Fraunhofer opens representative offices in India
As a partner to German industry, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft needs to gain experience in the most important production nations – which include India. On October 30, Fraunhofer will proudly open its branch in Bangalore.
The Indian market is booming and continues to evolve dynamically – while also attracting German and European industry in the process. Siemens, Bosch and Hella, for example, have had a successful foothold in the Indian market for decades now. And for the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft too, the Indian market is gaining increasing significance: In 2011, eleven Fraunhofer institutes had been actively working in India; earnings last year reached their highest level yet, at 1.3 million euro.
So what is the reason why the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is engaging in India? “Beside cooperation with partners of scientific excellence, our focus also lies on following our German and European customers to India. This way, we will be available for our current industry customers as a competent partner, help their Indian suppliers reach the requisite quality standards, and thereby strengthen their ability to compete in the Indian market,” says Prof. Dr.-Ing. Reimund Neugebauer, President of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. In short: Fraunhofer is seeking intensive foreign experience, so that it can better advise its German customers who are working abroad, and be able to support them. For this reason, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft will be opening the doors to its new office on October 30 in Bangalore, India’s “capital” for science and research, which is also known as the Silicon Valley of India. The office will officially commence with its endeavors on January 1, 2013, by which time Indian officials are expected to grant the full authorization permit. Among the goals of this representative office is establishing contacts with leading partners from industry and science, and bundling the activities of the Fraunhofer institutes, in other words, establishing transparency and thus spawning synergies among the institutes.
Automotive manufacturing is one of the most important branches of industry in India. More than one billion Indians must be supplied with goods that come from point A to point B – and for this purpose, gigantic vehicle fleets are needed. Fraunhofer’s researchers intend to work jointly with their Indian colleagues to advance ecological and economical automotive production: Over the next few years, they will be developing a simulator for electric vehicles, a software standard for compact cars, an automated 3-D inspection system as well as new joining technology that facilitates improvements to the joining of aluminum and synthetics to car bodies and engines. These subjects represent just one of four planned projects that comprise a cooperation agreement between Fraunhofer and the Coregroup of Automotive Research CAR, one of the initiatives associated with India’s Prime Minister. The cooperation agreement includes a volume of 675,000 euro, and among the participants are the Fraunhofer Institutes for Machine Tools and Forming Technology IWU, for Material and Beam Technology IWS, for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM and for Non-Destructive Testing IZFP.
In other projects from the automotive industry, scientists are working on resource-efficient manufacturing. The focus here is on lightweight construction through the use of new materials, as well as innovative, materials-efficient production technologies. Processes like metal foams and various cold-forming technologies are increasingly in high demand, primarily for the production of components in the drivetrains of vehicles that can offer clear economic and technical advantages. In this respect, Fraunhofer does more than evaluate and optimize individual processes. Rather, the researchers in various projects with Indian partners look at entire process chains for the production of a component.
In another project, researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering and Thin Films IST are supporting the India-based company Asahi Glass in putting a glass coating system into operation. They presented onsite employee training sessions, proposed surface systems, delivered prototypes, assessed the production samples and continue to provide related assistance.
The executive management position at the Fraunhofer office in Bangalore will be held by Ms. Anandi Iyer. Ms. Iyer has provided consulting services to Fraunhofer, and for several years now, she has been involved with the federal ministry for education and research BMBF, the GTZ (now known as GIZ, or the German Agency for International Cooperation), the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the International Technology Cooperation Network (INTEC). Based on these professional endeavors, Ms. Iyer maintains superb networks in economics and sciences in both India and Germany. Fraunhofer has tripled the volume of its contracts in India over the past three years and has cultivated important partnerships as well. Anandi Iyer has also been named Honorary Chairwoman of the European Business Group in Bangalore.