New materials such as CRP and other composite materials present design engineers with fabulous opportunities. And yet lightweight construction still likes to fall back on "tried-and-true metals" as the basis for its multi-material mix. Among other things, the decades-long acquaintance with these materials and optimized manufacturing and processing technologies speak in favor of steel, magnesium and aluminum. The continued development of well-established materials is a perennial issue for the global supply industry.
"I am constantly impressed at HANNOVER MESSE with how engineers are able to continuously improve materials in terms of energy efficiency, strength and weight," says Marc Siemering, Senior Vice-President responsible for HANNOVER MESSE, "or how they can give materials entirely new properties."
At Industrial Supply, the leading trade fair for industrial subcontracting and lightweight construction, surprising new applications are also being developed for traditional materials such as rubber and engineering ceramics.
One example includes burner tubes made from high-performance ceramics. Advances in process engineering have made it possible to equip the tubes with a textured surface on the inside as well. This improves heat transfer and consequently increases the energy efficiency of the furnace.
Astonishing advances have also been made in translucent ceramics, as showcased in Hannover by CeramTec GmbH. Thanks to innovative manufacturing processes, aluminum oxide can now be made as transparent as glass. The material has applications in many different areas, such as in medical technology and lighting systems, in the jewelry and watch industries – and in deep-sea diving which plays a key role in the search for raw materials.
"Up until now dive computers could be used at depths of up to 150 m. But with ceramic displays they can withstand enormous pressure at water depths in excess of 400 m."
The VKI is hosting a group stand at the Engineering Ceramics themed presentation (Hall 6).
"Ceramics are pushing the boundaries and finding more and more new applications not only in electronics and electrical engineering, but also in the chemical industry and plant engineering."
The Engineering Ceramics showcase is one of many material hotspots at Industrial Supply. Included here are also the innovation center Engineering Materials and the Materials Forum.
The composite sector is also attracted to Hannover by its proximity to the user industry. "The show is a must for us," says Dr. Elmar Witten from Germany’s Industry Association for Reinforced Plastics (AVK). At a group stand, the member firms are demonstrating how they benefit from the trend toward lightweight construction and energy efficiency. As a result, there is a growing demand for carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CRPs) in automotive, aerospace and mechanical systems engineering.
New applications are also being developed for glass fiber reinforced plastics (GRPs). "Pipes made from GRP offer superior strength and corrosion-resistance,"” explains Witten. Leading advances in process engineering have also pushed costs down, with the result that in the Middle East for example, steel pipes are being replaced by GRP pipelines.