LIST TECH DAY 2018 : INNOVATION "MADE IN LUXEMBOURG"
vendredi 25 mai 2018 à 04:00
Getting into the car on winter mornings and driving straight off without having to do any annoying scraping, with no fogged up windows and regulation of the heat in the summer for a pleasant climate inside – to achieve this, the windscreens of the future will have to be specially coated. Instead of using embedded copper wires, as has been the case up to now, the company Carlex from Grevenmacher is working on a transparent coating in collaboration with the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST).
FROM SCIENTIFIC IDEA TO TECHNICAL IMPLEMENTATION
LIST is a Research and Technology Organisation (RTO) that acts as a research institute for applied technologies, supporting local companies with innovations so they remain competitive on the global market. For Luxembourg, LIST’s research strategy is a significant factor in the economic development of the country by means of science. Unlike universities, we do not do research out of pure curiosity, for example on topics like why is the sky blue ? We convert existing scientific knowledge into applicable technologies. We then join forces with industrial partners that are interested in implementing the innovation. In conjunction with our partners, we see that the technology becomes usable, in other words how it can be produced cost-effectively, practically and sustainably. We have to understand exactly what our partners need. To stay with the example of the windscreen : the technology for piezoelectric coatings already existed. We just suggested using this technology instead of existing copper wires. Our aim in conjunction with Carlex is now to set up a production line in Grevenmacher that ensures that the coating stays in place and is not too expensive, as otherwise the car industry won’t buy it. And of course we also have to make sure it is sustainable, does not break up and does not harm the environment. Certain tasks are undertaken by the industrial partner and others by us, so together we are developing a new generation of windscreens, says Fernand Reinig, CEO a.i., summing up LIST’s activities. In other cases, the development of technology does not lead directly to production, because there is no industrial partner. In such situations, LIST secures the patents and sometimes waits several years until the right recipient is found.
LIST TECH DAY AS A LOOK INTO THE FUTURE
For its long-time industrial partner Goodyear, LIST is conducting research in the field of smart mobility, e.g. on smart tyres containing nanoparticles that detect and relay information about the condition of the tyre and driver behaviour. LIST Tech Day allows visitors to get an idea of the concrete collaboration with LIST in the three strategic areas of materials research, environmental research and IT innovation. Our keynote speakers will explain to stakeholders step-by-step how the transformation from science to marketable technology works. Industry’s expectations of LIST will also be discussed. The existing case studies (show cases) on cooperation are particularly interesting. The aim is to help visitors better understand what cooperation with their company might look like and to reflect on what is needed in their business to initiate this dynamic process, says Fernand Reinig.
LIST is strategically oriented towards a modern global economy characterised by innovation. The country has also positioned itself strategically regarding the circular economy, sustainable development for environmental protection, the space economy and the Industry 4.0 and Digital Lëtzbuerg initiatives. Luxembourg is not bad, but it is not the world’s best in terms of the innovation capacity of its companies. The sovereignty niches in the legislation are disappearing, so we have to gain an advantage with innovative, efficient, sustainable products, e.g. with IT programs for the financial industry, in the area of Big Data, for improving production processes and many more, to move towards a diversified, intelligent economy with competence niches. Countries with strong innovation are doing well economically, even if things sometimes get worse, as can be seen in the example of Japan, says Fernand Reinig, we need innovation in all sectors of the economy that we want to retain in future. Otherwise, they will be like Nokia, which lived off its successes for a long time until the smartphone supplanted it with new technology. There are hardly any areas in which there is no need to update, especially in such a diversified economy as Luxembourg. This makes it difficult to develop skills in all areas - from finance and insurance, through SES and the steel industry, to companies like Ceratizit and Circuit Foil. We need a critical mass on which to focus our research. There is a performance contract with the government that ensures 50-60% of the research funding up to 2021, with the remainder covered by separate contracts with funding and industry partners.
FROM SPACE EXPLORATION TO NANOTECHNOLOGY
The diversity of the projects is reflected in the different contributors participating at LIST Tech Day. A total of 20 experts from global leading companies as well as Luxembourg SMEs will be present. The spectrum ranges from space research to nanotechnology and nail varnish : Goodyear, ST Microelectronics, Carlex, Ceratizit, Circuit Foil, Carl Zeiss, Kleos Space, Paul Wurth, OAT, Creos, PM International, Contern, LuxSpace and Internatonal Lacquers Cosmetic. 14 case studies will be presented, in which companies outline the challenges they face in the field of technical innovation. In addition to the presentations, leading managers will discuss their experiences with LIST at a round table meeting.
The event is aimed at decision-makers and managing directors who want to develop new products, optimise their production processes or initiate digitisation, regulation or sustainability processes. The European Commission and the European Association of RTOs (EARTO) will talk about the role of their institutions in the innovation process. Representatives from Luxembourg’s Ministry of Higher Education and Research, Ministry of the Economy and Luxinnovation will also be present. Fernand Reinig hopes that LIST Tech Day will become established as a forum for people to meet interesting partners who are also active in the field of innovation and gain inspiration from them. The aim is for this to then lead to the creation of a steady stream of new projects in line with the motto Luxembourg, let’s make it happen.