The European Lightweight Cluster Alliance (ELCA) is integrated by six different working groups, which cover the whole range of lightweight materials and related technologies. Discover each below:
Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) has a main profile in science and technology. Headquarters in Trondheim with campuses in Gjøvik and Ålesund. The Department of Manufacturing and Civil Engineering in Gjøvik develops innovative and sustainable solutions for society. We research modern and sustainable industrial processes, construction processes, design, renewable materials and technologies.
The UNN is a research-rich, business-focused, professional university with a global reputation for academic excellence. We conduct ground-breaking research that is responsive to the science & technology, health & wellbeing, economic & social and arts & cultural needs of the communities. Lined to ELCA’s themes, the main areas of research include the following aspects:
The Bay Zoltan Network currently has 4 members only, the entities mentioned in the text (BZN, KTI, ÉMI, ZalaZone). All are owned by the government and have a research infrastructure and portfolio that could be useful for the SMEs as well.
To explain briefly: most SMEs, in case they wish to make improvements to their existing products/services or would like to bring something new to the market, do not have the financial resources available to build and maintain their own research infrastructure. Therefore, more often than not, they end up not innovating at all, thus hindering not only their own competitiveness but consequently Hungary’s as well. In these cases, they can come to any member of the Network and get help with their R&D projects, as the Network members already have the research infrastructure and know-how in place.
The Mechatronics and Motoristics Clust-ER is an association of 76 among public and private bodies: companies, research centres and training institutions that share skills, ideas and resources to support the competitiveness of the sector. The Emilia-Romagna Region has found in the Clust-ERs the subjects capable of multiplying innovation opportunities through a collaborative approach, as they focus their activity in R&D strategic sectors.
Together with the Technopoles and the High Technology Network laboratories, they are one of the key players in the regional innovation ecosystem coordinated by ASTER, the Emilia-Romagna consortium for innovation and technology transfer.
The Automotive Supplier Network Saxony (AMZ) was founded in 1999 with the aim of centralising and coordinating the innovation activities of automotive suppliers in Saxony. Formed by a staff of experienced engineers, the AMZ has realised more than 300 projects, over 315 presentations to OEMs/Tier1s and 70 supplier workshops on different topics, including lightweight construction, electric mobility, battery technology, and automatisation. Its network is comprised of more than 140 members, including R&D, suppliers, mechanical engineering & production equipment, and industrial services
The South West Hungarian Engineering Cluster (SWHEC) is the defining engineering organisation in the region. Currently, it has 31 Members, the combined price revenue of
Cluster Members is approximately 300 Million EUR and they have over 5000 employees.
The SWHEC has by today won the title of Accredited Cluster, and has earned the international ESCA “Bronze Label” qualification.
The Cluster has been collaborating for over 8 years for the achievement of collectively determined goals, i.e.:
To strengthen the cluster internal market, common capacity utilisation
To establish and operate a platform for experience and information exchange
To dynamise the innovative activity, to develop common products
To develop vocational training courses for mechanical engineering
To establish professional relationship with other industrial branches and clusters
Joint procurement of energy, services and materials
Common domestic and international presence and representation
To establish common, powerful lobby activity
The activities of Cluster Members include metal processing and production, machine and mechanical equipment manufacturing, installation and maintenance of complete technological systems, industrial automation and control technologies, vehicle superstructure manufacturing and training, research and development.
The Construction Technology Cluster (CTC) was founded on 21 March 2018 under the umbrella of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Pécs-Baranya (CCIPB): 15 general construction companies declared their intention to form cluster cooperation. The purpose has been ever since to help construction
companies actively participate in the region to demonstrate competitive and high-quality services that are flexible and able to adapt to changing market demands.
The outstanding qualification of CTC member companies and their active participation in vocational
training is exemplary.
By 2021 the number of cluster members increased to 18. The combined sales revenue of the members exceeds EUR 54million, and their teams have more than 700 employees. The further aim of the Cluster is to provide full service to the investors.
The members of the Cluster also perform general-level tasks individually as well, but under a joint contract, they can work on large projects. CTC’s services range from project preparation through design to full-scale general construction.
The aims of the cluster:
• Market cooperation
• Development of vocational training
• Cooperation with other clusters
• Development of innovation activity
• Search for financial resources.
LIGHTer is a leading multi-sectorial lightweight arena, that effectively creates competitiveness on behalf of Swedish industry. The cluster started in 2013 and it gathers 73 members, 65 funded technical projects, 10 academic partners and around 40 PhD students. LIGHTer intends to create a structure for the efficiency of technology development and development of people with unique, multi-disciplinary capability to create products with low weight. LIGHTer will also provide an international top level (excellence) in selected areas giving the industry conditions for competitiveness. LIGHTer coordinates activities in research, development, technology and competence development in Sweden as the hub of Swedish lightweight technology.
The Linz Institute of Technology Factory (LIT Factory) was established in 2017 at the Johannes Kepler University (JKU). The LIT factory is a member of the Austrian Advanced Lightweight Design Plattform and focuses on three main goals: digitalised processing, lightweight design and recycling of thermoplastic composites. The Factory has sound experience in the processing of thermoplastic polymers and polymer composites, digitisation of polymer processing, design and dimensioning of components, and component testing.
The main R&D capabilities and interests include the following topics:
IMAST is the Italian technological district for the engineering of polymeric and composite materials and structures. IMAST facilitates a stable cooperative system between the Italian research institutions and the most important industrial companies for the development and dissemination of advanced technologies. Acting as an intermediate cluster organisation in innovation processes and fostering links between scientific research and national small, medium and large enterprises, IMAST designs and develops connections between these two worlds, emphasising its mission of territorial animation, fostering partnerships, providing resources and skills, with the aim of orienting and qualifying the trajectory of technological development.
The Jožef Stefan Institute is the leading Slovenian scientific research institute, covering a broad spectrum of basic and applied research. The subjects concern production and control technologies, communication and computer technologies, knowledge technologies, biotechnologies, new materials, environmental technologies, nanotechnologies, and nuclear engineering. The Advanced Materials Department is involved in basic and applied research in the field of the synthesis and characterisation of advanced materials and also participates in the education process. In the lightweight domain, the department’s research activities include the development of ceramic- and bio-based materials for electronic devices with new or improved properties and research on nanostructured materials with the processes for their preparation. It is worth pointing out the department’s many international collaborations and its extensive cooperation with domestic and foreign industrial partners.
The Centre for Innovation in Polymer Engineering (PIEP) is a private non-profit association, of a technological and scientific matrix, with a business management model.
With over 20 years of activity, PIEP provides an excellent response in the delivery of products and services, oriented to the R&D+i needs of companies in the plastics and related sectors, through innovation activities, technology transfer, technical-scientific consultancy, and service provision.
PIEP acts in terms of the provision of testing services and failure diagnoses, development of new materials and products, processing technologies, and productive tools, based on the promotion of the principles of sustainable development (Circular Economy and Environment).
Flanders Make is a strategic research center for the manufacturing industry whose aim is to stimulate open innovation through four competence clusters: decision & control, design & optimisation, flexible assembly, and motion products. To each of these competence clusters, a number of core labs have been assigned that perform concrete research. By bringing together companies and research institutions, FM contribute to the technological development of vehicles, machines and factories of the future.
Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) is a research and technology organisation with a budget over EUR 60 million, 592 employees from 36 different nationalities, about 80 PhD students, with a 2017 outcome of 150 scientific peer reviewed articles, 26 patents and 1 spin-off company. LIST aims at transferring scientific knowledge to the market by supporting industry innovation. Three main fields of technological expertise are developed within 3 departments:
The MRT department covers the areas of nanomaterials and nanotechnology as well as composite materials. The department counts on more than 30 ongoing industrial partnerships, thanks to a highly qualified staff of 170 persons. The institute actively participates in the National Composite Initiative that aims to leverage and federate the national industry in composites in order to set-up research infrastructure and competences in the field of composite materials in Luxembourg. It focuses on RDI activities through collaborative research, knowledge and technology transfer. The composite platform hosted by LIST covers the fields of polymer processing, structural composites, characterisation, and 3D printing.
The Advanced Materials Cluster of Catalonia is formed by 55 members that together include almost 52891 employees. The cluster covers four areas of interest: Lightweight Structures & Materials, Nanomaterials, Additive Manufacturing and Circular Economy. The members (SMEs, large companies and RTOs) cover the entire value chain of advanced materials, from raw materials, suppliers, manufacturers, designers & engineers to distributors and recycling activities.
ThermoPlastic composites Application Center, is led by Dr. F.W.J. van Hattum, with 10 experienced employees in composites, over 30 students working in the laboratories and with a network of more than 70 SMEs. The main fields of research and innovation include the following aspects:
The Morevian-Silesian Automotive Cluster (Autoklastr) was founded in 2006 and it includes 77 members in which suppliers (Tier 1- 3), Large Enterprise, and RTOs related to the whole automotive’s supply chain are included. The main focus of the cluster is to foster the cooperation of the following aspects:
Poland’s key national cluster with over 10 years of activity. It gathers 80 companies (mainly SMEs) with more than 6k employees, sales revenue about 500 million EUR and 4 R&D institutions. The cluster has a sound experience in technical projects, education, promotion (trade fairs and missions), R&D, and international cooperation. The main areas of interest are listed as follows:
The main activities of the cluster are tools, polymer processing and mechanical recycling in different type of sectors (e.g. automotive, household goods, package, medical, etc.)
It is Germany’s first and only Federal Cluster of Excellence in the field of lightweight structures that incudes top class lightweight research facilities and pilot lines. The cluster gathers more than 20 research institutes, 8 facilities, and around 100 researchers and cluster management staff. The cluster is involved in several international activities in Europe and Asia for research & development, technology transfer, and innovation management of new materials and additive manufacturing, with a special emphasis in the following:
The Fraunhofer Lightweight Design Alliance gathers 18 institutes that can provide support in material and product design, mass production of components and structural systems, certification and operational use as well as education and training programs through the “Fraunhofer Composite Engineer”.
The main areas of research include the following aspects: