Striking 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 (03.06.2022). The premiere of the LightCon conference trade show (June 1 and 2) obviously hit the right nerve. After two years of pandemic, the first physical meeting of the lightweight community had been eagerly awaited. LightCon proved to be a new, attractive industry meeting place, offering more than 14 hours of high-quality programming over two days and providing 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 trade fair. At the end of the fair, they were able to announce another highlight: Poland will be the partner country of the upcoming LightCon 2023, and for good reason: Germany has been Poland's most important trading partner by far for many years. At the same time, Poland's importance for German foreign trade is growing continuously. In 2020, for example, Poland overtook 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 as the most important network player in the field of composite materials in Poland with around 100 members.

    LightCon's patron, Dr. Robert Habeck, Germany's Minister of Economics and Climate Change, already emphasized the great importance of lightweight construction at the Lightweighting Summit held as part of HANNOVER MESSE the day before LightCon: "We have no more time to lose. The decarbonization of our society requires maximum speed." According to Habeck, lightweighting technology must be taken into widespread industrial use: "We need resource-efficient lightweight products, because they help decouple raw material consumption and growth."

    LightCon delivered what it promised: As the first international platform, it presented innovative lightweight construction solutions for many user industries across materials and technologies. Around 40 speakers from research, manufacturing and application presented their solutions at the conference and more than 30 exhibiting companies showed pioneering 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 the two days. More than 600 participants left Hannover 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.

    "LightCon has thus made an important contribution to the further development of a strong technology of the future," said Thomas Pinkowski, LightCon Project Manager at Deutsche Messe AG: "The high-quality congress program was completely convincing and the exhibiting companies demonstrated with their products and solutions how a wide variety of user industries can profit from the use of lightweight construction technology in the sense of a sustainable circular economy. The lightweight construction community has found its new industry meeting place in LightCon in Hannover."

    Dr. Gunnar Merz, General Manager of Composites United, partner and co-founder of LightCon, was also very satisfied with the course of the event and pleased with the successful premiere: "Finally, another presence event with an excellent trade audience, a first-class program and high-ranking 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 Leading-Edge Cluster PKTK. Both sides can only benefit from this cross-border exchange in the field of lightweight technologies."

    The keynotes in particular made it clear how cross-industry exchange in lightweight construction works. In her keynote, Isabell Gradert from Airbus highlighted the importance of lightweight construction for the future: "Lightweight materials will play a key role in end-to-end sustainability for the next generation of aircraft." However, there is no one solution; the rethinking processes and measures must start at very different points.

    In a rousing appeal, Lisa Reehten, Bosch Climate Solutions, addressed the audience, "Sustainability is no longer an option, the right time to act on the climate crisis is now. We need you to be part of our supply chain because resource efficiency is the key to reducing CO2 emissions."

    According to Dr. Oliver Schauerte of Volkswagen, lightweight design is also of considerable importance in vehicle construction - and not just for reducing energy consumption: "Technological progress requires material innovation and is accelerated by material modeling."

    With breathtaking images of the creation of the Museum of the Future in Dubai and the construction of a villa in France from Dubai-made modules, Dr. Amer Affan of Affan Innovative Structures demonstrated the spectacular buildings that are possible through the use of lightweight construction.

    Tassilo Witte from CTC showed how recycled carbon fibers (rCF) can again be used to create sustainable and, above all, resilient lightweight components. Design for Sustainability" already starts in research, explained Dr. Astrid Heckl from Schaeffler Technologies: "Every kilogram of material saved is equivalent to reducing CO2 emissions."

    An important topic in the application of lightweight construction is battery housings, which are indispensable for electromobility and 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 properties for such a component, which Dr. Christian Beinert from the Fraunhofer Institute for Structural Durability and System Reliability LBF presented in his talk.

    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 cells can grow in. 3D-printed, lightweight constructions that should be breathable are suitable for prostheses or corsets.

    Sebastian May from Carbocon summed up the importance of lightweight construction for the future: "We already know that building according to current methods will require more resources worldwide than we have in the next 30 years." Carbon fiber-reinforced concrete for new construction and refurbishment could save many millions of tons of rare sand - and also contribute a great deal to climate protection, because the construction sector is responsible for eleven percent of global CO2 emissions.

    Many exciting topics that must continue to be presented and discussed next year - in early summer 2023 at LightCon in Hannover, then with the partner country Poland.