Kunststoff-Netzwerk Franken introduces itself to the New Materials cluster
Uniform solutions for entrepreneurial success

At the invitation of Bayern Innovativ GmbH [Bavaria Innovation Ltd.] the inaugural gathering of the New Materials cluster took place on October 26, 2006. The objective was to unite representatives from science and industry in an effort to establish a contemporary platform for information and communication for the field of materials engineering. Kunststoff-Netzwerk Franken [Franconia plastics network], in which Scherer & Trier is actively engaged, presented its work to top-class experts from scientific and industrial circles.

Strengthening global competitiveness
The Bavarian cluster initiative fosters targeted areas of emphasis through the active collaboration of experts from research, industry and economy who are organized into 19 subject-specific clusters. The initiative is intended to ensure the global competitiveness of Bavarian industry and research. Top-class representatives from all fields come together in the New Materials cluster – as an excerpt from the role of experts attending the inaugural gathering impressively proves: In addition to Dr. Gerd-Achim Gruppe (Department Manager for Innovation, Research, and Technology in the Bavarian State Ministry for Science), Prof. Dr. Robert Singer (Cluster Spokesperson, occupant of the WTM chair at the University of Erlangen), Dr. Rudolf Stauber (Cluster Spokesperson, Manager for Operational Stability and Materials in the BMW Group) and Dr. Kord Pannkoke (New Materials Cluster Management, Bayern Innovativ GmbH), there was also a talk given by Hans Rausch (Executive Director of Kunststoff-Netzwerk Franken) who took this opportunity to introduce those assembled to the Kunststoff-Netzwerk Franken.
  The objective of this inaugural gathering was the presentation of the cluster concept and its cross-sectional oriented subject areas. One point of emphasis for activities lays in future cooperation with regional partners, such as Kunststoff-Netzwerk Franken, in order to organize collaborative projects which will yield optimal synergetic efficiency.

Many minds, clever solutions
There are currently 58 participating companies in Kunststoff-Netzwerk Franken who are working on solutions to practice-specific challenges outside of competitive limitations. Aside from holding an annual symposium, members actively work on current questions in company-transcendent workgroups. This yields practical added value which can flow directly into the daily development and production work of the companies. For example, under the direction of Peter Hofmann, Scherer & Trier is responsible for the Benchmarking workgroup and also currently participating in the development of a discipline-specific program of advanced education.
For Hans Rausch, the network lives as a function of its protagonists: "The network creates real rooms in which the participants can have interactive exchanges and it is perpetuated exclusively by virtue of their activities. The more engagement individual members contribute the greater their individual benefits become. This type of close interaction produces trust and effective cooperation – outside the competitive environment." The first steps for the network in the New Materials cluster have turned out to be its successful example in transcendent cooperation. It should be quite interesting to see what further practice-related developments will take place. 

Engagement for a common cause: Peter Hofmann (2nd fr. r.) with his colleagues from the workgroup for Education and
Advanced Education during a session held at Scherer & Trier on May 23, 2006


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