AACHEN, GERMANY — RWTH Aachen University has officially launched the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL), which will focus on developing lightweight components.
The research will cover production from carbon- and glass fibers, textile preforming, high-volume capable plastics processing, automation, machining and testing to applications ranging from oil, water, gas, infrastructure, buildings and automotive.
One of the center's first projects is a "strategic market and technology study", beginning this month, which will focus on new applications for lightweight materials and look at applications, components, distribution channels, number of pieces, economic potential, requirements for materials and process chains in 5 major market segments.
Spokesman Kai Fischer says: "The unique aspect of this study is that new markets for composites are being identified which are not yet accessible for these materials. The study therefore provides an ideal basis for the development of new strategic business areas for the participating companies all along the value chain. "
The project, which comes under the framework of the Excellence Initiative of the German Government, has 33 founding partners:
"From materials suppliers over molder, manufacturing suppliers, tier 1 and tier 2 to OEMs, we… have with us AFPT, Ashland, DSM, DuPont, EMS Chemie GmbH, EM-Systeme, FA Kümpers, Future Fibers, Gurit, Henkel AG & Co. KgaA, Johnson Controls GmbH, Kegelmann Technik, Lamilux, LANXESS, Laserline GmbH, Lürssen Werft, Mahr Metering, Opel, Röchling, SABIC, Siemens, Tencate, ThyssenKrupp AG, Ticona [and] Toyota Motor Europe," said Fischer.
AZL will release the results of the first study in the summer 2014.