WGP targets 2-degree climate target

by Hans Diederichs

"There are already many, very good approaches to making our industry more environmentally friendly. So far, however, it has not been possible to bundle all these promising initiatives and implement a fundamental change towards a resource-saving and socially compatible system," says Prof. Berend Denkena, President of the WGP and Head of the Institute for Machine Tools (IFW) at Leibniz Universität Hannover, describing the problem at the WGP Spring Conference. "It is clear to us that our initiative will only be successful if a paradigm shift succeeds, away from a purely profit-oriented production economy towards a socially and ecologically compatible production system.

Creating a serious foundation

This cannot be done without speaking one or the other unpleasant truth and drawing consequences from it that affect all of our lives. "But we must not shy away from these conflicts and finally take things into our own hands," emphasizes Denkena. "This is what our next generation is demanding more clearly than ever.

There are already many examples of sustainable production and more and more companies are prepared to commit themselves to environmental protection. "The companies Bosch and Siemens, which want to produce completely climate-neutral by 2020 and 2030, respectively, are just the tip of the iceberg," says Denkena.

At its conference in Hanover from May 8 to 10, 2019, the WGP decided to contribute to scaling up the countless individual initiatives at the city, regional, and system levels in order to integrate manufacturing companies into the overall structure of society. "We are dealing with an extremely complex topic landscape," explains Prof. Wolfram Volk, head of the WGP Science Committee and the Chair of Forming Technology and Foundry Engineering (utg) at the Technical University of Munich. "Keywords are CO2 taxation and incentives such as those granted by Deutsche Bahn to its locomotive drivers for resource-conserving driving. But urban production, regionality, product life cycle, recycling management or even hydrogen-oriented production - to name but a few - also belong to the horizon under consideration".

There is already extensive theoretical and practical knowledge on all these keywords from a wide variety of sources. "One of the most important of these is the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change," Volk explains. "Before we start as a WGP with concrete measures, we must get a comprehensive picture of the current state of knowledge. Only then can we act seriously, avoid misinterpretations and define levers to which we can apply our production technology implementation know-how."

For this reason, it was decided in Hanover that the WGP Science Committee would promptly develop a concept for structured data research and collection. "This topic has a very high priority in the Science Committee. At our next meeting in August, we will adopt the concept and make it available to all WGP colleagues and, of course, to the interested public," said Volk. "At the WGP Autumn Conference next November, we will then be able to become operational.


First concrete measure through new media

The university teachers deliberately defined students as an important target group - in other words, the social group over which they have a direct influence. For example, the multipliers of tomorrow are to be offered student theses on the topic in order to promote relevant start-up initiatives in this way. In addition, a new teaching format outside the curriculum is planned. Motivated by the "Fridays for Future" movement, this format could be a weekly information forum on "Future Production" in which interesting contributions are regularly posted online. Topics can include CO2-neutral and system-integrated production as well as resource-saving manufacturing processes.

Broad solidarity necessary for redefinition of production

Production technology researchers know what they are getting into. Radical rethinking and the establishment of new life values also mean that "many still unsolved questions will arise. Important problems are currently only being shifted, for example to other regions or to subsequent problems, and we will certainly not only make friends when naming the objective facts. Not least for this reason, we need the broadest possible social solidarity when we are talking about products and services.

Source: WGP / Photo: Nico Niemeyer, WGP

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