At the Mechatronics Learning and Application Center (LAZ) of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), students and teachers of mechanical and electrical engineering as well as information technology will be able to witness the complete engineering process from the first idea to the finished product. Presumably from 2023, LAZ will offer rooms for studies and work as well as project-oriented infrastructure facilities, including a workshop for students, where new teaching concepts will be applied. Today (November 15, 2021), KIT celebrated the groundbreaking ceremony in the presence of guests from industry, politics, and science.
The LAZ will give students the opportunity to develop and implement their ideas using latest equipment in a modern learning and teaching environment. They will be able to construct and test their product with modern digital machine tools and latest software.
“The planned new building will fit perfectly to the existing institutes located on eastern Kaiserstraße. Light will enter the basement through the windows that will provide citizens with a view into the building. The new building will represent an important link between KIT and society,” says State Secretary at the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Finance Gisela Splett.
“The new Mechatronics Learning and Application Center will enable students to pursue product development from the idea to use. This project-oriented and cross-departmental approach will perfectly combine new teaching and learning concepts, research, and innovation and will essentially contribute to improving the success of studies in technical and engineering programs,” says the Head of Department at the State Ministry of Science, Research, and the Arts, Dr. Hans J. Reiter.
“The new Mechatronics Learning and Application Center will connect research, teaching, and industrial application in a unique way,” says the President of KIT, Professor Holger Hanselka. “The LAZ will provide our students with the special opportunity to participate in thrilling research projects and to use their theoretical knowledge in practice with the help of latest equipment.”
The Lord Mayor of the City of Karlsruhe, Dr. Frank Mentrup, emphasizes: “Today’s groundbreaking ceremony reveals the deliberate opening of KIT’s Campus South towards the city center. This newly designed entrance to the city in the east stands for both specific urban development and the further development of KIT. The LAZ will be an eye-catcher, a point of attraction and orientation. This building project and recently completed research buildings reflect the importance of Karlsruhe to you. You feel linked to the city and its citizens.”
From the Idea to the Product
LAZ will be KIT’s center for product engineering, where students will be familiarized with manufacturing technologies. “Only when using a product, will it become obvious whether it was designed well or not. At LAZ, our students will be able to witness the complete process from the idea to the product,” says Sven Matthiesen, Professor for Power Tools and Machine Elements at IPEK – KIT’s Institute of Product Engineering, who developed LAZ’s use concept. “To be a good engineer, you have to experience and understand the consequences of what you are doing. This is important, because engineering competence results from experiencing and reflecting on one’s own acting when engineering a product.”
About the Mechatronics Learning and Application Center
The LAZ is part of the campus development activities outlined in KIT’s Master Plan 2030, one of the goals being a better connection of the campus to the city center. The building site is located on eastern Kaiserstraße, between Berliner Platz and Durlacher Tor. Two buildings are being planned, a flat workshop building in the front, and a main building with five stories. The building will have a usable area of about 3,000 m² with a lecture hall for 274 persons, modern teaching areas, a prototype workshop, and new communication and project spaces. The building will be equipped with a photovoltaics facility and certified based on the Federal Assessment System for Sustainable Building (BNB).
The owner of the building, the State of Baden-Württemberg, invests about EUR 20.4 million. KIT pays a share of EUR 1.5 million. In addition, KIT received a donation by the SEW-EURODRIVE company and the company of TRUMPF Werkzeugmaschinen provided funds and materials for the LAZ project. The equipment of LAZ will be financed from donations of another 150 sponsors, including alumni of KIT, companies, and foundations.
Being “The Research University in the Helmholtz Association”, KIT creates and imparts knowledge for the society and the environment. It is the objective to make significant contributions to the global challenges in the fields of energy, mobility, and information. For this, about 9,800 employees cooperate in a broad range of disciplines in natural sciences, engineering sciences, economics, and the humanities and social sciences. KIT prepares its 22,300 students for responsible tasks in society, industry, and science by offering research-based study programs. Innovation efforts at KIT build a bridge between important scientific findings and their application for the benefit of society, economic prosperity, and the preservation of our natural basis of life. KIT is one of the German universities of excellence.