2016, the Laboratory for Machine Tools and Production Engineering (WZL) of RWTH Aachen University is now officially taking its new replacement areas into operation at Rotter Bruch.

  Copyright: © WZL/Winandy

The WZL directors, Professor Günther Schuh, Professor Fritz Klocke, Professor Robert Schmitt and Professor Christian Brecher, were extremely grateful for the many offers of help shortly after the fire. The RWTH Aachen as well as many industrial and research partners from all over the world offered replacement (rental) machines, measuring and laboratory equipment and floor space in order to rebuild the working capacity of the WZL. In order to ensure the necessary close cooperation between the various research groups at the WZL and the central workshops in the building, the board of directors decided on six locations with a total of 3,700 square meters in the immediate vicinity of the remaining WZL buildings.

Further replacement areas in operation

Under the motto "Now more than ever", research activities were rapidly relocated to neighboring facilities and, in some cases, cooperation with industrial companies was intensified. In the Cluster Production Technology on the RWTH Aachen Campus 1200 square meters were made available by the WBA - Toolmaking Academy, the e.GO Mobile AG and the Aachen Centre for Lightweight Construction AZL and rented by the RWTH for the WZL. The research work in the field of machining technology at milling centers, as well as at turning centers, grinding, forming and gear cutting technology was shifted according to demand.

A further 100 square meters were made available at the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT for the precision measuring room and eroding technology. At the location Bogenhalle, 790 square meters of hall space are currently being used for assembly and robotics.

On a total area of 1,600 square meters - distributed over two halls with 1,090 square meters each and 510 square meters - the main research areas of the Chair of Manufacturing Technology headed by Professor Fritz Klocke will in future be located at the Rotter Bruch. The fire mostly affected this chair with its research areas. "The concentration of research work at the Rotter Bruch site reduces our current logistics and coordination efforts enormously," said Klocke at the presentation of the replacement area. The areas of machining technology, grinding and forming as well as the mechanical workshop and the training operation of the machine tool laboratory have started their operations here.

  View ito the machine hall with its machines Copyright: © WZL/Winandy The hall at Rotter Bruch

Replacement of Machines since May 2016

Already in May 2016, individual parts of the machine park could be procured again within the scope of used machine purchases of the RWTH. Since, in addition to the machine tools, tools, operating equipment and factory equipment such as workbenches, tables, shelves and chip connectors had to be brought into the replacement areas, the institute was faced with a major challenge overall.

In addition, the Laboratory of Machine Tools and Production Engineering was provided with additional rental machines by leading machine tool companies and equipment manufacturers worldwide. The portfolio includes gear cutting machines, 3- and 5-axis machining centers, grinding machines, eroding machines, measuring equipment and gear measuring machines.

In Rotter Bruch, the focus is mainly on basic research into machining technology and the mechanical manufacture of test components for publicly funded and bilateral research projects. Two master craftsmen "Industrial Metal" and six journeymen "Industrial Mechanic - Feingerätebau" are supported by twelve trainees and work permanently at the new replacement location Rotter Bruch in the mechanical workshop as well as in the training operation. A further four trainees are firmly planned for the coming 2017 training year.

"At the Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium on May 18 and 19, 2017, full working capacity will be available."

Prof. Dr. Fritz Klocke