Flower power timber robots: How robots can revolutionize architecture and timber industry

My name is Hans Jakob Wagner. I work at the University of Stuttgart at the Institute for Computational Design & Construction. Our main research focus is on how new technologies can be used in timber construction. We try to integrate robotic manufacturing into architecture and construction work. and to develop completely new construction systems and material systems. My name is Matthias Buck. I work at BEC GmbH and I’m the Managing Director there. We build robot systems and integrate robots into systems that are very complex. We have been partners with the University of Stuttgart and ICD for many years. In 2014, we made the Landesgartenschau Exhibition Hall in the town of Schwäbisch Gmünd. That was also a segmented wooden bowl and it was very well received. Then we started the next project, this time for the Bundesgartenschau horticulture show. The bowl is built from individual segments. These are all unique pieces, adapted to their respective position in the shell. That in turn has a connection with Industrie 4.0 because in our case each segment is tailor-made for the respective situation. The robots take plates and beam components, stick them together, nail them together and trim them at the ends. There is also a milling process that allows all modules to be screwed together. In principle, the big challenge is that each of the components is indivudually manufactured. The robot is necessary on the one hand for milling, where we have to be very precise. The segments will finally be with a dimensional tolerance of less than 0.3 millimetres. Furthermore, gluing and applying the segments is much easier in automated production. Especially since the segments have a weight of up to 200 kilograms, which would simply be too heavy to lift with a human hand. In my view, the strengths of KUKA products are the openness of the controller and the interfaces that are offered. Here, for example, we have the option of manipulating in real-time, which makes it possible to be able to manufacture individually. The challenge in the project was to develop and design an automated manufacturing platform that could produce these segments reliably and economically. In principle, we would like to learn from the project how the construction industry thinks, how the timber construction industry thinks and draw conclusions in order to be prepared for future applications in this area. We believe that the construction industry and timber construction industry are not very automated yet, but offer a high level of automation potential, and with such outstanding projects like this one, we want to unlock future potential.


  1. die Menschen sprechen im Video meistens deutsch, kann dies aber nicht hören :-/
    weil englisch drüber gelegt wird .
    steht doch mal bitte zu der deutschen Sprache 😀

    ein zweit Video in englisch könnt die dann immer noch hochladen
    denn ich verstehe so nur jedes 3 Wort

  2. Immer der gleiche falsche Ansatz:
    Einfachste Arbeiten wie auflegen, abschrauben, festnageln sollen von einem hochkomplexen Robotersystem das nur mit top ausgebildeten Ingenieuren bedient werden kann übernommen werden.
    Macht doch endlich mal was sinnvolles mit den Dingern!
    Revolutionieren wird das gar nichts, nur Geld verbrennen.
    kopfschüttellnde Grüße

  3. Can you imagine if that thing could build modular house parts within minutes instead of days?..


    This thing is a gamer changer!.

  4. Deutsches Video, deutscher Titel und dann alles kaputt gemacht durch die Übersetzung.
    Scheiß auf die Gobalisierung. KUKA = kein Patriotismus…

  5. In den USA sind die meisten Häuser aus Holz und nicht aus Stein, und die sind unglaublich teuer. Es gibt viel zu wenig Arbeiter. Sowas würde hier in der Staaten sich gut gelingen.

  6. All those unemloyed construction workers would be glad to buy this stuff. I hope somebody already inventing robot with AI ,so this engenier will loose his job before i will loose mine.

  7. einfach toll!

    i didn't know you had arms with such high payloads. they're amazing! i love the possibilities this precise digital fabrication opens, like that beautiful and unique pavilion you built in the video. as you say, building a structure like that by hand would be incredibly difficult and time consuming.

    i would say that there are mechanically simpler and easier ways to automate these tasks with tailor made solutions, but the fact that your robotic arms can be used for an endless variety of things is amazing. i would SOOOOOO love to work with these incredible machines!

  8. Hey Kuka, can you guys focus on decreasing costs (while not sacrificing quality or maintainability) so I can have like 5-10 in my house, thanks. Also you guys are missing out on a HUGE opportunity by not open sourcing your software, you could have hundreds of contributors helping write code.
    PS: Next time just use subtitles.

  9. Die Roboter sind aber nicht gut programmiert.
    Haltpunkte, unnötige Zwischenpunkte, ungleichförmige Bewegungen.
    Wurde da nach VW-Standard programmiert?
    Das geht wesentlich besser.

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