Exactly two years after the foundation stone was laid, the new Casting Technology Laboratory of Fraunhofer IGCV in Garching was inaugurated on October 13, 2021. The guests were impressed by the new building, which in the future will provide a home for research at every step of the casting process: from mold production to the finishing process.
The scientific field of “Casting Technology” is one of the core competencies of the Fraunhofer Institute for Casting, Composite and Processing Technology IGCV. The researchers work with great enthusiasm on individual solutions for the industry to transfer knowledge and innovative developments directly into industrial applications. Fraunhofer IGCV in Garching focuses primarily on molding materials, sand, and permanent mold casting processes, as well as simulation. In addition to novel approaches to combining basic molding materials, predicting casting processes, and integrating quality assurance measures, the scientists are researching the embedding of casting technology systems in overall control technology solutions, thus addressing the potential of Industry 4.0.
In the future, scientists working in these areas will have access to an entirely new research environment: the Casting Technology Laboratory in Garching. In the building now inaugurated, they will find the best conditions for driving forward innovations in casting technology.
Die Casting is Dead, Long Live Die Casting
Inside the new building, the scientists research every step of the casting process, and drive further developments forward – a purpose that the structure’s outside reflects as well. From the interior design to the exterior facade, the materials are derived from the basic structures of the raw materials and the casting materials. Molded sand, core sand, and metallic surfaces characterize the appearance of the new building. The 1,500 m2 main floor space will house various functional areas in the future. At the center of this is the casting hall supplemented by workshops, laboratory areas, meeting rooms, seminar rooms, office areas for scientists, administration, and shared communication zones.
The new Casting Technology Laboratory is located within the 36,500 m2 area of the future Fraunhofer research campus. In addition to Fraunhofer IGCV, the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied and Integrated Security AISEC has already moved into a building there. The future location of the Fraunhofer Institute for Cognitive Systems IKS is currently being planned as well.
Situated in the immediate neighborhood of the Garching campus of the Technical University of Munich, the new Fraunhofer research can better utilize and expand on existing strategic and synergy effects with the neighboring science and engineering faculties.
After the scientists of Fraunhofer IGCV had already moved there in July 2021, the new building was presented to guests from politics, industry and science in a formal setting on October 13, 2021.
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Wolfram Volk, director of Fraunhofer IGCV and responsible for the scientific field of casting technology, welcomed the guests together with Prof. Dr. Raoul Klingner, Director of Research Management and Governance of the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft.
Prof. Dr. Raoul Klingner was enthusiastic about the new site and its potential for the future: “The new casting technology laboratory of Fraunhofer IGCV creates a place for research and cooperation on application-oriented cutting-edge technologies in the field of casting research – an essential topic for the future, as it represents critical technologies for many application areas and industries. For example, the automotive industry benefits from research in the field of drive components, chassis parts, and structural castings,” said Prof. Dr. Raoul Klingner.
Basic Knowledge of Die Casting Tools and Molds
Further words of welcome followed the speech. Roland Weigert, State Secretary in the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy, emphasized in his welcoming address, for example, the importance of the Bavarian casting industry with its centers in Central Franconia, Swabia, and the Upper Palatinate with over 11,000 employees. According to Weigert, casting is a crucial technology for many industries, especially for the automotive and mechanical engineering sectors or aerospace – because no wind turbine housing or essential engine parts would function without casting metallic materials. Since only science and research can drive further development in casting technology, Weigert believes that Fraunhofer IGCV has a responsibility: “It would be great if an answer could be found at the new research and science location in Garching on how casting can be powered by green hydrogen or green electricity in the future. Researchers will benefit from an ideal research network of natural science and engineering faculties near the vicinity.”
According to Weigert, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft's new IGCV building will be the new centerpiece of Science City.
Prof. Dr. Thomas F. Hofmann, President of the Technical University of Munich, Dr.-Ing. Erwin Flender, member of the advisory board of Fraunhofer IGCV, BDG e.V. and VDG e.V. and Annette Ganssmüller-Maluche, Deputy District Administrator of Munich, also congratulated the institute’s management on its new building and emphasized its successes in casting technology.
The Role of Aluminum in Light Metal Casting
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Carsten Intra, Chairman of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles brand, said in his speech: “The new building of Fraunhofer IGCV is representative of the increasing need for scientific knowledge in production technology as a whole. The research work carried out by the institute helps in a very tangible way to strengthen Germany as a production location and maintain its special position in the world.”
The presentation of the new casting technology laboratory by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Wolfram Volk and Dr.-Ing. Steffen Klan, institute director and head of the casting technology department at Fraunhofer IGCV, was followed by tours of the building.
During the subsequent get-together, the guests could discuss individual research topics with Fraunhofer IGCV experts during demonstrations. With traditional food, brass band music, and exciting conversations, the guests enjoyed a festive end to the event.
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