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MERGE branch in Thailand

“Collaborative Centre” at King Mongkut’s University of Technology North Bangkok to research renewable resources for lightweight designs

The research cooperation of the Federal Cluster of Excellence Technologies for Multifunctional Lightweight Structures at Chemnitz University with King Mongkut’s University of Technology North Bangkok (KMUTNB) will be extended further. Over the past years the exchange of students and scientists has been promoted successfully, and now both institutes intensify their collaboration in a joint research centre, called “Lightweight Structure Technologies Collaborative Centre” (LiST). The formal opening took place on 08 August 2017 in Thailand. Eberhard Alles, Chancellor of Chemnitz University, called it “an important step for the international cooperation concerning the key technology lightweight design”. Prof. Dr. Lothar Kroll, spokesman of the Cluster MERGE, said: “The MERGE team is looking forward to a deeper and fruitful cooperation within LiST. Especially research on Thailand’s regionally specific fibre materials offers a unique opportunity to open up new application scenarios for sustainable lightweight design.” Dr. Siritach Rojanaphruk, Acting Chairman of KMUTNB Council and Prof. Suchart Siengchin, President of the KMUTNB, gave welcoming speeches and presented the centre as well as their expectations of the cooperation.

MERGE branch for international research on sustainability

The Federal Cluster of Excellence MERGE of the University of Technology Chemnitz is not only the model for the newly founded research institute in Thailand but also has its own branch within the LiST. A seminar room was installed for workshops on lightweight design and several components demonstrating technologies. Apart from that, regionally unique fibre composites are to be investigated and developed in the joint laboratories and technology spaces. For example based on renewable “green” resources such as coconut, flax, water hyacinth or pineapple. Local external research institutes and suppliers from the automotive industry will be included in the research. The cooperation between the universities will nevertheless be mainly academic.

Natural materials with enormous research potential

Especially in the research field of fibre- and textile-based natural raw materials that are one of the topics of the Federal Cluster of Excellence MERGE, those international cooperations are of great value. The excellent growth conditions of various fibre materials in tropical and sub-tropical regions bring about a great variety of fibre materials that can be used for the reinforcement of lightweight structures. In  most of these countries experiences in production and application of fibre raw materials in technical fields are limited. That’s where the Chemnitz University scientists come in. The opening ceremony of LiST also focussed on lightweight engineering from the point of view of Industry 4.0: Topics that were discussed in workshops and presentations were “Digitalisation in production”, “Human-technology interaction” and “Integration of sensors into lightweight structures for component monitoring during use and production”. The first results of this cooperation have been presented by the Thai partners during the 3rd International Merge Technologies Conference 2017 (IMTC) from 21st until 22nd September at Chemnitz University.

Background info: Key Technology Lightweight Design in the Federal Cluster of Excellence MERGE

Mobility, the emission of environmentally harmful greenhouse gas and global warming are increasingly problematic and call for resource efficient production processes and components with optimised weight. This is a central challenge which can only be met with market-oriented solutions and applications. This is where multifunctional lightweight design comes in as a key technology of the future. Bringing together professionals from different scientific areas and technological fields it can take advantage of interdisciplinary strategies.

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. In this nationwide unique project approx. 100 academic researchers and technicians have been working on the technology fusion of multifunctional lightweight structures since 2012. The main objective is the merging of currently separate production processes during the processing of different material groups such as textiles, plastics and metal and to equip the materials with sensor and actuator technology. This would lead to a more cost- and energy-efficient large-scale production of multi-component parts. Large enterprises as well as several small and medium-sized enterprises are involved in the Federal Cluster of Excellence, making up the whole value chain ‘from the material to the lightweight structure’. The Cluster’s project results serve the leading markets of automobile industry, aerospace, mechanical engineering and microsystems technology.

For more information please contact Prof. Lothar Kroll, Coordinator of the Federal Cluster of Excellence MERGE, or Dr. Jürgen Tröltzsch, Scientific Director of the Federal Cluster of Excellence MERGE, phone +49 371 531-13910, e-mail: merge@tu-chemnitz.de

Matthias Fejes
28.09.2017

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