Lightweight construction is considered a cross-sectional technology due to its versatile fields of application. In order for lightweight solutions from different perspectives to be brought together and further developed, a holistic and interdisciplinary approach is required. To enable innovative projects in this field, the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK) supports companies and research institutions with the Technology Transfer Program Lightweight Construction (TTP LB).
ProduktionNRW organized a virtual exchange of experiences on March 31, 2023 to present the opportunities and framework conditions of TTP LB to the mechanical and plant engineering industry from NRW. With Digital Design 4 Recycling (DiDe4Rec), a VDMA project was also presented that successfully uses the TTP LB.
Presentation of the Lightweight Technology Transfer Program
Dámaso López Ruiz, project manager of the VDMA Hybrid Lightweight Technologies Working Group, first addressed the topic of lightweight construction from the VDMA’s perspective. According to this, lightweight construction represents one of the decisive future and key technologies and thus has the potential to make a significant contribution to the implementation of its own climate protection measures for numerous industries. In terms of design philosophy, lightweight construction aims to reduce the weight of components while at the same time making them more resilient, functionally optimized and durable. This approach allows materials to be saved and greenhouse gas emissions to be reduced, resulting in improved resource efficiency.
The most important goal of the TTP LB is to bring research results into commercial application. And this is where the mechanical and plant engineering sector, with its wide-ranging expertise, can come in, looking at the various facets from raw material to finished product, as well as the latest manufacturing technologies and diverse applications for lightweight construction technologies, and providing new impetus in this area.
Both individual and collaborative projects can be submitted for funding. No specific requirements are placed on collaborative projects, but participation by small and medium-sized enterprises is desired. Funding is available to commercial companies with a permanent establishment or branch office, universities and research institutions, and non-profit organizations, all of which are based in Germany. The planned funding will be increased from the previous 73 million euros per year from 2020 to 2022 to 129 million euros per year (from 2024). The additional funding is intended to make the lightweight construction funding program even more attractive and to drive the cross-industry and cross-materials transfer of knowledge and technology in an even more targeted manner.
Project presentation DiDe4Rec
As an industry-related research institute, ITA Augsburg focuses on composite recycling, digitization and textile recycling.Mesut Cetin, managing director, and Matthias Froning, research associate, of ITA Augsburg presented the idea generation process for DiDe4Rec.
The DiDe4Rec project idea emerged during a scenario workshop at the VDMA Arbeitsgemeinschaft Hybride Leichtbau Technologien. The aim of DiDe4Rec is to develop and validate a holistic development approach for recyclable lightweight products based on fiber-reinforced polymers. For this purpose, the knowledge and digital provision of material properties as well as process and environmental influences during material separation, preparation and reprocessing as well as during the application of the products are a core aspect. Within the scope of the project, the approach will be developed and validated using thermoplastic and hybrid molding lightweight products as examples. The project has a total budget of around four million euros and is scheduled to run for three years until 2025.
The event was offered by ProduktionNRW. ProduktionNRW is the cluster of mechanical engineering and production technology in North Rhine-Westphalia and is organized by VDMA NRW. ProduktionNRW sees itself as a platform to connect, inform and market companies, institutions and networks among each other and along the value chain. Significant parts of the services provided by ProduktionNRW are funded by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Industry, Climate Protection and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia.