It hisses, rattles and vibrates

The world’s unique “Erlebnispark Fördertechnik” (Amusement Park for Conveyor Technology) in Sinsheim exhibits ordinary aspects of motion – with extraordinary technology.

At the push of a button, the 20 metre long letter sorting machine begins to rattle. As if by magic, letters and packages arrive at the corresponding drawers, carried by hundreds of reels and guided by rails, and they are accurately sorted for distribution to the relevant addressees. The world’s unique “Erlebnispark Fördertechnik” (Amusement Park for Conveyor Technology) in Sinsheim exhibits ordinary aspects of motion – with extraordinary technology. “Many tasks of everyday life would not be feasible without innovative conveyor technology,” says Norbert Axmann, who founded the museum that opened in 2013.

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Unmissable: the “Erlebnispark Fördertechnik“ – in close proximity to the “Technikmuseum Sinsheim”.

Axmann knows that many jobs could not be carried out without hydraulic systems or without made-to-measure mechanisms that enable conveyor belts to wind their ways along ingeniously. Neither could our luggage be transported to the carousels at the airports, nor could our cars be hoisted for repairs. Conveyor technology is, therefore, his favourite field of interest. And his passion. So one day, the 74-year-old engineer and entrepreneur decided to bring an amusement park on conveyor technology into being – the “Erlebnispark Fördertechnik”.

A visit to the exhibition in Sinsheim makes you very aware of the power and the complex technologies that people can develop when they want to move things from A to B or carry loads up and down.

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Norbert Axmann conceptualised his amusement park first of all for children and adolescents – but he knows: Adults start to play here, too.

One of a total of around one hundred astonishing exhibits is the letter sorting machine that sits enthroned in the 1,700 square metre museum like a steel dinosaur. The exhibition also includes a colliery railway that used to run underground as well as hydraulic lifts, a traditional pulley, or a picturesque cable car cabin that was once dragged across a river.

 

“Who knows quite how these machines function today, and where can you experience such a machine from close up,” Norbert Axmann had wondered. Born in Essen in the Ruhr region, he has been living near Sinsheim for decades. As an inventor and a developer he has filed over a hundred patent applications in the field of conveyor technology – he runs the “Axmann Technology AG – Innovation in Automation” company in Zuzenhausen together with a partner.

“Thus spoke Zarathustra“ – shot up into the air out of pneumatic cannons.

Today, he exhibits a broad variety of most diverse conveyors right next to the “Technikmuseum”, the Sinsheim Museum of Technology. Many exhibits were donated by companies, but you can also discover pieces that were uniquely made for the museum. Such as the volleyball game that shoots balls out of pneumatic cannons up into the air, a perfect spectacle being accompanied by Richard Strauss’ sounds of “Also sprach Zarathustra” (Thus Spoke Zarathustra). This museum creator has a sense of humour as well as fun anyhow. He is particularly happy about school children visiting the exhibition and being infected by his contagious enthusiasm about how things are moved.

Axmann, who is a passionate cyclist and hiker, pushes another button and a little cylindrical container is immediately shot into a complex transparent tube system by means of compressed air – the traditional pneumatic dispatch system. The colourful, varied exhibition calls the “Sendung mit der Maus” (The Show with the Mouse) to mind. Both the legendary German television series and the very exhibition are aimed at arousing curiosity and enthusiasm for keen ideas and constructions through illustrative examples.

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More than 100 astonishing exhibits – in an astonishing museum.

Nobert Axmann experiences everyday life motion very consciously – people, goods, and ideas swing in the rhythm of the region. The father of a family is still fascinated by the economic vibrancy and the beauty of the Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan Region and he has come to understand the mentality of the people here as well. Unlike in the Ruhr region, here you cannot always expect to be talked to or even invited spontaneously and without a particular reason. Unless you discover what people get excited about, he finds. According to his experiences, football is one of these topics in Sinsheim. “When I start talking about the Hoffenheim club in a bar, I will immediately be talked to,” Axmann says with a smile.

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The exhibition in Sinsheim is no retrospective navel-gazing. It conveys the spirit of research and invention. Norbert Axmann considers the park as an offer especially directed towards children and adolescents. “Nowadays, young people are less interested in natural sciences,” the entrepreneur regrets. He hopes that even more visitors will come to his museum. In the first year, he had 1,500 visitors, in 2015 the number had already gone up to 6,000 people marvelling at the human imaginativeness displayed here.

Axmann funds a position for a co-worker at Karlsruhe University of Education in his “Erlebnispark Fördertechnik”, because imparting knowledge at so-called “extracurricular places of learning” becomes increasingly important. In cooperation with students of teacher training pedagogical concepts are developed that aim at activating pupils’ interest. Samuel Kreis is a lecturer at the university and he develops these ideas with his students. “It is wonderful that we can use the exhibition for the development of our concepts,” the 30-year-old lecturer tells us.

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Norbert Axmann has always found it unfortunate when companies scrapped their conveyors after many years of usage that had once been ingeniously constructed. “Particularly as a lot of them still work just fine,” the passionate inventor thought. So in 2004, he began to collect old and new exhibits and his various connections were a good help.

Through the museum, the committed entrepreneur has erected a worthy monument to conveyor technology. In immediate vicinity of the Sinsheim Museum of Technology, the Amusement Park now has a new museum, which children and adults or technology fans equally love – down to the nature of technology. It hisses, rattles, and vibrates when the machines run. “Who wouldn’t love that,” Norbert Axmann asks.


http://erlebnispark-fördertechnik.de