Fraunhofer IGCV + TUM utg - Barbara conference in difficult times

We accept the challenges

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Thomas Fritsch, Chief Editor

The annual Barbara Conference of the VDG Bavarian regional group in cooperation with GTM - Foundry Technology Munich (Fraunhofer IGCV + TUM utg) under the direction of Dr. Steffen Klan and Prof. Dr. Wolfram Volk has become a much appreciated fixture.

Industry participants from all over Bavaria, but also from other parts of Germany and Austria, enjoy making the pilgrimage to Garching near Munich. This is partly due to the excellent organization, the exciting program and the ideal environment at the Fraunhofer IGCV. Here, science and practice exchange ideas at close quarters, supported by TUM utg, HS Kempten and HS Aalen. The research foundry is now almost fully equipped with a wide range of systems from leading suppliers for various processes. A good opportunity for representatives of the supplier industry to maintain contact with their customers, to initiate new projects with the universities or, as this time, to talk to start-up companies and then to celebrate appropriately at the dinner sponsored this time by Fill.

Challenging times - where is the European foundry industry heading?

In his opening remarks, Prof. Dr. Wolfram Volk, with his apprehensive look at the current data of our industry, could not avoid the pressing questions. He named the challenging times with the issues of energy and the transformation in mobility together with a wealth of unresolved future problems. There is no single answer to this, but Volk remains optimistic, citing hard work, innovation and investment as the best companions for success and, if necessary, one can also ask St. Barbara, the patron saint of foundrymen, for assistance.

The lecture program, as always put together by Dr. Steffen Klan and his team, clearly had the future in its sights:

Sabine Sigle, Global Sustainability Manager at Nemak Europe GmbH, was able to present the future in her lecture "Sustainable transformation. On the way to climate-neutral value creation" was able to capture the attention of the audience. The question is not if and when we will become climate-neutral, but how. She spoke about the great responsibility of leading companies with a large carbon footprint such as Nemak and about customer requirements on the way to net zero, the concerns of investors, competitiveness and the demands of politics and society.

Nemak has been pursuing a consistent approach to climate-neutral value creation for four years, which affects all areas of the 24,000 employees worldwide and includes cooperation with customers and suppliers. At Nemak, the focus is naturally on aluminum smelting, aluminum purchasing and the requirements of e-mobility, where more primary aluminum is consumed. Sabine Sigle sees herself and her company on the right track; Nemak's standards already exceed the legal requirements.

In the second presentation, Torsten Rieck, CTO at Fondium B.V. & Co. KG, presented "Paths to climate-neutral saw iron casting - the green foundry".

With its two German foundries, Fondium has an annual melting capacity of 600,000 tons of iron, from which around 30 million components are produced for around 760 products, 35% of which are used in the passenger car sector and 65% in the truck sector.

Rieck emphasizes that the framework conditions have changed on the way to becoming a green foundry, as have the products and the competition. Nevertheless, he sees the greatest opportunities for iron foundries in this challenge and cites an example. Compared to aluminum gravity casting, spheroidal graphite cast iron releases significantly less CO2 emissions. With an appropriately adapted component structure, influenced by bionics, for example, better rigidity and lower emissions can be achieved and it is also cheaper.

An interesting example for others to follow. The big questions about change also go hand in hand with political support. You don't just switch off a well-functioning cupola furnace when the climate-neutral new investment starts at €50 million.

It goes without saying that there is a need for advice and action at all levels. It seems important that the foundry industry accepts the challenges, emphasizes the relevance of the components produced at every opportunity and takes customers, society, politics and science along on the journey in order to remain competitive.


Company Info

Fraunhofer-Institut für Gießerei- Composite- und Verarbeitungstechnik IGCV

Lichtenbergstr. 15
85748 Garching

Telephone: +49 89 350 946 104