RATH advances as a new source of oxide fiber in CMC materials. German state parliament candidate Michael Roth can be seen holding a spool of oxide fiber at the RATH site in Mönchengladbach, Germany. From left to right: Denny Schüppel (Composites United), Dr. Peter Mechich (DLR), State Parliament candidate Michael Roth and RATH: Christopher Kluthe, Dr. Philipp Franja and Cedric Dreyszas.
For over 125 years, the RATH Group (Vienna, Austria) has combined materials expertise, application know-how and personal advice to provide high temperature materials for unique applications. The company is currently inaugurating a new facility in Mönchengladbach, Germany, where RATH is developing high-end oxide ceramic fiber, a key component for the production of fiber-reinforced ceramics known as ceramic matrix composites (CMCs).
This market was dominated by a single US fiber manufacturer. RATH seeks to change that, as widespread use of these high-tech materials promises to make the green energy transition more efficient and environmentally friendly. “Wherever lightweight design meets high temperatures, we need CMC materials,” says Christopher Kluthe, Continuous Ceramic Fiber Manager at Rath Group. “Composite ceramic fibers are based on the wide market availability of oxide ceramic fibers. Only in this way will these technologies be able to contribute to the energy transition.
On May 3, key representatives from industry and research met German parliamentary candidate Michael Roth at RATH GmbH in Mönchengladbach to discuss new technologies for the energy transition together. In addition to Kluthe, this meeting was attended by Dr. Philipp Frania, plant manager for RATH; Dr. Peter Mechnich, co-head of department at the DLR Institute for Materials Research in Cologne, Germany, and Denny Schüppel, Managing Director of Ceramic Composites, are believed to be the world’s largest network of ceramic composite specialists, who was formed within the German composites. association, Composites United e. V. (Berlin).
Participants at the May meeting in Mönchengladbach learned about the new material that will be produced there and the new possibilities it offers. “Technologically disruptive innovations are what the country needs to retain industrial jobs and boost green energy supply,” said German parliamentary candidate Roth. “It’s great that small and medium-sized businesses in my home country can contribute. I am happy to support RATH in this effort.
With the tightly knit network of research and industry, the region of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), where RATH Mönchengladbach is located, can become Evoa a pioneer in the energy transition. Strong research partners, such as the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Jülich Research Center (Jülich, Germany) – which is a member of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers, one of the largest centers interdisciplinary research centers in Europe – are reported to be as active as small and large companies. From component manufacturers, such as WPX ceramic fiber (Bonn, Germany), to quality assurance at Diondo (Hattingen), to users such as Ford (Cologne), Linde (Lindlar) and Evonik (Essen ), the partners in the NRW region represent the entire value network and position themselves as pioneers of the energy transition.
“In particular, the generation of green hydrogen is still currently accompanied by high energy losses. We want to improve this significantly in the future. The green energy transition needs CMC. — Denny Schüppel, Managing Director, Ceramic Composites Network
“It is above all the close cooperation between industry, SMEs and research that predestines the region and the network to develop innovative CMC solutions quickly and in a targeted manner”, says Mechnich from DLR. He himself has been conducting research at the DLR Institute for Materials Research in Cologne for more than 20 years. “Reliable regional supply chains pave the way for innovative technologies and products.” Whether it’s energy-saving technologies, generation or conversion of green hydrogen into electricity, “the energy transition needs CMC and we are keen to help it here,” notes Schüppel of Composites United. . “In particular, the generation of green hydrogen is still currently accompanied by high energy losses. We want to improve this significantly in the future.”
The first components with RATH fibers have already been produced. Work is underway in an EU project to compete with current global players, and soon it will be said: NRW companies and research institutes play a leading role in energy transition technologies.