AUGSBURG/STADE | 20.06.2023 As part of the market development program of the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK), a 15-member delegation from South Korea traveled across Germany from June 12 to 16, 2023. The delegation made important stops at LightCon in Hanover and at two offices of Composites United: the CU Nord cluster in Stade and the MAI Carbon cluster in Augsburg. The aim of the program is to increase the visibility of the participating German companies, to facilitate a successful entry into the South Korean target market and to provide long-term support.

First stop: CU North cluster in Stade on June 12

The delegation started its information trip, organized by SBS systems for business solutions, in the north of Germany at the CU North cluster in Stade. After a mutual introduction of all participants, a total of five CU members in the region presented their competencies and activities, including Fraunhofer IFAM, Broetje Automation, Hexcel, DLR Stade and Olin, followed by a tour of the composites ecosystem in Stade:

Fraunhofer IFAM Stade: Insight into the assembly and processing of large CFRP structures – special highlight: World’s first thermoplastic CFRP fuselage shell in original A320 size.

DLR – Center for Lightweight Production Technology Stade: Insight into the manufacture of large CFRP structures, including hydrogen tanks for cryogenic hydrogen.

CTC GmbH: Insight into the industrialization of technologies for the production, assembly and processing of CFRP.

Airbus Stade: Airbus was the first non-European delegation to give the Korean guests an insight into the production of the upper wing shell of the A350. With a length of 32m and a weight of 2.5t, the upper wing shell of the A350 is the largest CFRP component in civil aviation.

The Korean delegation was fascinated by how short distances in Stade contribute to a successful development and industrialization process and was impressed by the high level of innovation at the Stade site.

South Korean delegation at DLR Stade in front of BALU®, the world's largest re-search autoclave. Image: CU Nord

Next stop: LightCon 2023 in Hannover on June 13

The delegation made its second stop at LightCon in Hanover, where around 400 international experts discussed the importance of lightweight construction against the backdrop of current challenges such as global warming, resource scarcity and rising energy costs. The conference, which was accompanied by an exhibition, proved to be a cross-industry meeting place that brought together people who work together to promote innovation and are committed to climate protection. LightCon 2023 offered both the guests and the Korean delegation the opportunity to learn comprehensively about different types of lightweight materials and technologies while experiencing the latest industry trends on site.

South Korean delegation to be guests at LightCon 2023 in Hanover. Image: Deutsche Messe AG

Final stop: Leading-edge cluster MAI Carbon in Augsburg on June 15 and 16

After further company visits, the delegation finally arrived in the south of Germany on Thursday, June 15 in Augsburg, the location of the Bavarian CU division MAI Carbon. In addition to a visit to the Institut für Textiltechnik Augsburg gGmbH in the Sigma Park Augsburg, the presentation of Eckert Schulen and Coriolis Composites, Dr. Tjark von Reden, Managing Director of Composites United e.V. also described the activities and approaches of the leading-edge cluster MAI Carbon in detail to the participants of the delegation. 

The next day, company presentations of other CU members followed: Augsburg Innovationspark GmbH, Foldcore GmbH, Forward Engineering GmbH, Fraunhofer IGCV, MT Aerospace, Hufschmied Zerspanungssysteme GmbH and Cevotec GmbH. The delegation was extremely interested in the extensive and diverse competencies of the companies and strongly encouraged the exchange of ideas. A tour of the Fraunhofer IGCVs and the Center for Lightweight Construction Production Technology of DLR Augsburg rounded off the day and thus the entire delegation visit. “The delegation’s visit as part of the market development program offered our CU members the chance to network at a low level with South Korean companies and to discuss possible cooperations. We were very pleased with the visit,” said Dr. Tjark von Reden, summarizing his impressions on behalf of Sven Blanck, Cluster Managing Director MAI Carbon.

South Korean delegation in front of the Augsburg Technology Center (TZA). Image: MAI Carbon

The delegation visit took place as part of the joint project “Partners for international business development” for German companies in the lightweight construction sector (project duration 2021 to 2023) and is a funding measure from the BMWK market development program for SMEs. The implementing company is SBS systems for business solutions in cooperation with AHK Korea as a cooperation partner.