The inspiring presentations addressed approaches to the challenges in the automotive industry from an injection moulding perspective and were very practice-related and exciting due to the numerous sample components and exhibits. The experts on stage shared valuable insights and experiences, looked beyond their own horizons and encouraged people to broaden their view. Discussions and presentations revolved around the topics of sustainability, digitalisation, innovative improvements in interior design as well as the latest technologies for structural components.
Focus on sustainability in injection moulding
The first presentation session dealt with the carbon footprint as a sustainability indicator. Dr Raoul Meys (Carbon Minds GmbH) provided valuable impulses with his presentation "Product carbon footprint calculations for SMEs - From Business Case to Implementation" and described the challenges in calculating the carbon footprint. "Are recyclates the only path to CO2 reduction?" asked Steffen Lang (AKRO-PLASTIC GmbH) and explained further possibilities from process and component design to alternative materials. Hans Lochner (KTM Technologies GmbH) dealt with how sustainability can be transferred from development to the road (KTM: Sustainability on two wheels - From development to the road).
Another session was dedicated to increasing sustainability in the injection moulding process. Speakers included Andreas Kellermann (Pöppelmann Kunststoff-Technik GmbH & Co. KG), Yannik Lockner (IKV) and Dr Jakob Manhart (Lucid Motors). In addition to the options for more sustainable production, the sessions also addressed the concessions that users must be prepared to make in the service of sustainability, such as compromises in quality or a higher price.
Innovative process engineering approaches
While the first day of the conference was devoted to sustainability issues, the second day focused primarily on new process engineering approaches. One session was dedicated to the establishment of foam injection moulding. Ever better surface qualities and the possibilities for function integration and expansion make this process increasingly attractive, as Florian Dietl, BMW AG and Jan Wolters (IKV) explained in their presentations.
In another session, Stephen Thompson (Sogefi Air & Cooling) and Dr.-Ing. Matthias Theunissen (Envalior GmbH) looked at innovative approaches for multi-component technology and thought far beyond injection moulding. The manifold challenges require holistic solutions already in the component and process design as well as the inclusion of further processes such as welding or the backmoulding of films. The participants were able to gain valuable insights here, which were of great interest not only for the automotive industry, but also for medical technology and the packaging industry.
Intensive exchange during numerous networking opportunities
The exhibition and networking breaks also brought injection moulding experts into contact with users from the automotive industry, as well as from the medical technology and packaging sectors. The gathering in the extraordinary atmosphere of the historic ceremonial hall of the Couven Museum in the heart of Aachen's old town on the night before the conference provided a welcome opportunity to get into the mood for two intensive days of injection moulding. The conference dinner in the style of a hearty barbecue in front of and in the injection moulding hall was the scene of intensive exchange and lively discussions.
The combination of presentations in the lecture hall with a view of the machine hall, followed by long coffee breaks, as well as the opportunity to experience current research on live processes in the technical centre and to discuss them with the scientists, met with enthusiastic approval throughout the entire conference. In addition to the innovations around injection moulding, numerous other ongoing processes showed the wide range of research at the IKV.
For us it was great to see experts, specialists and scientists gathering here at the Plastics Innovation Center to exchange ideas, make contacts and work together on the future of plastics processing!
We are already looking forward to welcoming you back to Aachen for the next IIMC on 19-20 March 2025!