Challenges and opportunities in the materials sector

by David Fleschen

he 7th symposium of the Jean Mermoz High School in Saint-Louis on “Materials and innovation” took place recently. This was an occasion for the students to learn more about new techniques and the great number of opportunities they offer.

More than 120 pupils and students participated in the symposium that was organized in Saint‑Louis by Dominique Kolb, professor in higher education for the processing of materials. Industry in general and especially the automotive industry find themselves at the dawn of a veritable technical revolution, since the regulatory constraints are becoming very strict due to the recommended reduction for CO2 emissions, as explained by Marc Courteaux, steel expert at PSA. Car manufacturers definitely have to offer innovative technologies (electric and petrol hybrid) and one of the means can obviously be found in the choice or the treatment of materials.

Appeal to the students

The second conference allowed the young people to view their future. A former higher education student in the processing of materials, now in charge of a laboratory at François Studer SA in Courroux, Switzerland, presented his work there. Aged 22, Victor Groelly supervises the quality control of the company.

Alongside the testing, which is for the most part “destructive”, new techniques have the wind in their sails. Non‑destructive testing leaves the parts intact and, what is more, permits the control of 100% of the parts, when the testing method is automated. Jonathan Kroener, president of the youth section of Cofrend (French confederation of non-destructive testing), a former student of Saint-Louis, now sales manager of Rohmann GmbH, emphasized the powerful upswing of this domain and the necessity to hire young people both in the field and in research and development to set up these tools for the future.

Finally, Yves Giraud, project manager of ECM Technologie in Grenoble, France, made an appeal to the students in the processing of materials: “This is an ideal career start for a young person who likes to travel, who has transversal technical skills and a good command of English to install and test vacuum carburization furnaces worldwide.” This technology with its low environmental impact makes it possible to improve the wear resistance of steel parts.
The symposium in Saint-Louis has demonstrated that the processing of materials continues to offer good prospects to students.

Source: Rohmann, Photo: Fotolia

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