Stepping into the “Open Hybrid LabFactory” (OHLF) on the outskirts of Wolfsburg for the first time is a bit like an adventure trail in a computer game. At the heart of the research campus is the technical centre, a hall several stories high. Casting systems, injection moulding systems, compression technology and industrial robots set the tone. The materials of future cars are being researched in wire cages and glass cubicles – the goal being to make textiles, metals, plastics and composites even lighter and more sustainable, but just as stable as the materials of today.
The Open Hybrid LabFactory is representative of the public-private partnership model, meaning that higher education institutions and industrial enterprises work closely together here. Full members include the city of Wolfsburg, the Automotive Research Centre Niedersachsen (NFF), the Fraunhofer Society and the Technical University of Braunschweig. And on the industry side of things, many automotive industry suppliers and metal and plastic processing companies are involved in the research alongside Volkswagen.