Sika contributed innovative products for the spectacular new ARENA2036 research building

At the end of March 2017, ARENA2036 - the largest and leading research platform for mobility in Germany - was handed over to the University of Stuttgart. ARENA is the abbreviation for Active Research Environment for the Next Generation of Automobiles, while the year 2036 stands for the 150th anniversary of the automobile. By this time, the public-private partnership project, funded by the European Regional Development Fund, intends to complete an ambitious research programme and establish itself as a pacesetter for the sustainable automotive construction of the next generations of vehicles.

The innovative research environment of the flexible factory for shaping the technology change is on the one hand concerned with functionally integrated products in lightweight designs. On the other hand, it is dedicated to the highly efficient and sustainable production of sustainable automotive technology. In the long term, the project is intended to consolidate Baden-Württemberg's leading position in the automotive industry.

In the meantime, 24 partners from science, research and business are participating in the large-scale project. In addition to the University of Stuttgart, these include the Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (German Aerospace Centre), several Fraunhofer Institutes as well as BASF, Bosch, Daimler, Festo and other companies. Sika Deutschland GmbH also contributed to the successful construction of the sophisticated research environment with construction chemical know-how as well as high-performance fire protection and floor coating products.

Needs-based factory architecture

From the outside, the research campus on the Pfaffenwaldring has the appearance of a sawtooth roof construction with a folded aluminum and plastic facade that surrounds a hall with a floor space of about 5,000 square metres, virtually without columns. An overhead crane track enables experimental setups in any place. For the changing research teams, there are also workshops, laboratory rooms and fully glazed offices on two floors on the north side.
The Munich office of the internationally operative architects HENN planned the visionary factory building. In the shaping of space and form, the decisive design attitude of the experienced planners relies on the processes, requirements and cultural contexts of the respective project. In their tender, HENN architects called for a solvent-free, extremely hard fire protection coating for the steel structure of the support structure.

Extremely tough fire protection specifications for steel columns

The general contractor Baresel GmbH focused on the high-quality execution of this system and commissioned Stahlbau Süssen GmbH with the execution. This specialist company has the best experience with the solvent-free EP fire protection coating Sika Unitherm Platinum and took care of the complete coating of the steel components for the ARENA2036. A Sika application technician instructed the execution team in a new airless device, which produces an optically attractive surface.

All steel beams in the new research building were already coated with the fire-retardant R30 Sika Unitherm Platinum coating in the factory. The two-component, epoxy resin-based fire protection coating was applied directly to the blasted steel and achieves corrosion protection class C3 without a primer and top coat. External tests by the manufacturer confirm a lifetime of the fire protection coating of at least 25 years with no special maintenance requirements.

SikaCor® PUR Color in traffic white was used as the top coat. The installation and bolting together of the structural supports in the hall took place in summer 2016. Due to the factory coating of the upper and outer flanges of the beams, other trades were not disturbed by spray mist and odours on the building site. In addition, prefabrication enabled a much faster construction process on site.

Dissipative floor coating

Due to the high demands of the changing test setups in the high-tech automotive sector, the floor surface of the factory hall required a robust and conductive coating. Here, too, the executing company ep cret GmbH from Aalen relied on a proven coating system from Sika. The entire hall floor was given an ESD four-stage coating. The standard primer Sikafloor-161 was used as a basis, followed by the environmentally friendly epoxy resin Sikafloor-220 Conductive as an aqueous conductive layer.

Subsequently, the coating Sikafloor-262 AS N was applied; the final water-based and light-fast top seal was carried out with Sikafloor-305 W ESD. The column spacing in the 130 metre-long and 46 metre-wide ARENA hall is more than 20 metres and is therefore exceptionally wide. The discharge points located on the steel columns usually cover a radius of 10 meters and ensure the required dissipation capability in this area. With the high-performance ESD seal Sikafloor-305 W ESD, however, the extremely large spans could be bridged without difficulty without compromising the electrostatic conductivity of the hall floor.

In addition, a classic coating with the primer Sikafloor-161 as well as the economical graduated coating and highly pigmented sealant Sikafloor-264 was used on a floor area of around 200 square metres in the adjacent technical rooms. The stairwells were sealed with the Sikafloor-2550 W epoxy resin, which is suitable for industrial floor coverings.

Sika fire protection and floor coating systems now provide a safe and comfortable working environment in the ARENA2036 and contribute to the functionality of the world's largest research factory.

Project data


06 /2015 – 06/2016 fire protection
10 – 12/2016 floor coating

University Building Authority Stuttgart Hohenheim

Fire protection: Stahlbau Süssen GmbH/Süßen
Floor coating: ep cret GmbH, Aalen