Hannover, Germany. The concept behind LightCon is taking off. As a platform for all lightweight construction solutions across competing materials and processes, as well as for hybrid solutions and lightweight engineering design, the new conference/exposition is explicitly designed as both a marketplace for alternative offerings and seedbed for new ideas, partnerships and networks. This makes LightCon attractive for current users of lightweight construction as well as newcomers to the lightweight scene. For all concerned, lightweight construction is not only a successful means of boosting performance and cost-effectiveness, but also a major factor in achieving the all-important goals of sustainability and climate protection.

Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier had this to say about the topic: "In order to further promote lightweight construction as a game-changing technology, what is needed are lightweight solutions that incorporate the entire gamut of materials and technologies. LightCon makes an important contribution to this by bringing together the various players that are shaping the future of the lightweight construction industry."

The Federal Minister of Economics has officially assumed patronage of LightCon. This comes at a time when the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi) will be funding a technology transfer program for lightweight construction to the tune of 280,000 million euros. Apart from the Ministry, other organizations and associations have joined the circle of LightCon supporters, including the German massive forming industry association Industrieverband Massivumformung, the Federal Association of the German Foundry Industry (BDG), the International Magnesium Association, the Lightweight Construction Interest Group (igeL), Mobility goes Additive, and the NanoMikroWerkstoffePhotonik.NRW cluster. And the network is growing.

A founding partner of LightCon is Composites United, one of the world’s largest networks for fiber-based, multi-material lightweight construction. "Our goal was to set up a national lightweight construction team," said Dr. Gunnar Merz, CEO of Composites United. "We wanted to compete for the best material for each specific application. After all, what counts is the carbon footprint – from which free competition between different materials flows." In so doing, the carbon footprint in lightweight construction always takes into account the entire life cycle – from development and design to recycling. "If Europe is truly to become the first climate-neutral continent by 2050, then a key role will be played by lightweight construction," remarked Merz. "With partners from a wide variety of fields and a varied conference program, the search for the best lightweight construction solution is still open-ended."

Statements by LightCon partners:

Tobias Hain, President of the German Massive Forming Association (Industrieverband Massivumformung)

"Since 2013, the Massive Lightweight Construction Initiative, a cooperation between the German Massive Forging Industry Association and the Steel Institute VDEh, has been working on the lightweight design potential of massively formed components in the powertrain and chassis of various vehicle types under the heading of ‘massive lightweight construction’. Weight savings in the vehicle lead to a variety of positive effects such as reduced CO2 emissions, enhanced driving dynamics, conservation of resources and improved driving safety – and are a decisive factor for the introduction of eMobility. That is why we support the idea of a LightCon as a platform for different approaches leading to a common goal: making life lighter and more sustainable."

Max Schumacher, General Manager of the Federal Association of the German Foundry Industry (BDG)

"The design freedom that comes with casting metallic materials allows the optimization of lightweight construction like scarcely another process. Cast components are always a fundamental element of the circular economy. Thanks to lightweight construction, castings make a significant contribution to resource conservation and reduced CO2 emissions. LightCon is an ideal platform for networking between the research community, producers and industrial clients at a high level."

Peter Kettler, Managing Director of the Lightweight Construction Interest Group (igeL):

"Lightweight construction is becoming increasingly important in the field of furniture and interior work. First, there is the weight reduction for mobile interior work. But a significant reduction of up to 50 percent in the use of wood for equivalent or even better qualities with additional benefits like functional integration or transport handling for Internet shipping is also a further argument in favor of lightweight construction. Thanks to a comprehensive network of experts, igeL members will be able to make an important contribution to achieving green goals. As a con¬ference/exposition, LightCon offers a balanced platform for a cross-material showcases, and we are delighted to be supporting it."

Dr. Karl Ulrich Kainer, Helmholtz Center Geesthacht, former Head of the Magnesium Innovation Center and International Magnesium Association (IMA):

"The global debate on climate change is fueling interest in lightweight structural materials like reinforced polymers, aluminum or magnesium alloys and high-performance steels. The demand for reduced emissions from combustion engine vehicles and the implementation of new concepts for hybrid, electric or fuel cell vehicles has led to a growing interest in metallic and non-metallic lightweight materials. As the lightest metallic structural material, magnesium alloys hold great potential as a means of achieving lightweight objectives, namely ready availability, high specific strength, good processability, machinability and recyclability. I am confident that the forward-looking concept behind LightCon – one addressing all classes of lightweight materials and the entire value chain from raw materials to production technology and end-of-life scenarios – will spark a successful forum for interpersonal networking on the state of the market, technology and applications. The conference will provide excellent opportunities for engineers, developers and decision-makers eager to get together and talk shop on the latest advances in R&D, technology and applications."

Stefanie Brickwede, Managing Director of Mobility Goes Additive (MGA)

"Lightweight construction offers great potential for making products and processes more sustainable and resource-efficient. 3-D printing is one of the most important implementation technologies, whereby widely different structures and thus savings in material and weight are made possible by layered construction. MGA is the leading international network for additive manu¬facturing in industry. With over 120 members from the most important user sectors – machine manufacturers, 3-D printing service providers, material manufacturers and R&D institutes – we provide pragmatic support for the professional implementation of lightweight construction ideas. As LightCon partners, our goal is to advance industrial lightweight construction by means of additive manufacturing."

Dr. Harald Cremer, Cluster NanoMicroMaterialsPhotonics.NRW:

"From research and development, raw material production and processing and on through to mechanical engineering and recycling, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia’s lightweight players cover every conceivable type of material and the entire value-added chain for lightweight construction, and this is unique throughout Europe in terms of scope, density and the quality of our state’s offerings. In particular, the cross-material, cross-technology and cross-industry character of LightCon sets a new innovative standard for the entire lightweight construction sector in Germany, and NMWP.NRW is very happy to support this."

The speaker lineup at LightCon will feature accomplished experts from industry, the R&D community and industry associations intent on providing exclusive insight into the cutting-edge options available for lightweight construction. The LightCon conference and exhibition are closely intermeshed, with the keynote and panel topics taking their cues from the best-practice demonstrations and real-world applications featured in the expo part of the event.