Smart materials and world firsts at Elmia InnoDex

Boots made of corn, furniture made of popcorn and fabric made of wood. This year’s edition of Elmia InnoDex offers no fewer than 90 innovations from 12 different countries.

“Many people say Elmia InnoDex is the main reason they visit the fair,” says Dr Sascha Peters, founder and owner of Haute Innovation in Berlin.

This is the sixth year in a row that Dr Peters is presenting innovative materials and products at Elmia InnoDex. And the visitor crowds are large.

“It’s been like this every year,” he says. “The fact alone that we’ve had as many as 80 spectators at the open stand talks says a lot. We have an interesting stage programme and many of the fair’s visitors are curious about innovations.” 

Smart materials with integrated functions
The themes of this year’s InnoDex are tomorrow’s materials and smart products, tomorrow’s industry and digitalisation – and sustainable development. Dr Peters has several favourites among the exhibited objects, especially among smart materials with integrated functions.

“For example, here is an electroactive polymer that can both transform energy into movement and movement into energy,” he says. “Another example is carbon fibre paper with the ability to conduct electricity. It can be used, for example, for LED lighting that totally lacks any electric cord.” 

The world’s first carbon fibre grinding spindle
Carbon fibre is a recurring material in many of the exhibited innovations. One example is the world’s first grinding spindle made of carbon fibre.

“This is a really major innovation. Carbon fibre offers totally different advantages in the machining process compared with steel,” Dr Peters explains. “Because the material is not affected by heat, you don’t need sensors or a cooling system. This means that milling using a carbon fibre spindle will probably be cheaper in the long run. And carbon fibre also has better mechanical properties.” 

Continued development of 3D printing
Additive manufacturing is another field given a lot of space. There are growing numbers of innovators in 3D printing and Dr Peters says demand will keep on growing.

“More and more manufacturers are considering switching to 3D printing, even in the automotive industry. Additive manufacturing is making a breakthrough in all manufacturing industries, because the technology can now also handle mass production. The more complex geometries and the fewer components there are, the greater the benefits. Here we will see a major change in step with the electrification of the vehicle fleet.”

The materials guru Dr Sascha Peters of Haute Innovation, Berlin, is participating in Elmia InnoDex for the sixth year in a row.
The materials guru Dr Sascha Peters of Haute Innovation, Berlin, is participating in Elmia InnoDex for the sixth year in a row.