Another exciting event led us to a brand-new building at the Airport City in Bremen: the research and technology center ECOMAT.
Dr.-Ing. Hubertus Lohner took us on a trip of the booming aviation industry that consistently connects top-level researchers, state, and economy within a valuable alliance in the city. It is a partnership that grows against the background of its strong partner Airbus. They have been located at the new edifice since 2019. Yet, the halls and labs still seem to be waiting for the go-ahead. Equipping the space and bringing it to life will be completed by the time we hold our next network meeting. About 22,000 square meters of gross floor area will be home to office spaces, lab areas, and a technical center for about 500 employees.
On this night, however, after a short introduction by Alumni board member Ute Treptow, we were taken into the world of airlines and of innovations in aerospace. Dr. Lohner, board member of the innovation platform ECOMAT, is an alumnus of the University of Bremen. After making stops in Berlin and Graz, he did his doctorate between 1997 and 2002, before starting to work in material and process development at Airbus. Coming from the area of surface finishing, he was immediately able to leave his mark as a mastermind with a coating developed by him that avoids friction in landing flaps.
He gave a detailed account on the opportunities offered by new three-dimensional printing technologies, on corrosion protection, the avoidance of chromate and cadmium, the efforts to use ever lighter materials and reduce fuels, as well as on the work on more comfort, safety, and fewer emissions. The individual divisions of Airbus were presented as well as the company’s goals and perspectives. The challenges presented by production rates and production costs, reducing delivery times further, and processing existing orders in even less time, became evident, as did the efforts to fix damaged units in the repair shop. Risk sharing is also of high importance: sharing profits with suppliers but also holding them accountable. ECOMAT (Center for Eco-Efficient Materials & Technologies) unites partners and suppliers as well as science and economy at a joint site. Non-destructive testing, training and development, and engineering expertise are combined with application-oriented institutes of the University of Bremen and the University of Applied Sciences. They not only work hand in hand but are involved in the education and providing opportunities for junior researchers. As was to be expected, following this comprehensive insight, many questions were asked. They were all answered enthusiastically and expanded on in the subsequent get-together. It was an inspiring event with a high turnout that was used for extensive conversations among the participating alumni.
(Report by Manuela Brocksieper)