SCHOLPP was responsible for the relocation of the Günter Köhler Institute for Joining Technology and Materials Testing (ifw Jena). Among other things, this involved transporting testing equipment weighing several tons and sensitive laser machines.

Every relocation of an institute is different. No one knows this better than SCHOLPP, which has taken on countless exciting projects in this field throughout its history. Another was added in the fall of 2020: The Günter Köhler Institute for Joining Technology and Materials Testing in Jena moved from the city center to an industrial park slightly outside.

Although the old and the new site are less than six kilometers apart, the job was extremely demanding. “One challenge when working for institutes is always their unique machines and equipment. We usually have to find individual transport solutions for them,” explains Christian Pohlmann, who was one of the managers overseeing the project for SCHOLPP. “In the case of ifw Jena, there was also the fact that research activities were still taking place at the same time as the machines were being dismantled.” But SCHOLPP had already gained experience with specificities of this nature, including relocating the Fraunhofer Institute within Chemnitz.

Between 20 kilograms and eight metric tons

Before starting to draw up the relocation plan, SCHOLPP took stock of all the plant and machinery. The next step was for the managers to familiarize themselves with the location and the space available at the two sites. In the case of ifw Jena, this meant transporting testing equipment weighing several tons and sensitive laser machines as well as measuring tables, granite surface plates, 3D printers, microscopes, hardening furnaces and X-ray inspection equipment.

“From 20 kilograms to eight metric tons, or from small to large, you name it, this project had it all,” says Christian Pohlmann, summarizing the scope of the task. In addition, the entire furnishings of the institute totaling a loading volume of approximately 1,800 cubic meters had to be transported. SCHOLPP acted as the general contractor for the installation, dismantling and transport of the machines and commissioned a removal company for all the office equipment such as cabinets, tables and document files.

After just under a year, SCHOLPP had finally completed the plan for the move. Here, it was not only the communication with ifw Jena that was important, but also liaising with the responsible trades and the manufacturers of the machines and plant. “We rely on the support of external service providers for this,” emphasizes Christian Pohlmann. For example, if a machine is not yet ready for transport or if media or utility connections are missing at the new location, this can lead to time delays.

“With a pragmatic mindset and a strategic approach, that’s exactly what we want to avoid,” says Pohlmann. The fact that the dismantling of the machinery and equipment at the old site had to begin at a time when research activities in the field of manufacturing and materials technology were still in their final stages made it much more difficult to determine the ideal sequence of operations.

Relocation within Jena

For each move, SCHOLPP provides tools and standard lifting and heavy-duty equipment that is permanently ready for use on site. In this case, this included two assembly containers, lifting cushions, forklifts with a lifting capacity of up to twelve metric tons, a 60-metric-ton truck-mounted crane and a jumbo truck for transporting machinery. The dismantling of sensitive machines also required the use of cleanroom equipment. Two assembly supervisors, four mechanics, two electricians and eight carpenters were on site at all times. To ensure safe transport, SCHOLPP used custom-built machine transport and set-down trestles. “We develop special solutions for many assignments,” explains Pohlmann.

The dismantling of a system at the old location and its assembly at the new location usually take place on the same day or at the latest on the following day. This is particularly important for plant and machines for which special technology is required. “Special forklifts or air cushions are only ever available for a certain time, as this equipment is cost-intensive, and so idle or waiting times would be charged to the customer – something we want to avoid as far as possible,” emphasizes Christian Pohlmann, adding: “That’s why we consult the manufacturers beforehand as to when the plant has to be ready for transport at the latest.” As the move took place during ongoing operations, the SCHOLPP team coordinated with the customer on a daily basis.

The highlight of the project: USP + 5

The absolute highlight was moving in the ultrashort pulse laser system on the second floor at a height of more than five meters. A forklift spectacularly hoisted the 5.5 metric tons up and successfully maneuvered the highly sensitive equipment to its destination. “Since this is anything but a standard height and in order to limit possible risks, we carried out a successful test lift in advance,” says Christian Pohlmann, who was satisfied with how this move went. “When theory and practice tally, everything’s terrific. On the other hand, if minor complications arise, you have to react calmly based on the situation.”

In the ifw Jena move, however, everything went smoothly, and the move was successfully completed on time.