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Plans for a Lightweight Super Cluster

Chemnitz University of Technology and TU Braunschweig want to merge their competencies in lightweight construction and advance their internationally leading position with their network partners

Chemnitz University of Technology and TU Braunschweig plan to merge their competencies and strengths to build a super cluster in the field of lightweight construction within a year. The Federal Cluster of Excellence “Technologies for Multifunctional Lightweight Structures” (MERGE) at Chemnitz University as well as the research campus “Open Hybrid LabFactory” (OHLF) cooperate to extend their leading position on an international level through major projects. The cooperation agreement was signed on August 17, 2017.

“Chemnitz University has succeeded in becoming a leading player in the field of lightweight construction, not only regionally but also nationally and internationally, and would like to expand this role with strong national and international partners”, says Prof. Gerd Strohmeier, President of Chemnitz University of Technology. The gap between fundamental and approach-oriented research may be closed in cooperation with the TU Braunschweig and the OHLF in key technology of lightweight design, which is especially important for Germany. “In the OHLF we collaborate with companies in order to develop economically and ecologically sustainable solutions for large-scale lightweight design. In cooperation with Chemnitz University we can take on new projects that offer added value for our industrial partners and ourselves”, adds Prof. Anke Kaysser-Pyzalla, President of the TU Braunschweig. Furthermore, regional SMEs shall be supported in taking on the risk of high-tech developments and the access to research institutions shall be facilitated.

The cooperation’s objective is to establish a joint organization structure for the development of carbon fibers and to develop a research roadmap. For this purpose, the complementary approaches of fundamental research in the Federal Cluster of Excellence MERGE and application-oriented research in the OHLF shall contribute equally and complement each other. Joint research projects are to be carried out as soon as special plants for the investigation of improved production methods of carbon fibers are erected. Within a year, TU Braunschweig and Chemnitz University plan to initiate at least one major project.

About the Federal Cluster of Excellence MERGE

The Federal Cluster of Excellence “Technologies for Multifunctional Lightweight Structures” (MERGE) is funded by the Excellence Initiative of the Federal and State governments of Germany and led by Chemnitz University of Technology.

In this nationwide unique project approx. 100 academic researchers and technicians work on the technology fusion of multifunctional lightweight structures since 2012. Main aim is the merging of currently separated production processes during the processing of different material groups such as textiles, plastics and metal and to equip them with sensor and actuator technology. This would lead to a more cost- and energy-efficient large-scale production of multicomponent parts. Within the Federal Cluster of Excellence are aside from large companies also numerous small and medium-size businesses involved, complementarily reflecting the value chain ‘From material to lightweight structures’. The project results of the Cluster supply the leading markets of automobile industry, aerospace, mechanical engineering and microsystems technology.

Further information are available from Prof. Lothar Kroll, coordinator of the Federal Cluster of Excellence MERGE at Chemnitz University of Technology, phone +40 371 531 23120, email

About the Research Campus OHLF

The research campus OHLF “Open Hybrid LabFactory” is a public-private partnership emerging from the research campus initiative of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Headed by the Automotive Research Center Niedersachsen of TU Braunschweig and Volkswagen AG the OHLF has the explicit objective of implementing “democratic lightweight construction”. Other members of the lightweight campus located in Wolfsburg are institutes of the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, the BASF, Thyssen-Krupp-Steel, Magna, and other companies, from internationally market-leading enterprises to a variety of medium-sized businesses.

Further information are available from Prof. Klaus Dilger, Head of the Institute of joining and welding at TU Braunschweig, phone +49 5361 8902452-0, email

Matthias Fejes

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