Hamburg universities join forces for the city where you can make (almost) everything yourself: Large cities that are completely self-sufficient as part of a circular economy - Kühne Logistics University (KLU) is researching this vision as a new project partner of Helmut Schmidt University/University of the Federal Armed Forces Hamburg (HSU) in the “Fab City” project, along with other Hamburg organizations. In several open workshops across the city (so-called open labs), practical tests are being carried out to see what urban, decentralized value creation can look like. In its subproject, KLU is investigating how this affects logistics and supply chains.
KLU President Prof. Dr. Thomas Strothotte states, “A city that produces more by itself than is typically done today will lead to fundamental changes in supply chains and in logistics. We want to meet this challenge.” In the supply chain and operations management subproject, KLU is investigating how more local production affects operational processes and supply chains.
"Helmut Schmidt University has set itself the goal of collaborating with the other universities within the Hamburg science community in its areas of focus. The “Fab City” project is particularly noteworthy because, although the products will never be as cheap as mass production, much more flexible solutions can be realized with a fraction of the logistical effort,” explains Prof. Dr. Klaus Beckmann, President of HSU.
Hamburg-wide Cooperation Led by HSU
The research project “Fab City” started this year and will receive 8.9 million euros in funding from the Center for Digitization and Technology Research of the Bundeswehr (dtec.bw). Until 2024, the project will be implemented under the leadership of HSU with various stakeholders from the public and private sectors as well as several research partners.
“In the ‘Fab City Hamburg’ living lab, scientists from different disciplines are working together on issues in the field of decentralized and local production” explains HSU project manager Dr.-Ing. Tobias Redlich from the Manufacturing Technology Laboratory. “There is a particular focus placed on 3D printing and the circular economy, the impact these have on value creation, and new value creation potential in urban areas. We are very much looking forward to the collaboration, from which we hope to gain extensive scientific insights.”
Prof. Kai Hoberg, head of the subproject at KLU, adds that, "it's intriguing to understand where local production could be promising as part of regional supply chains."
Plans include so-called open labs with manufacturing machines such as 3-D printers or computer-controlled milling machines. These are freely accessible to individuals and companies. In addition, all technologies are open source, meaning they can be modified, replicated, or sold as desired.
In addition to KLU, several other Hamburg-based institutions and organizations are involved, including HafenCity University, Hamburg University of Technology, Hamburg Port Authority and Bucerius Law School. Furthermore, a number of Hamburg companies are also involved as project partners.