Development of the Institute

In 1970, the Institute of Polymer Processing (Institut fuer Kunststoffverarbeitung KV) was one of the two founding institutes of the Department of Polymer Engineering at the Montanuniversität Leoben. Within the last 50 years it has developed into a modern, efficient and recognised research institute. The basis for this is a team of highly quali-fied and motivated employees. 

In January 1973 o.Univ.-Prof. Dr.rer.nat. Werner Knappe, who was head of department at the DKI - Deutsches Kunststoffinstitut in Darmstadt, began his service as full professor for polymer processing. The existing rooms were quickly adapted and used as offices and laboratories. Due to the good contacts to the Austrian machine manufacturers Battenfeld / Kottingbrunn, Cincinnati-Milacron / Vienna and Engel / Schwertberg, the technical center could be equipped with modern injection molding machines and extruders. With further donations from Alpla / Hard and Hoechst / Frankfurt and the purchase of some equipment a state-of-the-art teaching and research was possible from 1977 on. 

The first assistant, Dipl.-Ing. Dr.mont. Karl Gissing supported the development of the institute from April 1974 on. Already in the academic year 1975/76 a comprehensive range of courses was offered, which was also significantly supported by lecturers from industry. From the beginning, the most important fields of research were injection molding, extrusion and material data determination and the projects were carried out in close cooperation with the industry. 

In October 1984 Prof. Knappe retired and Dr. Gissing took over the management of the KV. In 1985, however, he also left the MUL and Dipl.-Ing. Walter Friesenbichler, who had completed his studies in April 1984, became provisional head of the institute until 1989. He was assisted by a number of study assistants, among them Christian Kukla, who was particularly committed. 

In July 1989 o.Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Günter R. Langecker became the new full professor of the institute. He had previously worked for 12 years at Battenfeld / Meinerzhagen, Germany. In his last position as managing director he was responsible for the technical development of injection molding machines, extrusion lines, blow molding lines and PUR systems. 

During his 17 years as head of the KV he has been intensively involved in basic and application-oriented research in the field of polymer processing as well as contemporary academic teaching. The machine equipment was complemented by further modern machines. Above all, investments were also made in computer equipment, as a new research focus was added: computational design of screws and the simulation of injection molding. He was chairman of the curriculum commission for more than 15 years. Prof. Langecker had made a significant contribution to the further development of polymer processing in Austria.

When he retired on 30.9.2006, he handed over a flourishing institute to Ass.Prof. Dr.mont. Walter Friesenbichler, who led the institute as provisional head until the end of 2008. During this time, the number of employees and third-party funding was further expanded and research cooperation was increasingly internationalized. Prof. Friesenbichler took responsibility for the polymer processing related projects for the second funding period of the PCCL and the K1 application of the PCCL.

Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr.mont Clemens Holzer is heading the institute since 1.11.2008. Prof. Holzer had completed his doctorate under Prof. Langecker and worked in Switzerland for 14 years. First in different positions in the polymer processing industry at Huber+Suhner, Pfaeffikon / CH, the last years he was deputy director of the Institute for Polymer Nanotechnology INKA and professor at the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland in Windisch / CH.

A central concern during his appointment negotiations was to bring together the 4 polymer institutes in one joint building and to establish a department. Under his leadership and with the extraordinary dedication of Dipl.-Ing. Stephan Schuschnigg, it was possible to move into the new "Center for Polymer Engineering and Science" in April 2010. The department was founded in the same year and was headed by Prof. Holzer in the first period. 

In the new center an exemplary and internationally renowned polymer processing technology center was established and through the close cooperation with the polymer industry in Austria and Germany it could be exemplarily equipped with state-of-the-art machines. 

Copyright of photos: Günter R. Langecker 

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