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The motto of this year's Winter University was "future mobility in urban areas".

The aim was to teach the participating students from Brazil, England, Indonesia, Mexico, Korea, Taiwan and the USA about sustainable logistics solutions for urban areas and to let them apply their knowledge to a real-life project. We were able to win the Fraunhofer Institute IESE in Kaiserslautern and the EnStadt:Pfaff project as cooperation partners. "We are pleased that Patrick Mennig, Head of Digital Innovation Design at Fraunhofer IESE, worked with us during this Winter University and we could focus on a the Enstadt:Pfaff project with has a high practical relevance and innovative character," says Prof. Dr. Monika Futschik.


Starting point of this years Winter University was a kick-off workshop at the Fraunhofer Institute IESE in Kaiserslautern and a tour of the construction site of the former Pfaff sewing machine factory. After this day the student had to opportunity to join various excursions, workshops and seminars introducing innovative sustainable logistics solutions to them.

During a visit to the Dematic Imagination Centre, the students were amazed by various sustainable automation solutions in intralogistics and were able to virtually create a warehouse with Mr. Sebastian Ahl, Marketing Manager of Dematic.

Another highlight for the students was the visit to the HUB31, Technology and Start-up Centre Darmstadt and the non-profit association for research, development and teaching LAB³ located there. In short pitches, the participants were able to get to know various start-ups and their solutions on the topic of sustainability. The spectrum ranged from inspection robots for oil platforms, planning software for greenhouse gas emissions, intelligent chopping boards that automate food tracking and smart e-drive solutions for boats, to delivery drones and the latest 3D printing technologies. "The audience was truly amazed," said Prof. Dr Rico Wojanowski.

The students were then able to see for themselves the latest innovations and visions in the field of sustainable transport systems during a visit to the DHL innovation centre. "The students were able to gain an insight into the logistics of tomorrow and openly discuss the topic of climate-friendly logistics and CO2 emissions with experts," says Prof. Dr. Armin Bohnhoff.

The subsequent visit to the Vitronic company in Wiesbaden rounded off the day with exciting insights into the latest image processing systems and shows possibilities of how data can be captured and exchanged faster and more securely in a sustainable and transparent supply chain.

By the way, we also had a lot of fun! A snapshot from the visit of the Accenture campus. 

The programme was rounded off by a visit to the House of Logistics and Mobility in Frankfurt and guest lectures on the CargoTram and the ELISA overhead line project on the A5 from Contargo.

During a visit to Riese und Müller, the largest manufacturer of e-bikes in the region, the students were able to see for themselves how cargo bikes will shape the streetscape of tomorrow. At the beginning of the visit, the students were personally welcomed by the managing director Sandra Wolf over coffee and were able to get carried away by her version of future mobility. The subsequent tour through the production showed the high motivation and sustainability orientation of the employees everywhere.


At the end of the Winter School, the students presented their delivery concepts for the EnStadt:Pfaff residential quarter. "There were some really cool ideas and I like the spirit of how the students freely integrated new ideas across different trades," said Prof. Dr. Johanna Bucerius. In the end, all participants agreed - this was a great programme that demands to be continued!
We would like to thank all participating companies and organisations and look forward to further cooperation.

  • Accenture
  • AEP Solutions GmbH
  • Aurora Nutrio
  • Contargo
  • Dematic
  • Energy Robotics
  • DHL
  • e.Ray Europa
  • Fraunhofer Institute IESE
  • House of Logistics & Mobility
  • HUB31 Darmstadt
  • LAB³ Darmstadt
  • Riese&Müller
  • Vitronics