Dr. Holger Warth seeks out the product solutions of tomorrow for the automotive industry. Evonik’s aim here is to develop materials with the properties required by customers. At Evonik, in other words, we extrapolate from today’s industry requirements to the solutions of the future. In some cases, our researchers are already working on products that will not be in use for another ten years. “A lead time of a few years is normal for innovations,” says Warth. Together with customers, Warth is already looking at megatrends such as e-mobility, autonomous driving, weight reduction, and user trends such as car sharing. Vehicles for car sharing, for example, which are used by more than one driver, must be designed appropriately so that the interiors are more scratch-resistant and robust, and less susceptible to dirt, for example.
As well as representing Evonik’s Resource Efficiency Segment at the automotive trade show of the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) in Detroit, Warth is also co-organizer of the congress at the show. Holder of a doctorate in polymer chemistry, he was appointed to the organizing committee on the basis of his many years of experience in the automotive sector. Together with other raw-material producers, processors, and end customers such as General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Ford, he discusses the future of the industry: “Dialog with customers and partners is essential for us if we are to develop sustainable solutions for our customers and keep up with current trends.”
On the first day of the SAE show, Warth will be moderating a specialist conference and sessions dealing with the topic of polymer solutions for the automotive industry. Preparations for these events start months before the show itself. Warth is a member of the jury that evaluates the abstracts submitted and then decides on which of the submissions are to be presented at the show. The standards demanded of the presenters are high – as is the organizational effort involved in coordinating the 20 to 30 sessions. Warth will spend day two at the Evonik stand and will of course also check out the other exhibitors. Customer appointments are planned for day three.
“The three days of the trade fair are extremely intensive and it’s tough work. But in return, you gain interesting new insights and ideas and you can see what the new trends are,” says Warth.