SCM Group equipment is used World-wide for an incredible variety of unique purposes. Applications that you would not consider possible for a wood working machine are merely a challenge to be overcome by SCM Group technical experts. One such challenge was the acoustic ceiling of the Hamburg Philharmonic Hall.

Hamburg’s new landmark rises on the foundations of the former quayside warehouse on the Elbe: the Elbphilharmonie is one of the ten most spectacular concert halls in the world. The architecture, both inside and outside is unique, the musical enjoyment indescribable. The main reason for this is the unique, overwhelming acoustics in the Grand Hall, in this case it’s the ‘white skin,’ an interior panelling with unique characteristics created with SCM Group CNC Routing machines.

Architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron from the renowned architectural practice Herzog & de Meuron, Basel/Switzerland, have fine-tuned the architecture to obtain the perfect sound. In collaboration with the world-famous Japanese acoustician Yasuhisa Toyota, the sound of the music is purposefully scattered into every corner of the concert hall, a result of the perfect interplay of spatial geometry, materials and surface structure.

Grandiose results are achieved when experts in their respective fields work together.  The unique interior cladding, the so-called ‘white skin’ made from the premium material GIFAtec®, was developed by means of elaborate 3D-calculations and tests. It is an extremely solid and non-flammable material with a high level of white. In total 10,287 parts form the white skin that covers about six thousand square metres of ceiling and walls. These were created by the Hasenkopf industrial factory of Mehring, a specialist supplier with many years of experience in 3D-machining, with three SCM Group Routech Chronos five-axes CNC machining centres. The machines worked for a total of 2,550 days over two shifts and the project was completed over a seven-year period.

Hasenkopf purchased the three SCM Routech CNC machining centres especially for this project. The five controlled axes were a determining factor in this choice. As well as the extreme stability of the gantry type structure and the wide work areas enclosed in a limited space. Without forgetting the excellent accessibility, which was particularly useful during loading. This allowed for a maximised feed speed with minimum tolerances: an essential requirement for the effectiveness of this extraordinary interior panelling.

Program macros were created to machine both sides of the glued plaster fibre panels. The routing depth of the surface structure consisting of almost 1,000,000 irregular cavities, ranged from 5mm to 90mm. 30,520 CNC programs with 352,000,000 characters were needed for the almost 1.5 million linear metres of routing. The 3D CAD data was converted into machinable CNC programmes in the production planning process for the SCM CNC routers at Hasenkopf. Over 1,000 diamond cutters were used in 5,000 sharpening cycles. Another particularly demanding aspect was the extremely high density of the concrete reinforced with plaster fibre, with a maximum thickness of the panels being machined of 180mm. No panel is identical, and no honeycomb structure is repeated.

Each individual component of the acoustic ceiling was numbered and catalogued in the CAD planning process. As the individual components were only put together and installed by Peuckert GmbH on the steel substructure on-site in Hamburg, all the unique pieces had to be produced, sorted and packaged precisely to plan. The individual work phases were documented and controlled with utmost precision by Hasenkopf in order to produce specific quality reports. There were less than 20 individual faulty parts in a machining process that included over 10,000 complex parts with different surface structures, an incredible achievement due to the performance of the SCM CAD software and the Routech CNC machinery.