The premiere of the LightCon conference fair (1st and 2nd June) obviously hit the right nerve. After two years of pandemic, the first physical meeting of the lightweight community was eagerly awaited. LightCon has proven to be a new, attractive industry meeting place that offered more than 14 hours of high-quality program over two days and provided strong answers to the global challenges of resource efficiency and climate protection for a sustainable circular economy.
Hit the right nerve: successful premiere of LightCon
- Lightweight construction community has found its new industry meeting place
- High-quality congress program has completely convinced
- Poland becomes partner country of LightCon 2023
Hanover. The premiere of the LightCon conference fair (1st and 2nd June) obviously hit the right nerve. After two years of pandemic, the first physical meeting of the lightweight community was eagerly awaited. LightCon has proven to be a new, attractive industry meeting place that offered more than 14 hours of high-quality program over two days and provided strong answers to the global challenges of resource efficiency and climate protection for a sustainable circular economy.
The exhibiting companies, the founding partner of LightCon Composites United and the organizer Deutsche Messe were highly satisfied with the successful start of the new lightweight construction fair. At the end of the fair, they were able to announce another highlight: Poland will become the partner country of the upcoming LightCon 2023. And for good reason: Germany has been by far Poland’s most important trading partner for many years. At the same time, Poland’s importance for German foreign trade is constantly growing. In 2020, Poland was able to overtake Italy as Germany’s fifth most important trading partner. The partner country participation is organized by the Polish Cluster of Composite Technologies (PKTK), which has established itself with around 100 members as the most important network player in the field of composite materials in Poland.
The patron of LightCon, Federal Minister of Economics and Climate Affairs Dr. Robert Habeck, already emphasized the high importance of lightweight construction at the Lightweighting Summit at HANNOVER MESSE the day before LightCon: “We have no more time to lose. The decarbonization of our society requires the highest speed.” According to Habeck, lightweight construction technology must be carried into broad industrial application: “We need resource-efficient lightweight products, because they contribute to the decoupling of raw material consumption and growth.”
LightCon kept its promises: It was the first international platform to present innovative lightweight solutions for many user industries across materials and technology. Around 40 speakers from research, production and application presented their solutions at the conference and more than 30 exhibiting companies showed groundbreaking solutions along the entire value chain.
The topics of the congress – Material Solutions, Sustainable Engineering & Design, Manufacturing Innovations and Application & Use Cases – focused on the entire process chain over both days. More than 600 participants left Hanover after two days full of impulses for their own developments and market opportunities with a new view of possible applications, innovative product design, current processes and materials.
“In this way, LightCon has made an important contribution to the further development of a strong future technology,” said Thomas Pinkowski, Project Manager of LightCon at Deutsche Messe AG: “The high-quality congress program has completely convinced and the exhibiting companies have shown with their products and solutions how a wide variety of user industries can benefit from the use of lightweight technology in the sense of a The lightweight construction community has found its new industry meeting place with LightCon in Hanover.”
Dr. Gunnar Merz, Managing Director of Composites United, partner and co-founder of LightCon, was very satisfied with the course of the event and was pleased with the successful premiere: “Finally again a face-to-face event with an excellent specialist audience, a first-class program and high-level political support. We are already looking forward to the continuation of LightCon next year – and especially to the partner country Poland and the cooperation with the Polish top cluster PKTK. Both sides can only benefit from this transnational exchange in the field of lightweight construction technologies.”
Especially in the keynotes, it became clear how cross-industry exchange works in lightweight construction. Isabell Gradert from Airbus emphasized the importance of lightweight construction for the future in her keynote: “Lightweight materials will play a key role for consistent sustainability for the next generation of aircraft.” But it is not the one solution, but the rethinking processes and measures must start in very different places.
In a rousing appeal, Lisa Reehten, Bosch Climate Solutions, addressed the audience: “Sustainability is no longer an option, the right time to act in the climate crisis is now. We need you as part of our supply chain, because resource efficiency is the key to reducing CO2 emissions.”
According to Dr. Oliver Schauerte from Volkswagen, lightweight construction is also of considerable importance in vehicle construction – and not only to reduce energy consumption: “Technological progress requires material innovation and is accelerated by material modeling.”
With breathtaking pictures 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. Amer Affan from Affan Innovative Structures, what spectacular buildings are possible through the use of lightweight construction.
Tassilo Witte from CTC showed how sustainable and above all resilient lightweight components can be created from recycled carbon fibers (rCF). The “Design for Sustainability” already begins in research, explained Dr. Astrid Heckl from Schaeffler Technologies: “Every kilogram of material saved is synonymous with reducing CO2 emissions.”
An important topic in the application of lightweight construction are the battery housings indispensable for electromobility, which should contribute as little as possible to the vehicle weight. 40 percent less weight compared to aluminum and a cycle time of less than two minutes in production are essential characteristics for such a component, which Dr. Christian Beinert from the Fraunhofer Institute for Durability and System Reliability LBF presented in his lecture.
Cora Lüders-Theuerkauf from Medical goes Additive spoke about the use of lightweight construction in medical technology. Materials for implants should be biocompatible, lightweight, sterilizable and porous so that the cells can grow in. For prostheses or corsets, 3D-printed, lightweight constructions are suitable, which should be breathable.
Sebastian May from Carbocon summed up how important the topic of lightweight construction is for the future: “We already know today that we need more resources than we have to build according to previous methods worldwide over the next 30 years.” Carbon fiber-reinforced concrete for new construction and renovation could save many millions of tons of rare sand – and also contribute a lot to climate protection, because the construction sector causes eleven percent of global CO2 emissions.
Many exciting topics that will have to be presented and discussed further in the coming year – in the early summer of 2023 at LightCon in Hanover, then with the partner country Poland.