Conference generates vertical and horizontal synergies Automotive experts meet up at forum (29/10/2008) More than 150 international manufacturing and development experts from the automobile industry met at Fronius in Sattledt on October 1st and 2nd 2008 to compare notes and exchange ideas. Despite each of the leading car manufacturers having their own interests, common interests were very much the order of the day. The open presentations and discussions of joining and material technology trends in automotive engineering resulted in the desire to continue and intensify the exchange of intellectual information. Dr. Klaus Koglin, director of technological development at Audi, proposed setting up a joint working party to pursue this aim. The working party will include representatives from the relevant fields, e.g. scientific institutes, steel and aluminium manufacturers, system builders, system suppliers and the car manufacturers themselves. In his welcome address Klaus Fronius stressed the importance of overcoming whatever restrictions existed in order to find new, intelligent solutions, an example of which is the thermal joining of aluminium and steel. This opens up interesting possibilities for lightweight construction in the automotive industry, reductions in fuel consumption and consequently reductions in CO2 emissions. The knowledge-transfer platform offered by the leading Austrian company in the field of arc welding attracted more interest than the limited number of places allowed. Speakers representing leading brands - Audi, BMW, Ford, Mercedes Benz, Hyundai and VW - reported on their experiences in the implementation and mastering of robust and reproducible joining processes, particularly on the positive results achieved using LaserHybrid and CMT (cold metal transfer). Researchers and developers at the Max Planck Institute for Iron Research and the Mining University of Loeben see the key areas of latest developments as the joining of dissimilar materials, e.g. aluminium and steel, and the potential of titanium and magnesium. In the case of the latter, however, within still existing constraints in the form of efficient production processes or recycling activities. Prof. Dr.-Ing. Boyoung Lee from Korea Aerospace University talked about his experiences with Hyundai in the Far East and its innovative CMT process for CO2 welding and MIG brazing. Representatives of Magna and BMW provided participants with a surprise by offering practical insights into the quality planning and quality assurance processes in their companies. Klaus Fronius discussed with the moderators, Dr. Klaus Koglin and Hans Hornig (director of joining processes at BMW's research and information centre), about when this conference should be followed up. They agreed that the follow-up conference should be held in two years' time. Klaus Koglin from Audi will act as the contact person for interested parties until such time as the working party "conceived" in Sattledt comes officially into being. Number of characters approx.: 3000 Fronius develops, produces and distributes battery chargers, welding technology and inverters for photovoltaic systems worldwide. The group has four production sites in Austria, the Czech Republic and Ukraine plus more than twelve sales subsidiaries in Europe and America. The company employs 2,221 employees worldwide, 1,661 of whom are based in Austria. Fronius's key figures for 2007 are as follows: sales of €298.5 million, 88.2 % of products exported and twelve international sales organisations around the world - including three new ones in Mexico, Canada and Italy, plus more than 130 international representatives. 16.8% of turnover is re-invested with a further 6.8% going to R&D. Fronius owns 469 patents. One third of all products sold are less than three years old. Photos: 1: At the beginning of the first international automobile conference, Klaus Fronius encouraged delegates to overcome restrictions in their thinking, and at the end of the conference he lent his support to a follow-up conference in two years' time. On the podium, from left to right: Karl Lammer (Magna Engineering Center), Guido Müller (Ford), Alois Lang (BMW), Hans Hornig (BMW), Dr. Klaus Koglin (Audi), Stefan Halvax, Klaus Fronius (Fronius). 2: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Boyoung Lee from Korea Aerospace University reported at the first international automobile conference on the progress achieved by Hyundai in bodywork construction using CMT technology. On the podium, from left to right: Guido Müller (Ford), Hans Hornig (BMW), Dr. Klaus Koglin (Audi), Stefan Halvax, Boyoung Lee. This press release and pictures can be downloaded from www.fronius.com/press . Please send an author's copy to the international contact person: Fronius International GmbH, Marketing & Communications, Mrs. Marion Rauch, Buxbaumstrasse 2, A-4600 Wels, Tel. +43(0)7242/241 2590, Fax: +43(0)7242/241 2670, E-Mail: email@example.com.