Industrial secondment at Evonik Industries AG

Picture: After visit to compounding floor, Marl (From left to right: Philip Engel (Head of Segment Medical Systems Europe, Evonik), Joscha Sandhusen (Compounding Technology, Evonik), Dilesh Raj Shrestha (PhD ESR, BioTrib-LTU), and Nazanin Emami (Professor, LTU)

I recently had the opportunity to visit two Evonik Industries AG sites in Germany (Marl and Darmstadt) as part of my industrial secondment. Evonik is one of the world’s largest specialty chemical companies, with a diverse business portfolio. Evonik is also active in the medical industry, manufacturing high-performance plastics like Poly Ether Ether Ketone (PEEK) for various implant applications. Evonik located at Marl Chemical Park, Evonik’s largest chemical park, where I spent my first week learning PEEK polymer processing and compounding. We were able to meet with experts in PEEK compounding development and have an in-depth discussion about current challenges and prospects.

I relocated to Evonik Darmstadt for the final three weeks of my secondment. In Darmstadt, Evonik has a tribology lab dedicated for material screening. I worked on the tribology test setup and wear data interpretation for medical implant applications. This provided me with an understanding of the clinically relevant tribological test setup required for material screening as well as the data interpretation techniques. I had the opportunity to meet with and speak with the medical implant team, where I learned about the industrial approach as well as their thoughts on moving forward with PEEK medical implant applications.

Finally, I’d like to express my gratitude to everyone who assisted in organizing this secondment and making it a fruitful learning experience.

This article was written by Dilesh Raj Shrestha as part of an ongoing series of scientific communications written and curated by BioTrib’s Early Stage Researchers.

Dilesh is researching the Development of 3D-printable, self-lubricated polymer composites with improved wear resistance for total joint replacement at Luleå University of Technology, Sweden.