A new German scientific textile R&D institution for small to medium enterprises

A new German scientific textile R&D institution for small to medium enterprises

The new Centre for High Performance Fibre Materials (CFM) in Aachen (D) will open its doors officially on December 7, 2012 and deliver R&D services to small and medium sized enterprises (SME). CFM forms part of ITA Institute for Textile Technology of RWTH Aachen University

The new German Centre for High Performance Fibre Materials (CFM) allows interdisciplinary development of new high performance fibres such as the processing of carbon and glass fibres. CFM is continuously exploring new areas for the application of fibres in a multitude of scientific fields such as medical technology, lightweight structures, automotive industry, aerospace development and construction industry.

Picture 2 CFM image

It is now possible to explore fibre composite materials and their properties in one location, thus leading to drastically reduced research and development costs. It allows also the application of new technologies.

A unique combination

The unique combination of research facilities gives SME’s direct access to scientific research and results in the area of High Performance Fibre materials. CFM’s mission is to provi8de clients with pre-competitive research and unhampered by barriers.  On this foundation new ways of co-design, innovation and knowhow transfer become reality. CFM is participating in joint research and development projects with companies and the scientific results will be directly converted into products. CFM is offering workshops for a stimulating impetus.

It is a known fact that SME’s affront difficulties in developing new fibre-based materials on a laboratory or pilot scale and these firms are confronted with more challenges when they wish to transform such innovations into industrial products. CFM is destined to close this gap by completing the process chain and by applying the latest machine technology (from polymer to product) and by advanced analytics and an expert scientific innovation team,

The top fields of CFM’s activities

The top fields of activity are the production of high-strength synthetic fibres and functional fibres for instance for the automotive, aerospace and medical industries. Another is the rapid textile prototyping comprising also simulation and analysis for technical textiles and composites. The up-scaling of laboratory processes from basic research into benchmarks for all sectors using textiles, particularly automotive, chemical fibre, aerospace and medical represent another focus.  

In addition these activities have to be affordable for SME’s and the services provided by CFM are remarkable and entail shared knowhow, the development of prototypes and the optimisation of the manufacturing processes.

Picture 1 CFM strategy approach

Broad support

CFM has been established with the support of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and the EU in order provide SMEs with access to the best research, scientific support and analytics, all leading to secure long term jobs in the NRW area. NRW’s Minister of Science, Svenja Schulze, will attend the opening ceremony on December 7, 2012.

Already an established track record

CFM has enhanced already a manufacturing process of carbon fibres through the improvement of polyacrylonitrile precursor fibres. This example proves that CMF explores technical possibilities to create new applications and markets for carbon fibres and composites thereof. For example carbon fibres are used as a structural material in mid-range vehicles is such a promising area of development. It is the declared aim of CFM to implement medium to high performance requirements for carbon fibres in large volume applications, apart from the aircraft field.

Head of CFM is PD Dr. Ing. Dipl-Wirt. Ing Gunnar Seide.

Another interesting fact is that a part of CFM’s building has been created by using the world’s first widespread light-concrete façade, developed by lucem GMBH, Stolberg (D) and the company’s managing director has completed his PhD at ITA.

The core expertise of ITA of RWTH Aachen University is the development of textile machinery and components, as well as new materials and new methods for the production of textiles. It offers advanced training, workshops and research and development projects in cooperation with 3T TextilTechnologieTransfer (Textile Technology Transfer) GmbH to industry partners. ITA educates students in subjects of Technical Textiles and offers the opportunity to graduate with a doctor’s degree (Dr.-Ing).

Concluding remarks

TextileFuture is convinced that the new CFM will not only be beneficial to the state of NRW and textile related companies in the region, but it will be as well beneficial to industry partners of Germany and other countries. It forms also an additional opportunity for closing the gap of the lack of qualified engineers, and we feel sure that the new scientific projects and their practical results will interest more students to take up a study in future promising fields of Technical Textiles and development of fibres and composites as well as new and enhances manufacturing processes.



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