Research spotlight

The key to increasing productivity

Developing specialized machinery

The Chemnitz-based Steinbeis Transfer Center for Drive and Handling Technology in Mechanical Engineering has been successfully active for more than 20 years in the research and development of new technologies, processes, and specialized machinery – in particular for machine construction. An example of their work is an innovative patented system for producing transversal conductors in the manufacture of large generators, which was implemented as a specialized machine in the production process.

The aim of the experts in Chemnitz is to move the R&D process forward – as far as producing prototypes, primarily for SMEs. They support SMEs with subsidies from the Federal Ministry for Economics, drawing on the ministry’s central innovation program for the small firm sector (the German “ZIM-Förderprogramm”). Through the initiative they have already helped to develop a new deposit collector device for sparks and particles. The solution minimizes the ignition energy used in grinding processes. The device, which has already been launched, makes it easier to protect downstream filter units and massively extend their service life. In addition to increasing productivity in processing, this specialized machinery significantly cuts the cost of the overall processes.

Dredged material for dike construction

EU project: DredgDikes

Dike constructions protect millions of people from flooding in the southern Baltic Sea region. In Germany alone, the cost of dike maintenance and new construction will total €50 million up until 2014. And nearly €15 million have been earmarked for coastal protection for the next 20 years. To ensure navigability in these waters, vast amounts of dredged material have to be moved each year, which, for the most part, must be disposed of on land due to its organic makeup. For years, people have been looking for ways to use this dredged material in dike construction. 

The Rostock-based Steinbeis Innovation Center for Applied Landscape Architecture has partnered with a project, co-financed by the EU, which focuses on the use of dredged material in dike construction. Since 2011, experts have been investigating ecological and vegetation-related factors, and they have been testing the quality of the dredged material. The fine grained material from estuaries and saltwater lagoons in the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania – which mostly consists of organic particles – can be used as a cover for dikes, replacing the more commonly used marl. To prepare for dike construction, selected dredged materials were designated as test areas to determine the growing behavior of planted grass seed. The selected mixture is intended to promote the erosion stability of the dike’s top surface. The dike, which was completed in the summer of 2012, is now being monitored in terms of how well the planted grass seed grows and how well it works as a surface layer, in addition to testing the vitality and proportional growth of cultures and wildflower vegetation. The results will be documented and analyzed, and all findings will then be featured in a manual highlighting the correct use of dredged material in dike construction.


Dr. Michael Henneberg | Ricarda Neumann
Steinbeis Innovation Center for Applied Landscape Architecture (Rostock)

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