ZÜBLIN Timber wins 2022 Innovation Prize from Bavarian Construction Industry Association

Thomas Wieland, project manager at ZÜBLIN Timber, accepted the 2022 Innovation Award from Josef Geiger, president of BBIV, at the Entrepreneur Day in Wörth am Main. Copyright: BBIV, Daniel Schwaiger
The free-form formwork from ZÜBLIN Timber enables the shaping of concrete elements featuring a particularly high level of aesthetics and material efficiency. Copyright: Achim Birnbaum Architektur Fotografie
The individual LENO® cross-laminated timber components were designed parametrically at the Aichach factory and milled using industrial robots modified in house. Copyright: ZÜBLIN Timber, Sandra Sitzmann

ZÜBLIN Timber was awarded second place in this year’s Innovation Prize awarded by the Bavarian Construction Industry Association (BBIV) for its elaborate special formwork at Stuttgart’s new main railway station. Project manager Thomas Wieland accepted the €5,000 prize on behalf of the company on 27 April in Wörth am Main.

The panel of judges, with representatives from the construction industry, the academic world and the Bavarian government, assessed the submissions according to criteria such as innovative value, added value for the construction industry and society, economic scalability and sustainability potential. Due to the many outstanding submissions, second and third place were each awarded twice this year.

The 28 chalice-shaped pillars at Stuttgart’s railway station are a structural innovation on several levels. In addition to their fundamentally complex geometry, the imposing columns vary in shape, inclination and length and may be subject to only minimal deformations despite temperature fluctuations. To master these challenges, the ZÜBLIN Timber project team employs almost exclusively newly developed production processes. The approximately 500 three-dimensional LENO® cross-laminated timber components were designed parametrically at the company’s Aichach factory and milled using industrial robots modified in house before being coated. Quality assurance is carried out with the help of a 3D laser scanner and through integration in a BIM 5D® environment offering a closed data workflow.

On the construction site, the finished components are used up to 20 times in varying combinations, which significantly reduces the amount of material required. The resulting columns are up to 13 m high and consist of up to 58 individual parts. The use of robotics as well as the special manufacturing process enable the production of particularly large formwork elements that can be quickly assembled for a precise fit. The level of precision and shaping is unprecedented for components of this size.

ZÜBLIN Timber’s engineering know-how and modern design methods help to create high-performance and extremely precise timber formwork elements that open up completely new possibilities in architectural design. This makes it possible to produce supporting structures and especially slender shell structures such as the new hall of Stuttgart’s main railway station in a very material-efficient and resource-saving manner. The system is also interesting in infrastructure construction, for example in hydroelectric power plants, which can be built in accordance with fluidic aspects without having to take into account the constraints of conventional formwork systems.