ICC 2019: Impulses for Innovations/ Interview with Dr. Elmar Witten

20 May 2019


From the demands made on materials by new mobility and the construction sector through to the progress made in mass production of composite components and new markets: the International Composites Conference 2019 in Stuttgart injects fresh impulses into the market for innovations. From 10 to 12 September this industry get-together will bring together processors and users of fibre-reinforced plastics from all over Europe. Dr. Elmar Witten, spokesman of the board of the Composites Germany association, reveals the trends the ICC will be picking up on this year. 

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Dr. Witten, which themes keep the composites industry busiest at present?

For the composites industry in high-wage countries solutions with a high degree of automation are of particular importance in international competition. The whole industry is working on this. In the mobility sector both cutting costs of individual components and reducing the number of individual parts in a final product are principal aims for manufacturers. Here, the composites industry generates crucial impulses. Generally, lightweight construction remains a “driver” for many developments in the composites sector.

Which themes will you particularly stress at the conference?

One future topic is multi-material solutions and this will also become evident in the conference agenda. In the construction sector we will have to deal with the increasing use of carbon concrete. In the field of process engineering we will focus on the processing of thermoplastic materials for mass production and stable processes in thermoset plastics processing. And, needless to say, sustainable bio-composite solutions will also be centre stage. 

How important is sustainability for the sector?

Composites have long become an indispensable part of sustainable technologies – for instance, for generating regenerative energies such as wind power or for reducing vehicle weight. Thanks to their long service life in many applications they also make a major contribution to saving resources. Nevertheless, the composites industry will also have to tackle the issue itself – when recycling these materials, for example. This is why we will also shed some light on sustainability aspects at the conference.

The partner country of this year’s conference is the United Kingdom. How did this come about?

Especially against the background of the current Brexit debate it is important to us to foster the exchange between the United Kingdom and the other European countries. After all, this country is among the biggest producers of composites components in Europe – and home to many interesting companies placing innovative products on the market.

Which lectures are you personally looking forward to?

I look forward to all lectures, of course, but especially to the keynote by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) on transport concepts of the future, and to the talk delivered by composites user KONE on material solutions for lifts in the highest buildings of the world.

Apart from the lectures – why should people visit ICC 2019?

This year the conference will dovetail more closely with COMPOSITES EUROPE. For the first time both will be held concurrently. Furthermore, we have closely coordinated the themes covered so that the conference themes are mirrored at the trade fair, for instance by themed guided tours of the fair and hands-on demos inside the exhibition halls. I consider this a real added value for participants. Last but not least, the conference is also a contact exchange. There is a high degree of networking among the individual actors in this industry. The conference is therefore the right place to capitalise on this network.



International Composites Conference (ICC) und COMPOSITES EUROPE to move closer

COMPOSITES EUROPE and the Composites Germany association will in future cooperate even more closely and organise the International Composites Conference (ICC) jointly from 2019. The conference structure will be clearly revised, doing away with the previous separation between trade fair and lecture events. So far ICC, organised by AVK – Industrievereinigung Verstärkte Kunststoffe e.V., had been held as a kick-off event for COMPOSITES EUROPE. From this year the trade fair and conference will be held concurrently in Stuttgart from 10 to 12 September.

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