The member of the Bundestag from southern Thuringia visited Rudolstadt to find out about non-grant-funded business-oriented research and its importance for the innovative strength of small and medium-sized enterprises.
As founder and shareholder of the company Plasttechnik Hohleborn in Floh-Seligenthal, Gerald Ullrich discovered many familiar things when he was guided through the various pilot plants of the research institute by TITK Director Benjamin Redlingshöfer. Ullrich was particularly impressed by the sustainable solutions, for example in the area of biobased and biodegradable hotmelt adhesives. There, the TITK is currently advancing the circular economy in a very tangible way.
The decades of research and development work in the production of regenerated cellulose fibers was also one of the topics of discussion. In the last few years, the TITK has successfully transferred the Lyocell process to non-wood-based cellulose, so that functionalized fibers for the textile industry can now also be offered from hemp residues. Currently in great demand are the functional fibers of the Cell Solution® line with climate regulation, active skin care or also with antibacterial or antiviral effectiveness. The functional additives in the fibers are used in a resource and environmentally friendly way and are still effective after 50 washing cycles.
Gerald Ullrich, an associate member of the FDP's federal executive committee and a member of the German parliament's economic committee, was also very interested in the institute's dedicated focus on transfer to industry. "Only when measurable added value has been created for our customer have we fulfilled our task," emphasized TITK Director Redlingshöfer. The goal, he said, is to jointly initiate innovations to help even small and medium-sized companies gain an edge in the market. "A very profile-raising criterion here is the mandatory co-financing from industry," Redlingshöfer emphasized. This ensures that the TITK is researching the right topics with high market relevance and is measured against an excellent transfer rate.
To ensure that this work can continue successfully over the next 30 years, reliable framework conditions for project funding are essential for our industrial partners and for us, the institute director emphasized. In this regard, MdB Gerald Ullrich expressed his absolute support: "We must do everything we can to keep research and thus innovations here in Thuringia and in Germany as a whole. Particularly in the area of sustainability, one of the most important fields of the future, we must not lose touch. This is the only way Germany has a chance of remaining a land of innovation."