Fraunhofer IST honored with Innovation Award from the B+T Unternehmensgruppe

Press Release /

On 1st December 2022, the Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering and Thin Films IST was honored with this year’s B+T Innovation Award in recognition of its human-centered research and development into sustainable as well as future-oriented technologies. The recipient is selected by a panel of experts from the B+T group of companies.

B+T Innovation Award 2022
© Norbert Kaufmann, B+T Unternehmensgruppe
The B+T Innovation Award 2022 goes to the Fraunhofer IST for its human-centered research and development into sustainable as well as forward-looking technologies. From left to right: Frank Benner, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Christoph Herrmann and Annalina Benner.

Frank Benner, CEO of the B+T Unternehmensgruppe, and shareholder Annalina Benner presented the B+T Innovation Award on behalf of the entire group of companies in recognition of the commitment and research work of the Fraunhofer IST in the field of sustainability. Within the framework of the official award ceremony, Institute Director Prof. Dr.-Ing. Christoph Herrmann accepted the prize on behalf of the institute’s employees. “At the Fraunhofer IST in Braunschweig, we maintain a focus on the sustainable design of the entire product life cycle, from the procurement of raw materials, through production and the product, and on to disposal and recycling – i.e. from the cradle to the grave – and strive to implement this in a practicable manner. We are therefore delighted to have received this recognition for our work,” said Christoph Herrmann, expressing his thanks.

As a long-standing project partner and, since 2019, also as a trustee of the Fraunhofer IST, Frank Benner has gained an in-depth insight into the research work and technological development of the institute. The Fraunhofer IST is working, for example, on making electroplating processes more agile, flexible and sustainable in the future through the application of digital methods. For this purpose, modular plant concepts are being equipped with extensive inline, online and atline analytics. Electroplating processes are digitally mapped using software solutions specially developed for automated data acquisition and processing - with the aim of controlling and optimizing the processes on the basis of models, and predicting the required maintenance. In this way, not only are the quality, throughput and reproducibility of the coating processes improved and resource efficiency increased, but the foundations are also laid for a circular economy.

In his eulogy, Frank Benner emphasized: “Here we are dealing with people who not only preach sustainability but really live it. Our employees on the decision-making committee are as impressed as I am by the breadth of sustainable solutions that the IST offers in widely differing sectors. The examples, ranging from individualized tablets from a 3D printer to smart screws or a filter for the Mars Rover, the construction of the Wasserstoff Campus Salzgitter or ozonated water for disinfection, are endless - and the enthusiasm for these things is contagious.”

Sustainable action and sustainability in research and corporate management are key criteria for the awarding of the prize. Annalina Benner emphasized the importance of the topic for the B+T Unternehmensgruppe in her plea for the values of the young generation: “We must not forget that sustainability also encompasses ethical and moral aspects.” These are also reflected in the research projects of the B+T Unternehmensgruppe. One example is the “Patient room of the future”, a new application-oriented research and study laboratory in which both the Fraunhofer IST and B+T, amongst others, are involved. One of the aims is the development and testing of smart materials and surfaces as well as future-proof products for the purposes of infection prevention and cleaning.

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