– 22 institutes conduct research in several dozen fields. What is a great strength of Łukasiewicz is the fact that the network combines these competences – says Andrzej Dybczyński, president of the Łukasiewicz Research Network. As part of the “Science is a Polish specialty” series, we visited one of the institutes associated in the network: Łukasiewicz – Industrial Automotive Institute.
The Łukasiewicz Research Network is a Polish research network consisting of 22 institutes, which primarily carries out research and development works for business. The institutes gathered in the network develop new technologies and innovative solutions to improve the operation of enterprises, and also deal with e.g. certification or standardization.
The Łukasiewicz Research Network increases the efficiency of its institutes
Its president told us about the activities of the Łukasiewicz Research Network as part of the series “Science is a Polish specialty”. Andrzej Dybczyński emphasizes how important the decision to merge several dozen scientific institutes was, which resulted in the creation of the Network in 2019.
– The creation of the Łukasiewicz Research Network was possible thanks to a wise and courageous political decision. Regardless of how we judge politicians, I believe with all responsibility that it was a wise and courageous decision. – evaluates the president of the Łukasiewicz Research Network. – This decision was not supported by everyone, but thanks to it it was possible to connect the institutes and increase their efficiency – underlines. – We are able to cooperate between institutes, we are able to optimize everything that is a natural, administrative or bureaucratic burden in the operation of each research unit, each scientific unit. Thanks to this, we are able to be closer to the customer, be faster and more efficient. Be a better cooperation partner he adds.
The activity of the Łukasiewicz Research Network is very specific. An entrepreneur who is looking for an innovative solution for his company can “challenge” the Łukasiewicz Research Network through a simple form on the website. Then, the Network contacts the client and within 15 days from the notification, the problem is analyzed by all institutes, and the Network presents proposed solutions free of charge. Then the client decides whether to cooperate.
– The client defines the problem. Our research teams are considering whether this problem can be solved by developing a new technology or a new technical solution. If so, we propose a specific financing model to the client, decide how to share intellectual property, create this solution, test it and deliver it to the client – explains Andrzej Dybczyński. – 22 institutes conduct research in several dozen fields. What is a great strength of Łukasiewicz is also the fact that the network combines these competences – he emphasizes.
The Łukasiewicz Center coordinates the work of the institutes. – He makes sure that the standards of the network’s functioning are as effective as possible, so that those institutes where there is an area to improve efficiency improve this efficiency as intensively and as aggressively as possible. The Center also deals with the coordination of work between institutes, in order to take advantage of the fact that since we combine several dozen different disciplines in our activities, coordination is needed that allows you to bring out all the advantages of the multidisciplinarity of the research network – points out Andrzej Dybczyński.
We asked for an example of a solution developed by the Łukasiewicz Research Network. – I will not give examples as breathtaking as anti-aircraft missiles or recovering gold from electronic scrap. Let me give you a much more trivial example, but at the same time my favorite one – onion – mentioned the president of the Research Network Łukasiewicz. – When peeling onions industrially, we lose about 40 percent. her weight. This is not a problem when we peel three onions at home. When we peel 300 tons of onions a month, it becomes a problem. The technology developed by Łukasiewicz made it possible to reduce losses from 40 percent. up to 7 percent From the perspective of an entrepreneur who buys and delivers hundreds of tons of onions a year to processors, this is real money that stays in the company – he explains. “Using Łukasiewicz simply pays off,” he emphasizes.
“We can accumulate our research potential”
One of the research institutes gathered in the network is Łukasiewicz – Industrial Automotive Institute, which we visited with a camera. The Institute deals with research in the field of automotive technologies, and its offer is addressed to entrepreneurs in the automotive industry, transport, fuel and renewable energy sources, as well as national defense and security, seeking R&D support in the process of improving and introducing their products to the market.
– The needs of entrepreneurs are different, but of course we are approached by manufacturers who have an idea for new technologies, for improving their own products, and we are organizing a research and development project that is supposed to make the manufacturer’s product better – tells us the director of the institute Łukasiewicz – PIMOT dr hab. Eng. Witold Luty.
Within the Institute’s Technology Research and Development Center there are several laboratories performing research and tests, such as the Vehicle Safety Laboratory, the Simulation Research Laboratory, or the Vehicle Testing Laboratory, as well as research groups: Fuels and Bioeconomy and New Technologies in the Automotive Industry, which acquire and implement various projects research and development. – Today we have a number of inquiries in the context of testing battery packs or energy storage for electric vehicles – lists director. Witold Luty.
In addition, the Institute has a Homologation and Certification Department. – Unfortunately, the automotive industry has it that in many cases, admission to the market is possible only after obtaining approval. We help manufacturers achieve this goal by handling the approval processes and performing the tests necessary for this confirmation – he points out.
At the Łukasiewicz-PIMOT Institute, we also had the opportunity to see a vehicle that is used to work on algorithms that can recognize objects on the road. – It is an electric car equipped with elements that enable development work in the field of its autonomy – indicated Dr. Hab. Eng. Witold Luty. We also saw elements of equipment that are used to test vehicle autonomization systems. – This equipment is used for so that such tests in accordance with the requirements can be carried out already for systems supporting the work of the driver. We are preparing to test the contributions of autonomization and automation of transport – he added.
We also visited the electromagnetic compatibility chamber, which allows for testing possible interferences produced by electric vehicles and external interferences that may affect the operation of the electric vehicle itself and testing how the vehicle will react to various types of interference.
– It is a unique chamber due to its size and our research capabilities, because the chamber itself is also equipped with equipment that allows testing both entire large vehicles, but also their equipment in the context of electromagnetic compatibility – he emphasized.
The director of the Łukasiewicz – PIMOT institute also pointed out what being part of a larger network gives his research unit.
– The Łukasiewicz PIMOT Institute is in the elite club of Łukasiewicz institutes that have been operating independently until now. Today, we are part of one research network, Łukasiewicz emphasized, pointing out that thanks to this, the institute can directly and easily access the resources of other institutes. – We can accumulate our research potential to achieve a specific research goal or a specific service together, which so far we could not do in such a simplified form – he points out.