2018 started with an impressive ceremony for us. On January 18th, the Minister of Science of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, Professor Wolf, presented us with a grant of about 10 million euros. Within the ERDF project “Technology Center Thermoplastic Composites” we are investing in new plant and equipment technology in the years 2018 and 2019. This will enable us to consistently expand our focus in the area of fiber-reinforced thermoplastics. Together with our partners at the technology site Kaiserslautern, we are working on sustainable fiber-reinforced composites for future products. These composites shall be able to be processed economically into components in very short cycle times without any production waste and with low energy consumption. In addition, they will be remeltable, formable, weldable, and particularly easy to reuse as materials. At the presentation of the grant Minister Wolf said: “The establishment of this technology center is an important step. The combination of basic and applied research gives rise to new ideas and skills that are important for employment and securing the future of the location.”
At the International Aerospace Exhibition ILA in Berlin from April 25th to 29th, 2018, the public was given a foretaste of the great possibilities offered by thermoplastic fiberreinforced composites. On behalf of Premium Aerotec we produced in Kaiserslautern the first thermoplastic pressure bulkhead for the Airbus A320 together with the DLR Center for Lightweight Construction and Production Technology. In several projects of the German government’s aviation research program LuFo we are working in parallel on advanced structural components for both the airframe and the interior (p. 71, p. 107, p. 121, p. 131).
New technical solutions are also in great demand in the automotive sector (p. 41, p. 65, p. 103, p. 129), and materials based on natural resources play a significant role (“ReInvent”, p. 113). Another important field is medical technology. Together with partners we are developing new spinal implants that are extremely biocompatible, lightweight, and x-ray transparent (p. 79). High-performance thermoplastics can also be used for tribological functions to reduce friction and wear (p. 109). In the EU project AIRPOXY we are dealing with vitrimers of which we expect the excellent structural mechanical properties known from duromers on the one hand and the good formability and weldability known from thermoplastics on the other hand (p. 39). Finally, we continue to be highly active in material recycling. In the rCF-Mobil research project (p. 111) we are working on advanced processes for the recycling of highquality carbon fibers.