International congress makes exchange between time zones possible
Bremen, September 14, 2020
The fifth edition of ITHEC, the renowned congress and exhibition for thermoplastic composites, is a very special one: From Tuesday to Thursday, October 13 to 15, 2020, it will take place digitally and live for the first time. In addition to 43 lectures and keynote speeches, ‘ITHEC 2020 – Virtual Edition’ offers 25 poster presentations as well as up to 30 videoconferencing theme tables in which all participants can participate interactively. Participants can look forward to two award ceremonies and a panel discussion on 3D printing – such a numerous and complete coverage of all topics is unique!
The personal communication and meetings will be supported by the more than 50 leading companies from the thermoplastics industry, who will complement the contents of the conference with live presentations with machines and processing methods, master classes on topics such as “Urban Mobility” and “Press Forming” and, above all, by integrating the services and solutions on their exhibitor pages. Special mention should be made of the world market leader Toray, who is supporting ITHEC as a Platinum Sponsor, and the other sponsors Evonik, TPRC, Mitsui Chemicals, Solvay, Teijin, Ensinger, Fill, Langzauner, suprem, Victrex and Wickert.
Since its foundation in 2012, an international expert audience from all corners of the world has been coming to ITHEC in Bremen every two years, the last time already 370 participants. Due to the Corona pandemic, the organizers have decided to have a digital edition this time. Schäfer, who himself has been a member of the composites scene for many years, is convinced “that the global opening of the event fits perfectly with the traditionally international cast of the congress fair.”
New concept enables interaction of the professional audience – even between time zones
In order to make all lectures, forums and presentations accessible to participants worldwide, Schäfer and his team developed a time zone model and extended the event period from two to three days. “In this way,” says Schäfer, “we are taking the time differences into account. Thus, there will be a first conference session for Asia and Europe between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. and a second one for linking America and Europe between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. (German time = GMT +2). “In the second conference session, the presentation of each lecture is repeated. For the respective interactive Q&A session of each lecture, all speakers are even present live again, thus enabling real interaction with the participants,” explains Schäfer. “In this way, we ensure that numerous personal encounters can take place in each time zone and even between the two conference sessions. For all Europeans, this is a unique opportunity to get in touch with colleagues from all over the world over three days”. Among other things, there are also virtual round tables with industry partners and intelligent matching based on the participant profiles, which then leads to exciting business blind dates made possible by the integrated videoconferencing tool – it’s hard to get more personal and real in the virtual space. And not only text chat, but above all spontaneous and also planned 1-1 and group meetings in video conferencing format with all exhibitors, participants and speakers over the entire duration of the event result in a level of personal interaction of an online event never before experienced in the industry.
Faster, Easier, Less Expensive: 3D Printing
ITHEC takes the rapid technical development of fiber-reinforced components and structures with thermoplastic matrix into account with a special on 3D printing with fiber reinforcements. Also with a whole series of lectures and presentations dealing with novel production methods. Innovative manufacturers of 3D printing solutions for thermoplastic composites will be available on the online conference platform and also show interactive presentations on products and technologies. “In addition to researchers and product developers, ITHEC is addressing more than ever before specialists who are involved in the development of production processes for the rational mass production of composites,” says Schäfer.
Professor Dr. Axel Herrmann, who heads the Fiber Institute at the University of Bremen and is one of the founding fathers and co-organizer of ITHEC, emphasizes: “The technology of fiber-reinforced thermoplastics has recently made a giant leap forward”. Never before had thermoplastic composites been seen in such a wide variety of forms, not least in terms of the diverse manufacturing processes. “I would like to illustrate this thesis with the example of 3D printing, which is now ready for use, with integrated continuous fiber reinforcements that are suitable for load paths.
The complete congress program of ITHEC 2020 as well as current information on the digital edition of the event can be found at www.ithec.de