Dr. Simone Raatz (MdB) acquaints herself with collaborations between Fraunhofer and Universities of Applied Sciences
Lightweight Construction: Strategic collaboration between Fraunhofer IAP and TH Wildau
On July 15, 2016, Dr. Simone Raatz (MdB/SPD), Deputy Chair of the Committee for Education, Research, and Technology Assessment, visited the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP at its Wildau site. She acquainted herself with the research group and the research professorship being jointly established by the IAP research division for Polymeric Materials and Composites (PYCO) and the Technical University of Applied Sciences Wildau (TH Wildau). Their collaboration will focus on more efficient production methods for lightweight materials, their recycling, and repair, e.g. for aerospace, the automotive industry, and wind power facilities.
Lightweight construction is, along with Industry 4.0 and electromobility, one of the important future issues laid out in the German government’s coalition agreement. The Plastics and Chemistry Cluster of the federal state of Brandenburg has specifically emphasized this field to support the material and technology-neutral industrialization of lightweight construction concepts across all sectors. One of the core measures in lightweight construction/composite materials is establishing a competence center for energy- and resource-efficient lightweight construction in Wildau, under the leadership of IAP`s research division PYCO.
“The collaboration with the TH Wildau and with the local and regional industry will support the competence center for energy and resource efficient lightweight construction being planned by PYCO”, explains Prof. Alexander Böker, director of the Fraunhofer IAP. He welcomed Dr. Raatz to the Wildau site of the Fraunhofer IAP together with PYCO director Dr. Christian Dreyer and Prof. Michael Herzog, professor of Material Engineering/Material Analysis at the TH Wildau. “The competence center will become a kind of one-stop-shop for lightweight construction technologies. It will bundle the scientific potential in lightweight construction, act as a multiplier for the industry, and initiate joint research projects”, says Böker.
The new research group “Thermosets for Lightweight Construction”, under the provisional direction of Prof. Dr. Michael Herzog, will intensify collaboration between the TH Wildau and PYCO and have a synergizing effect by sharing complementary facilities as well as expertise. Activities will increasingly focus on more efficient production methods for lightweight construction material. The group will be established at the two PYCO plants neighboring the TH Wildau.
The three-member research group received its initial funding of 1 million euros from the Fraunhofer “Colleges Cooperation Program”. Established at the end of 2015, the group is supposed to be able to finance itself in line with the Fraunhofer model and thrive beyond its initial funding period. The appointment proceedings for a professor of “Fiber Composite Material Technology”, who will also serve as head of the research group “Thermosets for Lightweight Construction”, is currently underway.
“Fraunhofer application centers are extremely important to Germany as a hub of science. Partnerships like the one at Wildau distinguish us from other research systems. The model combines three essential elements: the Fraunhofer Institutes’ excellence in application development, the research expertise at universities of applied sciences, and networking with local industries. Our policy must increase its focus on exactly these kinds of projects, particularly to invigorate the innovative capabilities of our small and medium-sized enterprises”, says Dr. Raatz.