Thank you to the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) for funding the project »Energieeffizienz elektrochemischer Beschichtungsprozesse und -anlagen: ECOPLATE«.

The ECOPLATE project seeks to improve the energy efficiency of electroplating plants and processes. Funding has been obtained via the umbrella “BMBF Funding Program to establish joint research centers with partners in the Asia-Pacific Research Area (APRA)”. The Funding Agency is the German Aerospace Center (DLR). The ECOPLATE project provides us with the opportunity to foster a close partnership in electroplating with the Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok within the specific scope of energy efficiency in industrial electroplating and to open a research station at Chulalongkorn University.


Project week and training courses

Bangkok, July 2023

Once again, intensive project work was carried out on site, this time with the focus on supporting the multitude of projects from the Thai side as counter-financing for the research station. Furthermore, the question of finding funding opportunities for follow-up projects was addressed again.

Conference and multinational workshops

Bangkok, June 2023

In 2023, the status of ECOPLATE was again presented at the Surface and Coating Conference in the BITEC Conference Center. Before that, joint cooperation talks were held with delegations from Taiwan, Singapore and Korea, joint research ideas were developed and possible cooperations were discussed up to a close integration of the individual associations and institutes beyond national borders.

Annual planning and expansion of the research station

Bangkok and Taipei, January 2023

Here the annual plan for the year 2023 was determined, in particular with regard to joint conferences and the involvement of other partners. Other industrial partners of the Thai electroplating association TEPNET were also visited together. In addition, the NUU campus in Taiwan was visited on this trip to discuss a joint idea for a CRONET project.

Cooperation trip

Taiwan, December 2022

From the previous discussions, also from the video conferences during COVID and the on-site visit before Covid, the Taiwanese Surface Finishing Association TSFA and the National United University NUU in Taiwan have proven to be other very interesting possible partners. Various project ideas and cooperation approaches were discussed in Taipei. Here, too, funding opportunities are the greatest challenge. This visit was not possible at an earlier date because Taiwan was very late in easing the entry bans caused by Covid.

Joint cooperation trip

Singapore, November 2022

From the previous discussions, also from the video conferences during COVID, the organization ASTAR in Singapore has proven to be a very interesting possible partner. Scientists from the MMRI and the IPA were on site together to explore cooperation and to discuss project ideas and funding opportunities. As is so often the case, project financing is the greatest challenge. A very good common basis was quickly found on a content and personal level.

Cooperation visit

University of Sion, October 2022

Together with two professors from the MMRI, a visit to the university in Sion took place with Prof. Manfred Zinn. This happened as part of the BIOPLATE project, which is funded under the SEA Europe joint funding scheme.

Strategy discussion ECOPLATE roadmap

Bangkok, September 2022

During this visit, the future orientation of the research station was discussed intensively and a workshop was held on the future integration of partners from other nations. These discussions were naturally heavily influenced by the energy crisis.

Training and project work

Fraunhofer IPA, Stuttgart, July 2022

Two scientists from the MMRI were in the laboratory at the Fraunhofer IPA in Stuttgart for the purpose of project work and training. This visit was financed by the Thai side from project funds as part of the joint BIOPLATE project.

Surface and Coating Forum Bangkok

Bangkok, June 2022

The conference and trade fair activities could also be resumed. The status of ECOPLATE and the approaches that emerged from the project were presented at the Surface and Coating Forum in the BITEC Conference Center.

Resumption of extensive activities

Chulalongkorn University, MMRI ECOPLATE Lab, April 2022

In the laboratory, too, it was possible to return to normal operation with several people (albeit with protective measures such as masks). On this trip, the focus was on the further development of the infrastructure in the research station and the revision of test facilities that had to remain unused due to Covid. Training measures were also carried out (also in connection with SCHOOLPLATE).

Workshops and industry visits

Chulalongkorn University, MMRI, February 2022

After the restrictions were relaxed further, larger workshops with companies could be held again. At the core of this journey was the innovative ability of small and medium-sized enterprises, which was the first step towards a project idea called IDE (Innovation Driven Enterprises).

Resumption of on-site activities

Bangkok, November 2021

As soon as entry into Thailand was possible again without a quarantine of several weeks, the on-site activities were resumed. It was still subject to major restrictions (e.g. test and go quarantine in certified hotels), access to the university was still partially restricted and the otherwise lively Bangkok was unrecognizable, but the first steps back to a normal operating point could still be taken.

Bridging the Covid time

Video Conference, during Covid time

During the global lockdown, what is at the heart of the project, on-site stays to set up the research station, was of course not possible. Nevertheless, this time was used to prepare project ideas through monthly video conferences between MMRI and IPA. This was supplemented by video conferences with other partners to expand the network, above all institutions and associations from Singapore, Taiwan and India.

ECOPLATE Lab design and planning additional infrastructure

Chulalongkorn University, MMRI ECOPLATE Lab, February 2020

After completion of the core renovation work in the MMRI laboratories, the laboratory layout was rethought and measures affecting the visibility of the individual projects and the extensive cooperation were implemented. In addition, the configuration of further infrastructure components in the ECOPLATE laboratory was defined. Unfortunately, at the time of these measures, the corona virus had already started spreading, so this was the last meeting to take place before the general shutdown.

Kick Off SCHOOLPLATE project

Chulalongkorn University, MMRI ECOPLATE Lab, January 2020

The SCHOOLPLATE project resulting from ECOPLATE was officially started together with the Thai partners and the demanding project plan was discussed and adopted. Exact information can be found here.

Closing discussion in 2019 and scheduling 2020

Bangkok, December 2019

Shortly before Christmas, the activities undertaken in 2019 were analyzed, taking into account what worked particularly well and where there is still room for improvement. The project plan for 2020 was also adopted, with special attention being paid to planning international workshops, rolling out service offers and planning further research projects and publications. At the time, nobody had a clue that the situation in 2020 was going to be so different due to external influences.

Two members of MMRI training in Stuttgart – Phase 4

Stuttgart, Fraunhofer IPA, November 2019

Supported by NXPO (formerly STI), two MMRI members came to IPA for training purposes. The focus of the training measure in this case was on further developing skills in chemical analysis and process control & stability. The development of such expertise promotes the long-term strategic focus of the research station.

Visit of the former Thai ambassador to IPA

Stuttgart, Fraunhofer IPA, November 2019

The former Thai Ambassador, Her Excellency Nongnuth Phetcharatana, visited IPA. Today, she is Special Advisor to the Eastern Economic Corridor / EECO. The possibilities of expanding the research cooperation between IPA and Thailand and establishing the research station as a center for networks in Asia were discussed in detail.

Preparation of further international workshops and projects

Bangkok, October 2019

In order to establish the ECOPLATE research station as a center for an electroplating network in Asia, workshops with international partners were planned to analyze the innovation systems of surface technology in an international comparison and also to derive needs in the area of human resources. The last steps to initiate the SCHOOLPLATE project were also discussed.

Two members of MMRI training in Stuttgart – Phase 3

Stuttgart, Fraunhofer IPA, July 2019

Supported by NXPO (formerly STI), two MMRI members visited IPA for training purposes. The focus of the training measure in this case was on developing service skills to improve process stability from the aspect of metallography as well as on plant technology for experimental test setups. The development of such expertise promotes the long-term strategic focus of the research station.

Improving the visibility of ECOPLATE for plating companies

Bangkok Area, September 2019

To support the strategy measure “Research station for industry”, service offers for the electroplating industry in Southeast Asia were developed and tested on site as a demonstrator. These include consulting services to increase energy efficiency, simulation calculations for electroplating companies and services to increase process stability.

Two members of MMRI training in Stuttgart – Phase 2

Stuttgart, Fraunhofer IPA, July 2019

Supported by NXPO (formerly STI), two MMRI members came to IPA a second time for training purposes. In this case, the focus was on systematic troubleshooting in electroplating productions in order to lower reject rates and improve energy efficiency and material efficiency.

Industry workshops on electric field simulation

Bangkok Area, July 2019

Electrochemical field simulation is a tool used to fine tune the dimensional accuracy of layers during electroplating, thus improving both energy and material efficiency. In various on-site workshops at plating companies, requirements and feasibility were examined in order to derive future topics for R&D projects.

Surface and coatings forum and fair

BITEC Conference Center, Bangkok, June 2019

The progress made by ECOPLATE was presented to an audience of around 300 listeners. The focus was on the aspects of global warming through CO2 emissions and how measures in electroplating processes and plant engineering (i.e. exactly the core of ECOPLATE) can help to reduce emissions and thus contribute to protecting the climate.

Expansion of the infrastructure in the research station

Chulalongkorn University, MMRI ECOPLATE Lab, February 2019

The infrastructure for experimental work in the ECOPLATE research station was extended by another IPA-specific test facility. A test setup for conducting in-situ measurements of residual stresses in electroplated layers was sent to Bangkok and installed in the research station.

BMBF Fact-Finding Mission in Bangkok

Bangkok, Rectorate of Chulalongkorn University, January 25, 2019

As part of a BMBF fact-finding mission, the cooperation under ECOPLATE was presented to and discussed with a delegation from BMBF, BIBB, embassy representatives, industry representatives from TEPNET and the management team of Chulalongkorn University. The participants emphasized the importance of ECOPLATE as a benchmark for Thai - German research cooperation. In addition, the first concrete steps for the SCHOOLPLATE project were initiated.

Training workshop for industrial electroplaters to increase efficiency in production processes

Chulalongkorn University Bangkok, November 15–16, 2018

Successful training of electroplaters to improve energy and material efficiency in production processes.

Kick-off meeting and coordination workshops for TRF-IRN funded project

Bangkok, Chulalongkorn University and STI office, November 15–19, 2018

Kick-off meeting for the TRF-IRN funded project, which aims to increase energy and material efficiency in zinc electroplating by enhancing process reliability. An additional workshop was held concerning industrial needs for electroplating processes and human resources at STI to discuss the next steps in this part of the co-operation network of IPA, Chulalongkorn, TEPNET, STI

Meeting at Ministry of Foreign Affairs with BIBB

Bangkok, August 3, 2018

Installation of IPA Electrolyte Test Bench at the MMRI Lab

Chulalongkorn University, MMRI Lab, Bangkok, June 27, 2018

One of the special electrolyte test benches, which was designed, engineered and manufactured by the IPA electroplating department, was shipped and installed at an MMRI lab. This presents us with the opportunity of establishing the same experimental basis in Stuttgart and Bangkok. Installation was carried out by Klaus Schmid, with the MMRI electroplating team also heavily involved.

Meeting with Head of Science and Technology Department of the German Embassy

Chulalongkorn University, June 26, 2018

The ECOPLATE project, station and lab were presented to and discussed with Mr. Knut Zuchan, First Secretary and Head of Science and Technology Department of the German embassy.

Surface and coatings forum and fair

BITEC Conference Center, Bangkok, June 22, 2018

ECOPLATE was presented at the conference to an audience of around 300 people, while visitors to the TEPNET booth also had the chance to find out all about the project. The president of the Taiwanese Surface Finishing Association (TSFA) was also present, strengthening links to Taiwan. 

Delegation visiting Stuttgart

Stuttgart, Fraunhofer IPA June 4–8, 2018

A delegation from Chulalongkorn University and TEPNET visited Germany. The trip was supported by ECOPLATE and STI and involved further workshops to analyze needs in specific R+D subjects, an extensive lab tour at IPA and visits to the Schwäbisch Gmünd vocational school for electroplating in addition to the companies Umicore and Fischer. TEPNET was also represented by the delegtaion at the Surface Technology GERMANY fair in Stuttgart, with Prof. Boonyonmaneerat additionally holding a speech at the forum. 

Two members of MMRI training in Stuttgart

Stuttgart, Fraunhofer IPA April 23–27, 2018

In preparation for working with an IPA Electrolyte Test Bench at MMRI, two MMRI members have been to IPA for training. This trip additionally served to support the electroplating industry in improving efficiency by reducing the scrap rate. 

Taiwanese Surface Finishing Association (TSFA) conference

Taichung, 26–27, October 2017

ECOPLATE was presented at the TSFA conference to an audience of around 250 people as an example of new co-operation projects.

Analysis of needs workshops

Pathumwan Princess Hotel and Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, October 17–21, 2017

A series of workshops was held with the electroplating industry concerning analysis of needs for R+D, with additional support from the Thai STI. 

The ECOPLATE Opening Meeting

Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, August 3-21, 2017

In the very first week after launching the project, the kick-off meeting was held on-site at MMRI.