Innovation fik luft under vingerne i Bordeaux

A Danish delegation with six representatives of the innovation environment in Denmark got a clear impression on a study trip in late autumn to France’s largest region of how far you can go when industry and knowledge society play well together. The delegation was in the company of like-minded people from countries such as Germany, France, Italy, Lithuania and Poland. A total of 21 people from 6 countries participated in the study tour.

The program offered a number of visits to high-tech companies as well as a master’s program at the Université de Bordeaux targeting one of the areas of strength in the south-western Région Nouvelle-Aquitaine with 5.9 million inhabitants, the aircraft industry. Here, the students are guaranteed a job after graduation.

The Danish delegation consisted of a representative of the innovation network Danish Materials Network (DMN), representatives of the Agency for Institutions and Education, the Danish Technological Institute and the innovation network Inno-Pro, which is for small and medium-sized companies with high-tech products.

A visit with multiple agendas
The purpose of the trip was, on an overall level, to get the Danish innovation system to play together with the rest of Europe, to learn from each other and to bring the Danish clusters with a focus on materials and production into play against a European materials agenda.

The EU’s Smart Specialization program (RIS3 strategies), whose intention is to strengthen regions by betting on niches and innovative strategies, was also in focus.

Furthermore, the Danish innovation networks had the opportunity to meet local, French networks with exciting projects within materials.

Companies in Grand Cru
As mentioned in the introduction, the delegation visited a number of French companies with an extremely exciting material agenda. One of them is ElorprinTec, which is one of the world’s leading knowledge centers within printed electronics. The center had a unique set-up, in that industrial partners have the opportunity to purchase access to the highly advanced facilities.

A visit was made to Canoe, which is a research and technology center that works with the development of composites and advanced materials. Here, the Danes saw, among other things, the synthesis of graphene, the spinning of carbon fibers and the production of thermoplastic, carbon fiber-reinforced composites. The center aims to support industrial production through the development of new materials and new manufacturing processes as well as testing of materials.

At Stelia Aerospace Composites, the delegation witnessed, among other things, automatic laying of composites for use in aircraft. The company produces a large number of the components that are included in aircraft, such as complete seats, window panels, fuel tanks, cockpits and various cabins.

The gateway to attractive flight jobs
The visit to the master’s program in the regional capital, Bordeaux, gave a good impression of how targeted an education can be to meet the needs of a region with many companies in the aviation industry. The education takes place in English in France and the USA, and the students are taught over the course of four semesters in subjects such as materials science, aeromechanics, thermodynamics and advanced fluid mechanics. It opens a big gate for attractive jobs.

AEC polymers has developed highly viscous adhesives for bonding composite materials and metals. Ariane Group produces rockets, but since most of the company’s production is not available to the public, the visit was only to the unit that disposes of rocket fuel in an environmentally friendly way.

Knitting machine for composites
The last visit on the study tour was to RT2I, a unique SME specializing in manufacturing three-dimensional composites. An extremely special technology which is based on knitting the fiber part of a composite on a conventional but modified knitting machine. The knitted fiber part is subsequently soaked with resin using advanced techniques. The technology is suitable for producing a few uniform items in large quantities.

In addition to an insight into the cooperation between industry and the knowledge environment, the Danish delegation has taken home a large number of good contact opportunities, which will no doubt be worked on as a basis for future cooperation.

DMN - The Danish industry portal for solving materials related problems