CIL offers a platform for exchanging information to industrial companies that wish to combine their strengths and work together on projects of great interest. This new entity, which has the status of a non-profit organisation, was created in 2018. It complements the National Composite Center – Luxembourg (NCC-L) by bringing together companies interested in working together on large-scale projects.
Hosted by the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST), the NCC-L is a laboratory dedicated to research on composite materials conducted in partnership with Luxembourg industry. The NCC-L provides companies with access to the equipment needed for developing new materials and innovative technologies that are relevant for major sectors such as the automotive industry, aeronautics or energy.
Building a network of excellence
Created by the founding members of the NCC-L, the CIL is hosted by Luxinnovation. By pooling their diverse skills and experience, CIL members combine their strengths to meet challenges and develop new innovative solutions. “Companies have identified six areas on which they wish to mainly focus: the surface properties of composite materials, thermoplastic fibers, the recycling of composite materials, bio composites, non-destructive testing methods and finally a sixth axis, which is actually transversal, i.e. that of simulation,” says Caroline Muller, Cluster Manager – Materials and Manufacturing at Luxinnovation.
Constantly focusing on innovation and industrial performance, CIL members work on topical issues. One of the main concerns is recycling. While superimposing several materials is a common practice and brings many features, there is also the question of how to separate these multilayers and their recycling. “These are issues that companies in the sector are familiar with,” says Ms Muller. “The constraints related to recycling are also increasingly present, since composites users will soon be responsible for the end of life of their products.”
Showcasing national expertise and completing the value chain
CIL also has the mission to promote all technologies and strengths available in Luxembourg. The Luxembourg composite branch has a number of opportunities to offer. “There is a good complementarity between the members,” Ms Muller points out. “We have specialists in simulation, surface treatment by atmospheric plasma, but also fiber specialists or plastic injection. What makes CIL so strong is that these companies can work on topics that are not confidential, they do not compete, they move forward together.”
We have specialists in simulation, surface treatment by atmospheric plasma, but also fiber specialists or plastic injection.
CIL members are also members of the Luxembourg Materials & Manufacturing Cluster, where the original idea of creating a National Composite Center was born. “This grouping is ultimately the concrete realisation of our mission to identify the skills and needs of businesses. When there is an idea or a flagship theme, and there are enough interested industrialists, we can come up with these kind of large-scale projects,” says Ms Muller.
The CIL is open to all national players but also more widely to international companies. Although Luxembourg can be proud of its composite industry, the most advanced countries in this area remain the United States, Japan, France and Germany. In order to highlight its potential and attract new businesses to the area, Luxembourg has renewed its participation in the international JEC World fair. “This is the most representative event in terms of new technologies and materials, all European and international composite centres are present. This is an excellent showcase for CIL companies but also for the country,” explains Ms Muller. CIL therefore participated in the JEC in 2019 and actively contributed to enhancing the visibility of the composites field, a sector in full expansion.
This article was originally published in Luxinnovation’s Annual Report 2018.