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Over the next five years, the Pforzheim-based entrepreneurial couple Walter and Ingeborg Herrmann will donate EUR 500,000 through its Walter and Ingeborg Herrmann Foundation to the Department of Sustainable Systems Engineering – INATECH of the University of Freiburg - with the option of increasing the duration and raising the funding to a total of one million euros.

The Walter and Ingeborg Herrmann chairholder for Engineering of Functional Materials is Prof. Dr.-Ing. Frank Balle, who moved from the University of Kaiserslautern to the University of Freiburg on April 1, 2018. His research focuses on hybrid material systems created by combinations of materials. He uses power ultrasound to weld different materials together. "Our goal is lighter, more efficient and thus more sustainable structures that fulfill new functions and yet are cost-neutral in the production process," says Balle.

Walter and Ingeborg Herrmann founded Herrmann Ultraschalltechnik GmbH & Co. KG in Karlsbad (Karlsruhe district) in 1961 in Karlsbad (Karlsruhe). In addition to cancer research, youth and elderly care, its foundation also pursues the purpose of promoting science and research in the field of physics in regards to welding plastics and non-ferrous metals. With their financial support to INATECH, they want to contribute to the development of new engineering competencies and process techniques in this field. "It is important to us to combine ultrasonic joining technology with the important topics of tomorrow, especially sustainable mobility and energy concepts," emphasize Walter and Ingeborg Herrmann.

The University of Freiburg founded INATECH in 2015 at the Faculty of Engineering. It is the engineering core of the Sustainability Center, which the University operates in conjunction with the five Fraunhofer Institutes in Freiburg.