First day

Over thirty employees from the automotive supplier branch stepped away from their projects last Tuesday, September 3rd, and headed south to Ingolstadt to take part in the first OEM event of our PAE Interreg project. “Carbon meets automotive” was the kick-off on the evening of the 3rd with two lectures. None other than “The father of the Audi Space Frame” himself, Heinrich Timm, was the featured key speaker of the presentation event, inspiring the participants to consider more than one material to be the best lightweight option for future cars.

Timm, former head of the department “Audi Lightweight Design Centre” and now member of the board of Carbon Composites e.V., shared the passion he feels when he approaches the challenges of vehicle development by means of fundamental physical laws. He pointed out that nowadays a lot of misinformation about proper materials and propulsion technologies is spread in public. After giving a comprehensive overview of the materials used in vehicle construction, Timm focused on lightweight construction as enabler for Ecological mobility. Finally, he emphasized the importance of recycling especially for carbon structures and concluded his speech by postulating to use “the right material in the right place”.

Following the opening presentation Dr Brzeski, general manager of A+ Composites, a young technology company located in southwestern Rhineland-Palatinate, demonstrated in impressing manner how inventiveness and entrepreneurship can boost the market by introducing new technologies and products. A+ Composites´ products are fibre-reinforced polymers with unique properties: light and flexible and yet stronger than steel. These materials enable local reinforcement and are also of great interest to the automotive industry, strengthening components exposed to high pressures and temperatures.

Second day

On the morning of the next day we continued at the Audi Ingolstadt plant with a guided plant visit at Audi.

The following morning, we continued with the plant visit “Production compact” at Audi and got a brilliant overview of the way from the first idea to the finished car and learned about the entire production process of the Audi Q2, Audi A3, Audi A4 and Audi A5 models and their derivatives.

Subsequently, employees of Audi AG spoke on the following topics:

  • « Audi in Transformation – Megatrends in the Automotive Industry »

  • « Sustainability in the supply chain »

  • « Procurement of e-components »

All conferences were simultaneously translated into French and later on the speakers responded to the questions of the participants and took time for individual discussions with some of their guests.

Since the number of participants for the Audi factory tour was strictly limited, a second group got the chance to visit together with Heinrich Timm the Technical University of Ingolstadt (THI). The highlight was a guided tour through CARISSMA – the new scientific control centre for vehicle safety in Germany! The 123 meter long research building was commissioned in the early summer of 2016 and accommodates a total of ten test facilities on more than 4,000 square meters of usable space, including an indoor test facility for crash tests and driving tests, a drop tower, a laboratory for Car2X communication, a laboratory for research on safe Energy storage, a simulation laboratory and a HiL laboratory.

In addition, CARISSMA will have an open space for full vehicle testing, as well as a driving simulator with hexapod motion platform and a pedestrian protection laboratory for the development of new test and sensing methods.

It was an all-round successful event with many new impressions and exciting prospects for the future of the automotive industry.