Research for Climate-Smart Industry

A stylized globe on the surface of which oversized wind turbines, houses and factories are built.
© iStock - halepak

The challenges facing manufacturing industries such as metallurgical processes and plastics engineering are numerous: from boosting efficiency to conserving resources to climate-neutral production processes. These topics are the focus of three new research projects conducted under the nationwide COMET funding scheme and co-financed by the government of Upper Austria under the leadership of research centres in the UAR Innovation Network. The research projects have a combined budget of EUR 13.2 million and are scheduled to run for four years.

The following innovation projects have been approved for funding under the nationwide COMET (Competence Centers for Excellent Technologies) funding programme. Two highly competitive calls for projects were decided simultaneously (3rd call for COMET modules and 9th call for COMET projects).

Digitalization as a Motor
The COMET project “ProMetHeus” focuses on combining metallurgical processes with digitalization with the aim of considerably increasing efficiency and creating new manufacturing opportunities. The high-profile consortium, led by Leichtmetallkompetenzzentrum Ranshofen (LKR), is made up of 20 partners in all. These include the firms of Hammerer Aluminium Industries, EREMA Engineering Recycling Maschinen und Anlagen and voestalpine, along with the scientific partners Campus Hagenberg of the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria, RISC Software and RECENDT.

Transformation to Carbon-Neutral Processes
The objective of the “PlasmArc4Green” COMET module running at the K1-MET centre of excellence for metallurgy is sustainable knowledge building in the field of plasma- and arc-based metal production processes with a view to enabling or speeding up the transition to carbon-reduced and carbon-neutral production technologies. The partners on this research project include the firms of voestalpine Stahl and Primetals Technologies Austria and the Johannes Kepler University Linz (JKU).

A Long Life with Full Functionality
The “Repairtecture” COMET module focuses on innovative approaches to reusing polymer-based products in order to prolong their useful life while retaining full functionality. These approaches include models to predict the need for repairs, so-called self-healing polymers and adhesives with special properties. Consortium leader is Polymer Competence Center Leoben (PCCL), which is carrying out the project in cooperation with major partners from industry such as FACC Operations and Wilhelm Schwarzmüller from Upper Austria. PCCL is also lead-managing another new COMET module.

Apart from the projects mentioned, Linz Center of Mechatronics (LCM) from the UAR Innovation Network and the industry partners Pierer Innovation and Wintersteiger are also involved in the “DiMo-NEXT” COMET project which focuses on analysis of movement in the context of sport and fitness.