Solar panels provide light and movement

Weinheim. November 22, 2013. A solar panel perched on the roof of a house storing energy. The house is lit at night. Next to it – in the garden – a wind-mill, turning slowly, its engine powered by a solar cell. This is the scene inside a cubed, perspex display case, measuring 15 centimeters in length. “We wanted to show how electricity is obtained from solar energy,” says Patricia Glombitza, a student. “It’s a key issue for the future.” No sooner said than done.  Today, 19 students from the Baden Württemberg Cooperative State University’s (DHBW) engineering faculty, who completed apprenticeships at the Freudenberg Group, will be presenting their “Space 15” project results at the Training Center. “With the project, we hope to be able to awaken interest for technical jobs,” explains Dr. Rainer Kuntz, Head of the Training Center. “At the same time, we are improving the ability of young people to solve problems and encouraging them to work independently.” According to Dr. Kuntz in his speech, the students had yet again demonstrated a high degree of creativity and technical know-how with their enterprising ideas.

The three football fanatics, Fabian Klee, Daniel Schmitt and Florian Spiegelhalter, built an illuminated, mini table football with removable crank handles and blue and white football players. The team, who presented their display case dressed in football jerseys, convinced the jury in all three categories and won the competition for the best idea. “We want to engender enthusiasm for engineering using football,” explained Klee. “This is the first interactive cube.” The exact dimensions of the cube and fitting the counter posed a number of challenges.

“When someone lies, he sweats and skin resistance is reduced. Two sensors placed on the fingers measure this resistance and light up the LEDs,” said Yevhenia Bass, explaining how her lie detector works. The simple, entertaining machine thrilled the public and Bass achieved second place with her extraordinary idea. Third place went to the display case from Savina Menke and Louis Richter – “A test device for Simmerrings.”

Together with Jana Iwanowitsch, Glombitza worked on the solar energy cube together for an entire week. Their project was also a challenging one. “For example, when there wasn’t enough sun, the solar panel was too weak, to drive the engine. So we resorted to using lamps,” says Glombitza. “The most important lesson we learned was to re-think and plan again.”

The aim of the project initiated in 2009 by Freudenberg, the Fraunhofer Institut for Chemical Technology in Karlsruhe and other companies is to promote an understanding for technology and creative solutions. The teams of up to three students each had 50 Euros available. The projects were evaluated in the categories idea, execution and presentation. The students learned the basics of manual and technical workmanship in the workshop at the training center.

Projects such as these, where technology and creative solutions are sought-after, contribute towards training enterprising and skilled employees. The development of creative solutions and the independent management of projects are important pre-requisites for career advancement and support the Freudenberg Group in continuing to be successful.