Beacon of industrial research – Fraunhofer PAZ celebrates 10th anniversary
Schkopau/ValuePark®. In a ceremony marking its tenth anniversary, politics and business have recognized the Fraunhofer Pilot Plant Center PAZ as an East German success story. Since 2005, the joint institution of the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP in Potsdam-Golm and for Mechanics of Materials IWM in Halle has developed into a unique European research institution in the field of polymer synthesis and polymer processing on an industrial scale.
On the occasion of its anniversary celebration, the Fraunhofer Pilot Plant Center for Polymer Synthesis and Processing PAZ in Schkopau ValuePark® was congratulated among others by Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka, Minister of Education and Research, Dr. Reiner Haseloff, Prime Minister of Saxony-Anhalt, and Prof. Dr. Ing. Dr. Sabine Kunst, Minister of Science, Research and Culture of Brandenburg. More than 140 guests from politics, industry and research participated in the event.
Federal Minister Wanka praised the Fraunhofer PAZ as an institution of which all involved can be very proud: "When you see the list of industrial enterprises from the region or from further afield, that are working together with the pilot plant center, then is quite clear that it is an essential facility. This shows the worth of strategic investments and how useful they are. "
Haseloff praised the successful development of PAZ in his speech: "The Fraunhofer PAZ is one of the beacons of industry research in the new lands. In research centers like this, the future of our country is co-designed. We have built a powerful business-related research infrastructure in Saxony-Anhalt. Such conditions strengthen our investment location. "
Scientists at the Fraunhofer PAZ conduct applied research for regional, national and international industrial customers. In pilot scale, they design, for example, synthetic rubber for vehicle tires of the latest generation, lightweight components for the auto industry or energy-efficient processes for the plastics industry. Unique in Europe, it has the ability to develop synthesis methods and polymer processing from the laboratory scale to the production stage and their optimization.
Ten years ago, 13 employees worked in the PAZ, which was opened on June 22, 2005. Today the workforce has almost three times as many employees. In the coming years it is expected to grow by another 18 employees. Prof. Dr. Michael Bartke, director of the Fraunhofer PAZ, confirms the growth targets of the facility: "With our technical equipment and the bundling of competences of two Fraunhofer Institutes, we have a unique selling proposition in the research and development market. To address future issues such as tailor-made polymers from renewable raw materials, energy-efficient methods and lightweight construction, we want to further involve regional and regionally operating companies by equipping them with advanced technology and ensuring mutually sustainable economic success. "
Under the "Regional Innovation Strategy" of the state government of Saxony-Anhalt, the plant will be further expanded until 2018. Funds for the construction and expansion apparatus in the amount of 15 million euros have been requested from the European Regional Development Fund ERDF. "This amount is an indication that the importance of research and development has been recognized," says Wanka.
Photo: Prof. Bartke (right), Director of the Fraunhofer PAZ, leading a tour through the synthesis plant of the Pilot Plant Center. © Fraunhofer IWM, photo: Markus Scholz
(from left.: Prof. Dr. Alfred Gossner – Board Member Fraunhofer-Corporation | Dr. Reiner Haseloff – Prime minister Saxony-Anhalt | Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka - Federal Minister for Education and Research| Frank Bannert - Councilmember of the Saale region | Prof. Dr. Ralf B. Wehrspohn - Leader Fraunhofer IWM | Prof. Dr. Alexander Böker - Leader Fraunhofer IAP | Prof. Dr.-Ing. Michael Bartke - Leader Fraunhofer PAZ)
About the Fraunhofer PAZ
Since 2005 the Fraunhofer Pilot Plant Center for Polymer Synthesis and Processing PAZ in Schkopau has been developing new polymer products and innovative technologies along the entire value chain - from monomer to polymer synthesis and polymer processing in the pilot scale up to proven components built to specifications. In this combination and magnitude, the Fraunhofer PAZ is unique in Europe. On assignment by customers such as from the plastics and automotive industries, various polymer synthesis and processing methods are tailored and then implemented to the semi-industrial scale in a pilot plant and laboratory space currently measuring around 1,700 square meters. This includes the use of lightweight and bio-based materials that can replace petroleum-based polymers.
The Fraunhofer PAZ is a joint initiative of the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP in Potsdam-Golm and for Mechanics of Materials IWM in Halle. Under the direction of Prof. Michael Bartke (IAP), both institutions are pooling their expertise in polymer synthesis (IAP) and Polymer Processing (IWM) in a unique way. This collaboration, the technical possibilities on a pilot scale and the high flexibility of the systems, are unique features in the R&D market.