HYCONNECT wins AiF Otto von Guericke Prize 2019
Hamburg, November 2019
A quarter of all CO2 emissions worldwide are generated in the transport sector. The use of construction parts made of fibre-reinforced plastics is a clever solution to the emission problem, because the materials offer very good mechanical properties at low weight. The use of lightweight materials in vehicle construction thus helps to reduce CO2 emissions in the transport industry. One problem, however, is the combination of fiber composites with steel components. In the absence of better possibilities, these materials are still either bonded or bolted today. The calculation and test phase of the components alone cost so much time that designers often continue to rely on pure steel structures. In shipbuilding, this poses a major problem, because in this industry all parts are produced individually. As a result, costs rise enormously.
FAUSST connects reliably
The solution to this problem has now been found by three scientists within the framework of a research project conducted by the AiF member Center of Maritime Technologies e.V. (CMT) coordinated project of the Industrielle Gemeinschaftsforschung (IGF): Dr. Lars Molter and Dr. Rafael Luterbacher-Mus, both at the CMT in Hamburg until 2018, together with Dr. Rigo Peters from the Schweißtechnische Lehr- und Versuchsanstalt Mecklenburg-Vorpommern GmbH (SLV M-V), developed the FAUSST technology (fiber composite and steel standard connection). This makes it possible for the first time to firmly and securely join composite fibre components and steel components using a hybrid knitted fabric without any mechanical securing. The structures connected in this way also meet the most demanding requirements in vehicle and ship construction as well as in aerospace. For their achievements, the researchers were today awarded the Otto von Guericke Prize of the AiF in Berlin. The prize is awarded once a year for outstanding achievements in the field of IGF and is endowed with 10,000 euros. The pre-competitive IGF is organized in the innovation network of the AiF and its 100 research associations and is supported by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi) with public funds.
Three components for FAUSST
“Our goal was to develop a hybrid connection technology for different requirements in shipbuilding. We managed to do that,” says Molter happily. “Comparisons between adhesive joining in shipbuilding and FAUSST technology show their high potential: The process time is up to 50 percent faster and even operations that would otherwise be too complex and time-consuming can be implemented with FAUSST. In addition, the new technology can be easily integrated into existing process chains”. Molter’s colleague Luterbacher-Mus describes the structure of the FAUSST connector. “It consists of three components: A pure metal part, a hybrid part and a glass part that are woven together and welded to a metallic semi-finished product. This allows fiber composites to be welded securely, firmly and conventionally to metallic structures. Peters of SLV M-V adds: “We have investigated FAUSST in extensive test series. The results achieved have exceeded the requirements of the industry. This is mainly due to the fact that we were also able to use classic welding processes compared to bonding,” explains the researcher.
“FAUSST represents exactly the connection option that meets the market and the customer’s requirements,” concludes Jörg Bünker from Saertex GmbH und Co. KG in Saerbeck. “Finally, we can safely combine classic construction materials such as steel or metals with new composite materials”. As an industrial partner in the project committee, the company was involved in today’s award-winning project.
Start-up founded – transfer successful
For Thomas Ketelhohn, Managing Director of the CMT, FAUSST is “a prime example of the frequently demanded transfer of research results from science to industry”. In addition to a patent application, Hyconnect GmbH was founded in Hamburg in June 2018 to further develop FAUSST for industrial use. So far, five industrial companies have been won through the transfer measures, which have FAUSST project for their applications.
About the AiF
The working group of industrial research associations “Otto von Guericke” e.V. is the research network for the German middle class. It promotes research, transfer and innovation. As the umbrella association of 100 non-profit research associations with more than 50,000 integrated companies and 1,200 participating research institutes, it makes an important contribution to sustainably strengthening the competitiveness of Germany’s economy. The AiF, as a non-profit association, organises joint industrial research and, via AiF Projekt GmbH and AiF F∙T∙K GmbH, its wholly-owned subsidiaries, manages other public funding programmes. In 2018, the AiF invested around 475 million euros in public funding. Since its foundation in 1954, it has channelled around 12 billion euros in public funding into new developments and innovations and initiated more than 235,000 research projects.
Foto and Text by AiF