Hanover (14.06.2023). Global warming, rising energy prices, material shortages. Around 400 experts from Germany and abroad discussed the current challenges and trends in lightweight construction at LightCon 2023 in Hanover. The international lightweight construction conference with accompanying exhibition proved to be a target group-specific industry meeting point. Dr. Jochen Köckler, Chairman of the Board of Deutsche Messe, emphasized the advantages of a real meeting of the industry. He said, "We bring together people who work together to drive innovation and climate protection. They can find out about all lightweight materials and technologies here in one place. You can't get that in any online meeting." The program focused on effective production techniques, sustainable materials, new energy solutions and the circular economy.

Dr. Gunnar Merz, Chief Executive Officer at Composites United and founding partner of the conference fair, emphasized at the opening that the EU's Green Deal would be inconceivable without lightweight construction. In his welcoming video message, Michael Kellner, Parliamentary State Secretary of the BMWK, emphasized that lightweight construction plays a central role in the industrial transformation and the strategy of the German government. He explicitly welcomed this year's LightCon partner country - Poland - as one of the most important Eastern European trading partners and also thanked the Korean delegation for coming. The Deputy Minister for Development and Technology, Grzegorz Piechowiak, expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to strengthen the intensive economic relations in this topic as a partner country of LightCon: "Lightweight materials and technologies are a key to meaningfully meeting the climate challenges of the future. In a ceremonial act, a Memorandum of Understanding was then signed on stage between the Polish Investment & Trade Agency and the Polish Cluster of Composite Technologies (PKTK) with the intention of strengthening the relationship and cooperating even more closely in the future.

In terms of content, the LightCon conference fair also delivered what the program had promised: The organizers and speakers succeeded in creating a thematic arc from lightweight construction and efficient production processes, including modern digital tools, to the circular economy and sustainable technologies.

In the keynote address, Prof. Dr. Jan Wörner, President of acatech - National Academy of Science and Engineering, pointed out how important it is to break new ground: "Inspiration comes from talking to people who have no idea what I'm doing." He also said that nature is an important source of inspiration for lightweight construction: "Nature can do it, we have to look and learn."

The keynotes from Warsaw University of Technology, Berlin Partner, Fassmer Schiffbau, Airbus Aerostructures and the German Aerospace Center made it very clear what an outstanding role research and innovation play, but also what leverage the industry has in its hands for reducing CO2 emissions with lightweight construction. Some 45 speakers from research, manufacturing and application repeatedly demonstrated in the three parallel sessions how many starting points thinking in terms of lightweight construction offers for paying in on at least six of the "Sustainable Development Goals" SDGs.

"With the TTP-LB, the lightweight construction transfer program, we want to accelerate these developments, shorten the time-to-market of innovative ideas," emphasized Werner Loscheider from the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK), after whose presentation four exemplary projects of the funding program were presented. All of these projects had not only lightweight construction as a central theme, but also the optimization of process chains, energy efficiency in the production and use phase as well as a reduction of complexity in mind, in order to simplify or even enable the recycling of the products at the end of their life cycle.

The initial feedback from the participants shows that the networking at LightCon will lead to new projects, promising partnerships and joint action in the interests of lightweight construction.

The award of the VDI Medal of Honor this year went to Prof. Dr.-Ing. Axel Herrmann for his innovative work in fiber composites and aircraft construction his commitment to young scientists. In the evening, participants and exhibitors alike left Hannover full of inspiration for their own developments and market opportunities with a sharpened eye for the - in the best ambiguous sense of the word - sustainable effects of lightweight construction.