Composites United e. V. follows the invitation of Polish universities, networks and companies to continue discussions about the potentials of joint activities.
In 2020, a Polish delegation recently visited representatives of Composites United e. V. (CU) at the Augsburg site in 2020 and signed a MOU together with political support. Due to the pandemic, the planned next steps on the way to cooperation could not be implemented. In February 2022, CEO Dr. Gunnar Merz and Martin Kretschmann traveled to Poland as representatives of the CU. The aim was to obtain an up-to-date overview of the players involved in lightweight design east of the Oder River and to identify concrete joint activities.
First, the two CU representatives were warmly welcomed by Prof. Anna Timofiejczuk at the Silesian University of Technology in Gliwice. There was ample opportunity to get to know the faculties of mechanical engineering and materials science, with topics such as Industry 4.0 and metal-matrix composites playing a major role. Due to the extraordinarily deep networking of the university with the Upper Silesian Metropolitan Region, it was also possible to enter into intensive exchange with representatives of the Katowice Special Economic Zone, the Silesian Automotive Cluster and Silesian Aviation Cluster during the appointment. Upper Silesia is considered the most important industrial region in Poland and one of the largest in Europe. Comparable to the Ruhr area of Germany, a strong transformation from mining and metallurgy to industrial manufacturing has taken place here. As a result, hundreds of automotive suppliers and some OEMs are located here – but also companies in traditional niches, such as light aircraft manufacturing.
The trip then led to Kraków, where Prof. Tadeusz Uhl (Prof. at AGH, Academy of Mining and Metallurgy in Kraków), in his capacity as Advisory Board of the Polish Cluster of Composite Technology (Polski Klaster Technologii Kompozytowych), received the CU employees at the premises of his company EC Engineering. Dr. Andrzej Czulak, Cluster Founder and Managing Director, gave a detailed overview of the activities of the Polish Cluster, emphasizing that it has recently achieved the prestigious status of “Key Cluster” (comparable to Leading Edge Cluster). In this context, possibilities of mutual participation in events and future joint events were also discussed. A highlight on the Polish side is the KOMPOZYT-EXPO trade fair (September 28/29, 2022), which attracted several thousand participants to Krakow every year before the pandemic. The CU is invited to participate in this fair – also in the form of presentation and discussion contributions in the framework of the parallel fair conference. In return, the CU invites to this year’s LightCon and proposes Poland as a partner country for a coming edition in 2023. Furthermore, lucrative state investment incentives were discussed, which in combination with the excellent transport infrastructure create worthwhile incentives for Foreign Direct Investment.
On the initiative of the Cluster of Composite Technology, two innovative companies were visited on the way back via Silesia: The Silesian Scientific and Technological Center of the Aviation Industry Ltd., which, in close cooperation with the company NOMA-Resins, produces sandwich components for aerospace applications using the autoclave process, starting with resin development and continuing with customized prepregs and preforms manufactured using the tape-laying process.
Dr. Gunnar Merz and Martin Kretschmann see the visit as very positive. “Poland impresses with its enormous openness to digitization, which permeates all areas of life. More remote regions of the country are being connected without any problems thanks to the steady expansion of infrastructure. In the field of lightweight design technologies, Poland has innovative players across sectors, operating along the entire value chain from textile and resin production and material development, to mold making and component and system manufacturing. Megatrends such as renewable energies and the hydrogen economy are naturally also high on the agenda in Poland. This is flanked by a high affinity for IT and experience in the field of automation, which are promoting a strong development of Industry 4.0. All this makes Poland a very exciting partner for placing fiber-based multi-material lightweight design also as a strength for Europe and its contribution to fulfilling the goals of the Green Deal,” Dr. Gunnar Merz summarizes his impressions.
Our colleague Martin Kretschmann, who himself worked for several years in the Polish fiber composite industry and speaks Polish, will coordinate CU activities in this area and will be happy to answer any further questions you may have.
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