Since 2016, Arburg has been honouring outstanding dissertations and master’s theses at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) as part of a close cooperation. In 2019, the Arburg Awards were presented to Dr.-Ing. Hannes Löwe and Maria Gabriele Bauer. As part of the “Day of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering” at the TUM on 12 July 2019, Dr.-Ing. E. h. Herbert Kraibühler, former Arburg Technology Director and Honorary Doctor of the TUM, and Arburg Training Manager Michael Vieth presented the cash prizes and certificates to the two graduates.
The aim of the Arburg Award is to advance research in plastics and medical technology. Two scientific papers are honoured each year with this award.
Best dissertation: Dr.-Ing. Hannes Löwe conducted research on bioplastics
In his doctoral thesis, Hannes Löwe dealt with the increasing environmental pollution caused by plastic waste. Summarising the research, the thesis stipulates that the problem also offers an opportunity for innovative, bio-based and biodegradable plastics. The doctoral thesis describes the use of the “Pseudomonas putida” bacterium for the production of “polyhydroxyalkanoate” bioplastic. Production was carbon neutral, as sugar from the “Synechococcus elongatus” cyanobacterium was used as a raw material. In a mixed culture of CO2, sunlight and mineral salt solution, valuable bioplastic was produced. The dissertation focused on the genetic adaptation of the bacterium for mixed culture and on establishing the required technical process. The research showed that genetic modification leads to an artificial dependency between the bacteria, leading to the production of significant amounts of bioplastic. The results offer hope for a more sustainable production of plastics and other recyclable materials from CO2 and renewable substrates.
Best master’s thesis: Maria Gabriele Bauer researched coatings for medical plastic products
In her master’s thesis, Maria Gabriele Bauer dealt with the prevention of hospital pathogens, as around 45 percent of hospital infections can be traced back to medical equipment contaminated with biofilm. Disposable products used on a daily basis, such as catheters and tubes, represent the second most common cause of such infections. The aim of this thesis was to test a covalently bonded mucin coating on various medical plastics and to investigate its possible application as an anti-biofouling coating. This would prevent such hospital-induced infections and reduce the average length of stay of patients and their treatment costs.
Arburg Award as an important part of long-standing cooperation
The successful cooperation between Arburg and the Technical University of Munich has existed in many fields and for many years. Since 2016, it has also included the annual presentation of the Arburg Awards to graduates for
outstanding scientific papers. The candidates were nominated by the professors of the departments of plastics technology, medical technology and related scientific fields. A panel made up of four TUM professors of mechanical engineering examined the nominations and finally selected this year’s Arburg Award winners Dr.-Ing. Hannes Löwe and Maria Gabriele Bauer. At the presentation of the cash prizes and certificates, Dr.-Ing. E. h. Herbert Kraibühler and Michael Vieth congratulated the winners, praised their commitment and emphasised the importance of their research for the plastics and medical technology sectors.