LightCon celebrated its premiere in Hanover from June 1 to 2, 2022, parallel to this year’s Hannover Messe. The German Federal Minister of Economics and Climate Protection, Dr. Robert Habeck, took over the patronage for the event, which was held under the motto “Lightweight Design on the Path to Circular Economy”.
Hanover. LightCon, the new congress trade fair for lightweight design, had to be postponed twice due to the pandemic, but now the event could celebrate its premiere in Hanover from June 1 to 2, 2022. A wide-ranging conference program with over 40 national and international speakers, five top-class keynotes and around 500 registered participants, as well as the extensive accompanying exhibition with 34 companies and research institutes, also attracted visitors from the Hannover Messe, which was taking place at the same time.
Against the background of the increasing importance of energy and resource efficiency, lightweight design technologies are crucial for the performance and competitiveness of the economy. LightCon offered exhibitors and trade visitors the opportunity to exchange ideas across materials and technologies. The exhibiting companies and speakers represented the entire value chain of lightweight design – from applied research to materials, tools for design and development, prototype construction and component testing, manufacturing technologies, joining and bonding technology, and recycling. The focus was on the global challenges regarding resource efficiency and climate protection for a sustainable circular economy and the reduction of CO2 emissions.
Top-class conference program and pioneering lightweight design solutions
After Dr. Jochen Köckler (Chairman of the Board of Deutsche Messe AG) and Dr. Gunnar Merz (CEO Composites United e. V.) welcomed the guests on the first day, Stephan Weil, Prime Minister of Lower Saxony, and Michael Kellner, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection, opened the event. The organizers were able to win five market-leading companies for the keynotes.
Isabell Gradert, Head of Central Research and Technology and General Manager for Materials Technology at Airbus, spoke about the cross-industry contribution of materials and structures to high-performance and competitive products. In her keynote address, Bosch Climate Solutions Executive Vice President Lisa Reethen emphasized, “Sustainability is no longer an option, the right time to act on the climate crisis is now. We need you to be part of our supply chain because resource efficiency is the key to reducing CO2 emissions.” In the afternoon of June 01, Oliver Gahr, Sustainability Leader AI Applications IBM EMEA, spoke about how sustainability and digitalization are shaping the value chain of the future.
Highlights of the program on the second day of the congress on Thursday, June 2, were the keynotes by Dr. Oliver Schauerte, Head of Materials and Vehicle Projects at Volkswagen, and Dr. Amer Affan, CEO Affan Innovative Structures. According to Dr. Schauerte, lightweight design is also of considerable importance for e-vehicles – not only for reducing energy consumption, but also in terms of crash loads, tire and brake wear, driving dynamics and permissible total weight. With breathtaking images of the creation of the Museum of the Future in Dubai and the construction of a villa in France from modules manufactured in Dubai, Dr. Affan demonstrated what spectacular buildings are possible using lightweight design.
Politics supports the key technology of lightweight design
The German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK) supports efficient cross-technology know-how transfer between the various lightweight design players in Germany, including through targeted funding programs. This serves the goal of making the German economy internationally competitive and climate-neutral and securing high-quality industrial jobs. Werner Loscheider (Ministerial Councillor BMWK, Head of Department IVB4 “Construction Industry, Lightweight Design /New Materials, Resource Efficiency”) and André Kaufung (Initiative Leichtbau) visited the exhibition to find out about current trends and developments in the field of fiber-based multi-material lightweight design. In addition, Dr. Merz welcomed a delegation from Berlin with Senator Stephan Schwarz (Senate Department for Economic Affairs, Energy and Transport) and Dr. Stefan Franzke (Managing Director Berlin Partner für Wirtschaft und Technologie GmbH).
New lightweight design industry meeting launched
The lightweighting community had eagerly awaited the first physical meeting after the pandemic. The exhibiting companies, the guests, Composites United as the founding partner of LightCon, and the organizer Deutsche Messe were highly satisfied with the successful start of the new lightweighting trade fair and were able to announce another highlight at the end: Poland will be the partner country of the upcoming LightCon 2023, and for good reason: Germany has been Poland’s most important trading partner by far for many years. At the same time, Poland’s importance for German foreign trade is growing continuously. The partner country participation is organized by the Polish Excellence Cluster of Composite Technologies (PKTK), which has established itself as an important player in the field of composites in Poland.
“LightCon makes an important contribution to the further development of a strong technology of the future,” said Thomas Pinkowski, LightCon Project Manager at Deutsche Messe AG: “The high-quality congress program was completely convincing, and the exhibiting companies demonstrated with their products and solutions how a wide variety of user industries can benefit from the use of lightweight design technology in the sense of a sustainable circular economy. The lightweight design community has found its new industry meeting place in LightCon in Hanover.”
Dr. Gunnar Merz is also very satisfied with the course of the event and is pleased with the successful premiere: “Finally, another presence event with an excellent professional audience, a first-class program and high-ranking political support. We are already looking forward to the continuation of LightCon next year.” The next LightCon will take place in Hanover in early summer 2023.