Shipbuilding and marine industries are two of the first industrial sectors to have adopted the FSW process for commercial applications. In these industries, FSW is suitable for panels for decks, sides, bulkheads and floors, aluminium extrusions, hulls and superstructures, helicopter landing platforms, offshore accommodation, marine and transport structures, masts and booms in sailing boats, refrigeration plants, etc.
Technological advancement in aerospace, automotive and marine industries requires materials with superior properties and functionalities for new applications, something which is hard to achieve using monolithic materials such as metal, glass, polymer, etc. This has prompted research and development of innovative materials and structures for the next generation of aero-vehicles, automotives, boats, ships, etc. One of the major achievements of recent years has been the development of fibre-reinforced composite materials, which due to their high strength-to-weight ratio can replace conventional materials in load bearing applications. The basic concept of a composite is that when two or more different but compatible materials are brought together into one, the overall properties and functionalities of the resultant material, are different and improved compared to each constituent component.1,2 Enhanced interfacial features of the ensuing composite component materials are crucial for the improved properties. Most composite materials are composed of a bulk binding material, the matrix, and a reinforcement component, usually in fibre form, serving the purpose of increasing the stiffness and hardness of the hybrid. The core materials such as polymer foams, honeycombs, wood, balsa and cedar are sometimes used to add volume to the composite. There are many different types of composite materials in use today; the following are brief accounts of the most common ones.
Møre og Romsdal is one of the global hubs in the maritime industry where leading firms, such as Ulstein and Rolls Royce are located. Regional ship owners control 40% of the world’s most advanced offshore fleet. The maritime cluster is one of only a few worldwide in which all actors of the value chain are represented. Input–output analyses have shown that the cluster exhibits high regional connectedness, as well as national and international linkages (Møreforsking, 2014). In terms of employment and value creation, the maritime industry is most important in Møre og Romsdal. Besides a high degree of vertical and horizontal integration, the maritime industry therefore also benefits from a thick labor market.
The maritime industry can be described as a traditional manufacturing industry that relies largely on a synthetic knowledge base. In other words, the workforce has a high level of experience-based, tacit knowledge in the field of engineering. Learning and innovation is supported by a high level of trust regionally, which allows for informal and quick communication between the various actors in the regional cluster. Furthermore, interaction and learning also occurs to a high degree between the management and employees thanks to flat hierarchies and the Scandinavian model of learning work organizations (Lorenz and Lundvall, 2006). The maritime industry benefits from university colleges and applied research institutes, which have adapted their educational programs, as well as R&D activities to the needs of the industry. R&D is mainly applied and support in testing and application development. The maritime industry is organized in a cluster, the Global Centre of Expertise “Blue Maritime,” a category in Innovation Norway’s industrial cluster program reserved for the internationally most competitive clusters.
The combination of strong experience-based engineering knowledge, an institutional environment that fosters knowledge exchange and learning between and within organizations of the cluster, as well as tight collaboration between the industry and higher educational institutes explains the high speed of incremental innovation that has substantially contributed to the cluster’s leading position.
However, the maritime industry is currently facing tremendous challenges due to the dramatic fall in oil prices since the second half of 2014. The fall in oil prices has strained profits for the more demanding, technologically complex, and costly offshore exploration and exploitation activities. This represents a big challenge for the Norwegian economy overall, and the maritime industry in particular, which delivers specialized equipment and provides services to offshore installations off the coast of Western and Northern Norway. Furthermore, due to the previously high profit margins and restricted supply of labor, the wages are very high in the traditional industries thereby reducing the incentives to explore new economic opportunities.
Besides the maritime and oil and gas industries, Møre og Romsdal has a specialization in the marine and furniture industries. The marine industry has substantial future potential. Møre og Romsdal has a long tradition in fishery, which contributes to the strong regional export performance equally as much as the sales of manufacturing goods. However, the marine industry has changed. Due to high labor costs, firms have invested significantly in process innovations that reduce the required labor input through automation and robotization. In that regard, synergies between the maritime and marine industries have appeared. In fact, the rough fishing conditions have put high requirements on ships and fishing equipment, creating the sophisticated demand that spurs innovation and competitiveness (Porter, 1998).
Due to the increasing cost pressures in traditional fishery, firms have begun to venture into biomarine. Biomarine describes the inflow of biotechnology into traditional marine activities that leads to new functional foods (e.g., healthy oils), health and pharmaceutical products, or flavors. Besides, traditional fishery is complemented by aquaculture, that is, the farming of salmon, cod, and halibut. Due to these new developments, the marine industry has expanded steadily since 2000 and the market is expected to grow significantly in future.
The renewal of the marine industry challenges the regional knowledge infrastructure specialized on experience-based engineering knowledge. The further development of the biomarine sector, in contrast, requires strong analytical, science-based competencies. However, until this year, when the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim merged with Aalesund University College, the region had no university; only the university college in Molde had university status for logistics. Furthermore, R&D expenditures per capita are far below national average and only a small minority of researchers in Møre og Romsdal have a doctoral degree. This weakness is problematic not only for biomarine, but also for increasing the knowledge intensity of maritime and other industries.
The strong linkages of actors in the regional innovation system are further promoted through several cluster initiatives financed by Innovation Norway and the Research Council of Norway. The Norwegian cluster program operates on three levels: (1) the Arena program targets emerging clusters; (2) well-established, economically strong, and export-oriented clusters can apply to the Norwegian Centre of Expertise program; and (3) the Global Centre of Expertise (GCE) program stimulates strongly developed clusters with a leading position in global value chains.
The GCE Blue Maritime cluster in Møre og Romsdal was one of the first two GCEs in Norway. In addition, three Arena clusters support the marine industry (Legasea), the furniture industry (Norwegian Rooms), as well as activities in logistics, material, and production technologies (iKuben). Regional entrepreneurs show strong ownership of and lead these cluster initiatives.
MEER KONTAKTE is our important maritime networking fair with two days of exhibition, plenaries, presentations, and thematic workshops with participants from business, politics, and research. During these days, you will be able to find or refresh contacts and cooperation in all areas of the Northern German maritime industry and research. Key topics 2019: Human Resources, AI, Digitization, and Green Maritime with prominent national and international speakers.
Premiere for MEER KONTAKTE – for the first time the Maritime Cluster Northern Germany (MCN) organized the fair for the maritime industry in the Ostseekai in Kiel on November 8 and 9, 2017. A total of 105 MCN member companies from all five northern German federal states showed at their stands how diverse and innovative the maritime industry is. In addition to the trade fair area, MEER KONTAKTE offered visitors an interesting content-related program focusing on the areas of maritime industry and economy as well as personnel and qualifications.
The second day of MEER KONTAKTE will be dedicated to networking beyond borders with an international maritime breakfast followed by B2B meetings. Representatives of companies, associations, universities and research institutes offering or searching for innovative solutions, investigating new collaborations and looking for adequate project partners will have a great opportunity to discuss their ideas face-to-face in pre-arranged 20-minutes meetings on Thursday 24th October 2019, 10:30 am – 2:00 pm
In addition, participants are welcome to join the joint networking dinner (at own expenses) organized in Kiel city center on the evening of Wednesday 23rd October and Thursday 24th October. Furthermore, Enterprise Europe Network partners TUTECH and WTSH in close cooperation with MCN offer to pre-arranged joint and individual company visits in Kiel, Hamburg and / or Schleswig-Holstein on Thursday and Friday.
Participation in MEER KONTAKTE, the company mission, and in the B2B session is free of charge. Travel and accommodation is at own costs.
Under the motto “Supraregional, competent, networked”, the maritime trade fair MEER KONTAKTE will also offer you the opportunity to find or refresh contacts in 2019 and to form cooperations in all areas of the maritime economy and research.
The fair gives you space and time for networking and exchanging experiences with representatives from politics, business, research and teaching. At the international maritime breakfast, business representatives from other European countries are invited to get to know our northern German maritime economy and to talk to you.
Find out about regional and national support for your operational success. Use our start-up launch pad to get to know young creative companies. On the trainee day, offer potential trainees an insight into the diverse possibilities of your company or, as a young visitor, find out about interesting employers. Participation is free for trade fair visitors. A registration is not required.
At the strong new industry hotspot in the north, the two-day premiere of MEER KONTAKTE in October 2017, over 100 renowned companies and institutions from various areas of maritime business, industry and research presented themselves in Oststeekai, Kiel.
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