Member of
Society of Advancement for Fluid Power Technology Inc. HP

Institut für fluidtechnische Antriebe und Steuerungen der RWTH Aachen

Steinbachstraße 53
D-52074 Aachen

Telefon: +49 241 / 80 275 12
Telefax: +49 241 / 80 221 94


May 9th 2016
Update regarding the fire damage - Reopening of lab hall 2
At the beginning of this week the IFAS and its employees celebrated the reopening of the smaller lab hall 2 much sooner than expected. Hence, research activities are possible in hall 2 .
This also includes the opening of our library and the conference room.

April 6th 2016
Update regarding the fire damage - Removal of ventilation system underway / Infrastructure partly operational
One part of the ventilation system, emerging over the destroyed area of our neighboring institute WZL, has been removed. The remaining part, situated above the IFAS laboratory roof, is expected to be removed by mid-April. The necessary preliminary work is already underway.
The majority of the debris in the area surrounding the completely destroyed WZL laboratory has also been removed. Parts of the IFAS laboratory infrastructure are once again operational. Plans to restore the electrical supply and distribution are being discussed. These steps will however take some time. The recommissioning of the pneumatic pressure supply network, the water supply and radiators is nearly finished. The central cooling water supply for test rigs and hydraulic units will follow shortly.
The cleaning of the laboratory and the measuring equipment is mostly finalized. The re-installment of the measuring equipment, which was cleaned in a separate location, is underway. The largest part of the laboratory is therefore awaiting final inspection of the cleaning work. This will take place after the outstanding greater clean-up operations in the vicinity of the laboratory are completed.

Mar. 10th 2016
Update regarding the fire damage - Cleaning efforts are in progress
Due to the fast cleaning process of the building and the inventory, IFAS hall 1 is completely decontaminated. In combination with isolation interventions in compliance with the chemist, the area is categorized as hazard class 0. The current cleaning process is focused on switchboards, test boxes and the test rigs situated within as well as rooms located within the lab. First steps regarding the restart of the infrastructure are also in progress. Since beginning of the week heavy machinery is used for the cleanup efforts of the destroyed neighbouring institute hall of the WZL.

Feb. 25th 2016
Update regarding the fire damage - Status of the decontamination process
Parallel to the ongoing decontamination of the inventory, the "Bau- und Liegenschaftsbetrieb NRW" also assigned the decontamination of the building itself. This process has begun and is being carried out by the company BELFOR. The machine decontamination process in our main lab is almost completed. An on-site inspection by a planning office for the infrastructure's recommissioning promises a quick return to normal operation in our lab - first on a limited level, reaching full operation step by step.

Feb. 18th 2016
Update regarding the fire damage - Approval of the structural engineers was issued
Meanwhile all effected laboratory rooms of IFAS were examined and approved for entering by the structural engineers. Exempted for now is the anechoic room which is partly located in the fire damaged area of WZL machine tool laboratory. Here we need to wait for the clearance of fire damaged parts and materials before the access becomes possible. Thanks to the approval of the structural engineers the damage to the central infrastructure can be analyzed and the necessary steps for its recovery will be taken accordingly.

Feb. 15th 2016
Update regarding the fire damage - pictures
Cleaning work is in progress.

Feb. 11th 2016
Update regarding the fire damage
The structural clearance of our laboratory was partly issued, so that the building can be entered. Thus, the cleaning and the chemical neutralization of the lab was started by the company BELFOR DeHaDe GmbH, which was appointed by the insurer and the RWTH University. A preliminary categorization of the main lab has been set to hazard class 1 until completion of the chemical analysis.
The attached test chambers, the labs and offices on the first floor have partially been categorized as hazard class 2 and are not yet cleared in structural regard. For the second lab building, which is less affected, the chemical analysis is still pending as well. Luckily, the basement could be kept dry during firefighting operations. The structural clearance of all other labs is pending and the stepwise reactivation of the infrastructure needs to be carried out.

Feb. 2nd 2016
Message to our friends, supporters, customers, sponsors and associations regarding the fire in the neighbouring building on February 4th, 2016
July 27th 2016
Wolfgang Backé passed away († July 21st 2016)
Shortly before entering his 88th year of life he died caused by a severe illness

On the 21st of July 2016 fluid power lost an outstanding researcher and advocate of hydraulics and pneumatics with the death of em. Univ. Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr. h. c. mult. Wolfgang Backé. Wholeheartedly his life belonged to the development of fluid power. The decision was made early on by him studying mechanical engineering at RWTH Aachen University choosing the study direction of production engineering. He deepened the subject in fluid power research and got promoted to Dr.-Ing. in 1959 at the machine tool laboratory WZL under the direction of Prof. Opitz. Building upon this he further qualified by a habilitation towards the subject of flow forces in valves in the year 1962.

After a time as Chief Engineer at WZL, a following industrial career as head of the development department of the company Rheinstahl Wagner and teaching obligations by his Venia Legendi for the subject “Ölhydraulische Steuerungen und Antriebe“ in Aachen, Wolfgang Backé , born on July 25th in 1929, accepted the offer to take over the newly created chair “Lehrstuhl für hydraulische und pneumatische Antriebe und Steuerungen“ (IHP) and the directorship for the Institute carrying the same name, todays IFAS. He was head of the Institute till his official retirement in 1994 and led it to the biggest and most renowned institution in the field of fluid power with national and international recognition and an outstanding worldwide reputation.

Wolfgang Backé was scientist and researcher with full believe and thereby devoted to fluid power like nobody else. With his creative power he transformed fluid power in Germany, Europe and overseas. In academia as well as in the industrial sector he helped this process by manifold consulting and his directorships in company boards leading to the success story we know. Early on he forged unique networks, which are still used by the following generations of researchers in our field. For me it is important to emphasize that these networks also stretched into the social environment and actively included the partners. This way many conference, business and cultural travels were backed by the families. They were part of it, involved in the preparation and unofficially the group was called the “Fluid Power Gang“.

He passed on his knowledge by teaching students and conducting as well as supervising research and development projects with the upcoming engineering generations. Even after being retired he still actively participated in the scientific live and kept publishing papers and books.

He supervised 124 doctoral candidates and guided them to graduation, thereby starting their subsequent industrial careers. Many former students and scientific researcher are employed in notable positions in the fluid power industry. Some returned to Universities and Universities of Applied Sciences to pass on the knowledge to young academics they themselves learned through him. Some examples are Prof. Young-Xiang Lu, who was President of the Zhejiang University in Hangzhou and Prof. Chung-O. Lee, who for a long time was Minister of Research and Technology in South Korea.

Manifold contacts and partnerships with other institutes in the field of fluid power in America, Asia, Australia and Europe give evidence of his worldwide recognition in the industry. Within RWTH Aachen University his interdisciplinary research was backed by collaborative research centers where he participated and took over leadership functions. This work was complemented by common research projects initiated and guided by the Engineering Federation Fluid Power within VDMA in Frankfurt. These projects covered fluid power in industrial and mobile hydraulic applications, handling and automation technology, as well as biomedicine. In addition to these commitments in his subject, he also participated in the academic self-administration of the University. In that regard he was Dean of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering in 1974 and 1975. Without exaggeration it can be stated that based on his research and teaching focal points, as well as his involvement in the in appointments for Institute leaderships , his research, development and teaching activities, todays fluid power in Germany has achieved a highly recognized technical stand.

Together with high ranked industrial representatives he founded the society for the advancement of fluid power (Fördervereinigung Fluidtechnik, e.V., Aachen) to promote, e.g., infrastructural projects, conduct national and international conferences and support teaching. This way he was able to found the biannually organized international fluid power conference. It started in 1974 as 1. AFK and continues today with the IFK, alternating between the cities of Aachen and Dresden.

Next to a lot of academic honors, he was awarded three honorary doctor degrees and two honorary professorships. He obtained the highly ranked German Federal Cross of Meritin 1988 (“Verdienstkreuz am Bande des Verdienstordens der Bundesrepublik Deutschland“) and in 1997 (“Bundesverdienstkreuz 1. Klasse der Bundesrepublik Deutschland“).

With his death the Institute - and with it the “Fördervereinigung Fluidtechnik“ - loses his highly regarded scientist, researcher and teacher, as well as its founding member.

Our deep sympathy is with his wife, Ms. Rosi Seiz-Backé, and his Family. We will always keep our mentor in highest regard and in honorable memory.

Aachen, July 2016
Hubertus Murrenhoff

Welcome to the Institute for Fluid Power Drives and Controls at RWTH Aachen University.

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Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. H. Murrenhoff