New Materials & Plastics
Emanuel Friehs, M.A.
|Number of workers employed in “New Materials & Plastics” (as of 2017):||4,600|
|Employment trend from 2010 to 2017:||+1,060 (+30%)|
new material valley
The “New Materials & Plastics” field is highly dynamic. From 2010 to 2017, the number of people employed in this sector rose by almost a third. All that growth occurred in the rubber and plastics segment alone because, statistically, it is difficult to define and capture the “New Materials” segment. Insiders already refer to Mainfranken as the “New Material Valley.” The regional members of this sector read like the who’s who of this field.
The Julius Maximilian University Würzburg alone has seven institutes and departments in this field. And just recently, another hotly pursued research project by the Deutsche Forschungsgesellschaft (DFG) befitting for an area excelling in new materials and plastics was added to the mix. The title of the project is: “Complexity and Topology of Quantum Materials: Fundamental Concepts, Materials Design, and New Technologies.” Also part of this Mainfranken niche are distinguished independent research facilities, such as the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC and the largest Plastics Center (SKZ) in all of Europe. More growth is expected as a result of the establishment of a research center for intelligent composite pipes in the Hassberge County.
One emphasis of companies involved in this field is on the production of just those kinds of composite pipes and components, as well as surface applications that include coatings and special refinement materials. Expected to be hot products in the future are insulation technologies using vacuum insulated panels, 3D print products and environmentally friendly packaging materials - all already are under production in the region. Nanotechnology is playing an increasingly important role in all these developments. The University Würzburg offers a degree program in nanotechnology, assuring a supply of skilled workers for the future.
Many of the products and solutions from the “New Materials & Plastics” sector are relevant for the automotive industry, as well as the mechanical engineering and health sector, and there are a correspondingly large number of connections between those areas.