June 07, 2024

HTL students develop vehicle cables of the future

VIENNA, May 29, 2024 - Once again, innovative projects at Austria's technical colleges have proven that the future can be reconsidered and reshaped during education. While two students are making the wiring in electric vehicles more ecological, two other theses show how processes can be sustainably improved and how industrial waste can be handled more efficiently. These innovative works were rightfully honored with the Borealis Innovation Award, which is highly regarded in the industry.

While Austria's high school graduates are currently awaiting their final oral exams, three HTL student groups from the Technological Trade Museum (Technologische Gewerbemuseum - TGM) can already look back on their successful education. Winners of this year's Borealis Innovation Awards not only demonstrated the innovative potential of young technology talents, but also that the future can already be reshaped sustainably even during their education.

Living sustainability in training

While the plastics industry is often confronted with reports on microplastics and the increasing accumulation of plastics in the oceans, the Plastics and Environmental Technology course at the TGM has been focusing on the use of renewable raw materials as well as the efficient use and recycling of plastics for over two decades.

This focus is also reflected in the topics of this year's diploma theses thatwere awarded prizes.

Natalie Ertl and Vanessa Wieselthaler won over the expert jury with their development of new high-performance cable sheathing for the automotive sector. Thanks to the work of the two students, electric cables in electric vehicles can be produced with environmentally friendly components. This will make the next generation of electric vehicles more environmentally friendly and sustainable.

Second place went to Stefania Koenne and Artur König, who focused on the quality assurance of plastics based on flow properties in the melt state. The results of this work not only lead to more efficient and accelerated quality control, but also reduce the amount of rejects generated in the process.

Christoph Dillinger and Izaura Wong, who were awarded third place, impressed with their work on chemical waste treatment. Their results lead to an improved cleaning performance of increasingly complex industrial waste. The possible recovery of materials from this process is also improved.

The recipe for success of innovative projects

The high quality of the award-winning theses can be traced back to an essential feature of the HTL education. "The close connection between practical and theoretical training is the recipe for success of the Austrian HTL," emphasized department head Klemens Reitinger (TGM) at the award ceremony.

Markus Horcher, Director Sustainability & Public Affairs at Borealis, who presented the awards, was also visibly impressed by the innovative work. "It is remarkable that the next generation of young technicians have been able to achieve such great results while still at school, focusing on the combination of innovation and sustainability. We are therefore very pleased to continuously promote this innovative spirit on the part of Borealis."

Training and industry go hand in hand

The Department of Plastics and Environmental Technology has been working directly with industrial partners since it was founded in 1963. The diploma theses, which are carried out entirely with cooperating companies, thus provide students with far-reaching insights into local industry and current topics. An education at the cutting edge of technology in which both sides benefit from each other.

This close link between education and industry was also demonstrated by the approximately 150 guests from trade and industry who attended the award ceremony in the banquet hall of the Technological Trade Museum.

Borealis Innovation Award 2024 Winners

Borealis Innovation Award 2024 Winners © GFKT

Borealis Innovation Awards 2024

1st Place

Thesis: Optimization of a silicone compound for high-performance cable sheathing

Project team: Natalie Ertl, Vanessa Wieselthaler
Corporate partner: Gebauer & Griller Kabelwerke GmbH

Brief description:
Up to eight kilometers of cables, for motors or as data cables for parking aids and distance sensors, are installed in modern electric vehicles. The demands placed on these cables are diverse and are increasing.

Nathalie Ertl and Vanessa Wieselthaler, in cooperation with Gebauer & Griller Kabelwerke GmbH, a leading manufacturer of cables and wires, have developed a new "ready to use" silicone formulation for high-performance cables. It does not contain any halogen compounds and is therefore much more environmentally friendly.

In addition, they developed a method for simulating the shelf life of the material. This proves that the shelf life of the silicone mixture could be increased,resulting in more efficient and agile production.

2nd Place

Thesis: Determination of optimal test conditions for rheometer tests

Project team: Stefania Koenne, Artur König
Corporate partner: Gabriel-Chemie GmbH

Brief description:
To characterize plastics, their flow behaviour in the melt state is investigated. As the measurements take a long time, material degradation already occurs during the investigation. This leads to incorrect measurement results.

As part of their HTL diploma thesis, Stefania Koenne and Artur König investigated the main factors influencing material degradation during measurement. They were able to determine the main influencing factors for different plastics and develop corresponding test specifications. These now allow the determination of reproducible and reliable results.
This not only allows more efficient tests to be carried out, but also ensures material quality and reduces production waste.

3rd Place

Thesis: Development of an optimized process for sedimentation in a waste treatment plant

Project team: Christoph Dillinger, Izaura Wong
Corporate partner: AVR GmbH

Brief description:
The composition of chemical waste has been becoming more complex for years, which is why its treatment is also becoming increasingly complex and time-consuming. The work of Christoph Dillinger and Izaura Wong therefore focused on testing new means of removing problematic substances contained in chemical waste.

Thanks to the use of novel additives for this purpose, a new method for efficient precipitation could finally be tested. This allows substances to be removed quickly and the legally required limit values to be reached in a shorter time. The result of this development is a significant increase in plant capacity as well as a reduction in any environmental impact.

This news is also available in German language.

About Borealis
Borealis is one of the world’s leading providers of advanced and sustainable polyolefin solutions. In Europe, Borealis is also an innovative leader in polyolefins recycling and a major producer of base chemicals. We leverage our polymer expertise and decades of experience to offer value-adding, innovative and circular material solutions for key industries such as consumer products, energy, healthcare, infrastructure and mobility.

With customers in over 120 countries and head office in Vienna, Austria, Borealis employs around 6,000 people. In 2023, we generated a net profit of EUR 216 million. OMV, the integrated energy, fuels & feedstock and chemicals & materials company headquartered in Vienna, Austria, owns 75% of our shares. The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), owns the remaining 25%.

In re-inventing essentials for sustainable living, we build on our commitment to safety, our people, innovation and technology, and performance excellence. We are accelerating the transformation to a circular economy of polyolefins and expanding our geographical footprint to better serve our customers around the globe. Our operations are augmented by two important joint ventures: Borouge (with ADNOC, headquartered in the UAE); and Baystar™ (with TotalEnergies, based in the US).
www.borealisgroup.com | www.borealiseverminds.com

About TGM

TGM - The School of Technology is the largest technical college in Vienna with around 2,800 students and over 300 teachers. The courses on offer include biomedical and health technology, electronics and computer engineering, electrical engineering, information technology, plastics and environmental technology, mechanical engineering and industrial engineering.

About GFKT
The Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Kunststofftechnik (GFKT) supports the training of young plastics engineers at the Höhere Technische Bundeslehr- und Versuchsanstalt (HTBLVA) Vienna XX, which is better known as TGM - Die Schule der Technik. The machines and equipment required for this are provided in cooperation with industry.

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