Cooperations and Networks

Industry

The Fraunhofer WKI works as closely and as application-oriented with the companies of the wood and furniture industries and the supplier industry as it does with the construction industry, the chemical industry and the automotive industry. Virtually all procedures and materials which result from the research activities of the Institute are used industrially.

Fraunhofer

Within the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, the Fraunhofer WKI is a member of the MATERIALS network, a member of the Alliances Building Innovation, Lightweight Design (German), Photocatalysis, Vision and Textile (under development) and is in the Fraunhofer Sustainability Network. Furthermore, the Fraunhofer WKI is a member of the Research Alliance Cultural Heritage (German) and is a co-operation partner of Fraunhofer Chile.

At the Fraunhofer Project Centre in Wolfsburg, the Fraunhofer WKI is carrying out research together with the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM and the Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology IWU. The Project Centre is part of the Open Hybrid LabFactory initiative, which was initiated in Wolfsburg under the management of the Niedersächsisches Forschungszentrum Fahrzeugtechnik (Lower Saxony Research Center for Vehicle Technology, NFF) of the Technical University of Braunschweig together with industry partners. The project partners develop large-scale product engineering and production technologies for the economically and ecologically sustainable production of hybrid lightweight components for vehicles made from metals, plastics and textile structures. The Fraunhofer WKI thereby places particular emphasis on bio-based materials.

Technical University of Braunschweig

A close bond exists between the WKI and the Institute for Building Materials, Solid Construction and Fire Protection (iBMB) of the Technical University of Braunschweig. The Institute Director of the Fraunhofer WKI, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Bohumil Kasal, is simultaneously the holder of the Chair for “Organic and Wood-based Materials” at the iBMB and is the initiator of joint research projects. The linking of the fundamental research of the iBMB with the applied research of the Fraunhofer WKI creates the fertile ground for future-oriented innovations in the construction industry.

The TU Braunschweig is furthermore an important cooperation partner for the Fraunhofer WKI Center for Light and Environmentally-Friendly Structures ZELUBA®. In the joint ZELUBA start-up project, scientists from both institutions are developing project ideas in order to drive forward the expansion of the center. The focus is being placed upon the development of materials and technologies which enable a hybrid construction for the combination of conventional and regenerative building materials for multi-story (lightweight) buildings. Six institutes from the TU Braunschweig are involved in the ZELUBA start-up project.

For the Center, a new building for the Fraunhofer WKI on the campus of the Technical University of Braunschweig is in planning. The new building will provide more space for scientific staff and experimental facilities, including an earthquake test bed. It will thereby enable a significant deepening of the research and development work of the ZELUBA and will favor the professional exchange between the scientists of the Fraunhofer WKI and the TU Braunschweig.

The Fraunhofer WKI is involved in the graduate college “Models for the description of the change in state as regards the aging of building materials and load-bearing structures“ of the TU Braunschweig. The Fraunhofer WKI provides several three-year postgraduate positions through its own funds. The postgraduate students are integrated into the graduate college when the professional proximity exists.

Furthermore, additional connections to the TU Braunschweig exist within the framework of teaching assignments and research projects. 

Hanover University of Applied Sciences and Arts

The Fraunhofer WKI Application Center for Wood Fiber Research HOFZET® is located on the campus of the Hanover University of Applied Sciences and Arts and is closely connected to the ”IfBB - Institute for Bioplastics and Biocomposites” at the university. The two institutions operate a joint technical center as well as various laboratories in the fields of plastic and fiber composite technology. From the cooperation between wood and plastics experts emerge new materials and applications for hybrid (bio) fiber composite materials. A particular focus is placed upon energy and resource-saving lightweight solutions. 

International

The Fraunhofer WKI is a member of the Wood-Based Composites Center (WBC). The WBC is an “Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC)“ of the US National Science Foundation (NSF). Within the WBC, seven North American universities, together with partners from the government, industry and non-university research, develop new research approaches for the production and application of bio-based composite materials. Leadership of the Center is the responsibility of the Oregon State University and Virginia Tech.

Through the cooperation with Fraunhofer Chile, the Fraunhofer WKI also has good access to the South American market.

The Fraunhofer WKI is a partner of the Renewable materials and healthy environments research and innovation centre of excellence (InnoRenew CoE) in Slovenia. Within the framework of a teaming project funded by the European Union, the Fraunhofer WKI is supporting the establishment of the Centre of Excellence as a mentor in the fields of renewable raw materials, sustainable construction, resource efficiency and innovative hybrid composites. The government of Slovenia, one of the most forest-rich countries in the world, is pursuing the overall objective of optimizing the value chain of the local forestry and timber industry in such a way that a competitive and knowledge-based industry can develop therefrom. The influence of the production and use of innovative products or materials on the environment, quality of life, the health and the well-being of all generations is also thereby being taking into consideration.

Furthermore, cooperations with universities, research facilities and industrial partners worldwide are formed as a result of professorships, teaching assignments and joint research projects.

As consultants, employees or heads of committees, the Fraunhofer WKI experts introduce their research results into standardization processes at national, European and international levels.