Can innovation be planned?
Europe's leading producer of heavy plate steel presents the "Dillinger Day of Innovation"
"Today we are capable of producing 2,000 different steel grades. The trend here is toward increasingly complex technical requirements, such as for steel that is simultaneously stronger and tougher, or heavy plate in special dimensions or for use in arctic conditions," Dr. Bernd Münnich, Chief Technical Officer at Dillinger, said in his opening remarks.
"Especially in an economic environment that is becoming increasingly difficult, research and development of innovative products and processes plays an absolutely decisive role in securing the future."
The ability to plan innovation and the conditions it requires were also the focus of a subsequent podium discussion with Minister for Economic Affairs Anke Rehlinger, Dr. Bernd Münnich, innovation manager Benno van Aerssen, Prof. Dr. Frank Mücklich, Chair of Functional Materials at the University of Saarland and Head of the Material Engineering Center Saarland, and Prof. Dr. Andreas Kugi of the Institute for Automation and Control Technology at Vienna Technical University. The central conclusion: "Innovation requires bright minds and strong networks, but also reliable underlying economic conditions."
Minister Anke Rehlinger thinks Saarland is essentially well prepared here: "The Saarland industrial region possesses efficient research clusters and innovation networks that now must be encouraged and expanded." Rehlinger also stressed, however, that innovative activity requires reliable underlying conditions. "We cannot allow our industry to be stifled by things such as additional burdens from carbon emissions trading, which countries outside of the EU do not have to bear. This endangers the international competitiveness of the companies - and therefore their innovation potential as well."
SHS - Stahl-Holding-Saar GmbH&Co.KGaA
Research and development in Dillingen works in three areas of research: hot metal, steel production and heavy plate manufacture. In addition, process-oriented research is conducted within the individual production plants, in what are called Technology departments. In addition to the research partnership with the University of Saarland, where Dillinger is supporting material research with nearly one million euros over three years, the company maintains university partnerships with RWTH Aachen University; the Technical University of Vienna; the Technical University of Darmstadt; the University of British Columbia Vancouver; the College for Engineering, Industry and Commerce of Saarland(HTW); Ruhr University in Bochum; FZI Research Center for Information Technology at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology; the University of Stuttgart, FH Kaiserslautern and the University of Trier. A dozen doctoral research projects are currently underway in the company.