Interdisciplinary research and technology in everyday life inspired pupils at the MINT-EC-Camp "Production Technology"

  Group of Students © Image: Anja Wassong

This year 18 STEM pupils from all over the country had the chance of recieving interesting insights into the world of production technology, university life and the applications of technical subjects. The camp took place from November 7-10, 2018, and offered an exiting programm and ample opportunity to explore Aachen and the possibilities of production technology.

The senior pupils were able to broaden their knowledge in lectures and workshops on topics like "Industrial Robotics" at the Laboratory for Machine Tools and Production Engineering (WZL) or "Humans and the production technology of the future", hosted by the Institute of Industrial Engineering and Ergonomics (IAW). Lectures, seminars and hands on workshops were on the agenda, enabling the participants to learn new facts about their envisioned field of study and gain practical experience.

  Pupil trying out simulation glove © Image: Anja Wassong Welcome speech by Managing Director Matthias Brockmann

Dr. Matthias Brockmann offered humorous insights into the variety of topics within the Cluster and the future of production in Germany during his welcoming speech. Subsequently, the scientists Simon Knape and Melanie Buchsbaum of the WZL offered a lecture on machine tools and automation in addition to a guided tour through the WZL. Naturally, the participants were allowed to try out some of the machines as well.

  © Image: Anja Wassong

On Thursday, not only pure technology, but also humans as a factor of production techology were examined at the Institute of Industrial Engineering and Ergonomics (IAW). Dr. Alexander Mertens, Marco Faber and Katharina Schäfer assisted the group in developing user-oriented robotic controlling systems while the students familiarized themselves with the topic of old age and the resulting handicaps. The collaborating robot has the potential to become a useful coworker at the workplace and for example help with heavy assembly elements.

With the age simulation suit GERT, the group was able to try out what it feels like to be about 30 years older - this also includes tremors, which mostly occur in old age, with the help of the tremor simulatons gloves.

  © Image: Anja Wassong


After a first stay in the cafeteria and thereby with the ultimate "real-feel" as a potential student at the RWTH Aachen thematically, it was about the robotics of the future. How do you control a robot? Which different robotic models are there at all and in what kind of work can robots take over our work in the future or ideally assist us as "colleague"?

  Group of Students © Image: Anja Wassong

On Friday, a workshop on „Optical Systems“ hosted by the Chair of Optical Systems (TOS) at Fraunhofer ILT introduced the pupils to the production of optical macro lenses for their smartphone cameras with a 3D-printer. As a result, the pupils were able to take home a little souvenir from their week in Aachen. Later, they were able to experience the infamous LaserHarp prior to ist apperance at the RWTH Science night later that day as another highlight of the camp. The LaserHarp is a techical and artistic medium, uniting colourful laser and the sounds that can be triggered by interrupting the beams, similar to a real harp. Of course, the students were allowed to try it out themselves to reconcile their newly gained theoretical insights into the topic and the practical use.

In the afternoon, exiting insights into textile technology followed. At the Institute for Textile Technology (ITA), the pupils got to know different practical uses of textiles, as industrial textile-reinforced concrete, as smart textiles in work uniforms, and as practical components in medical technology, for example as stents or artificial heart valves – Textile use cases for everyone. An introduction to weaving and braiding techology could also not be missed. The pupils were exited by the this years programm. Mateo (17) says. „My personal highlights were that we could take a detailed look at all the different technological uses of production technology. I’ve read a few things about this vast field but here we were able to see it from close up and ask all our questions.“

  Group of Students © Image: Anja Wassong

Lisa (17) also praises the fact that there were interesing aspects for everyone: „The diversity was my personal highlight. Especially robotics and their different forms of use in combination with human oriented techologies. We encountered robots in different fields of work, like at the WZL and the Textile Institute. I liked that we had guided tours but could also get our own hands on the machines.“

The varied programm ended with a tour through the eGO showroom, which the group longed to see before their departure on Saturday an the participation in the RWTH Science Night „5 to1 2“. On Saturday, five exiting and busy days in Aachen laid behind the students, during which they were able to take in much of the campus live and the future of production technology.

We wish them all the best for their exams and hope to see some of them on campus in the near future.