IWK Institut für Werkstofftechnik und Kunststoffverarbeitung

IWK Institut für Werkstofftechnik und Kunststoffverarbeitung

IWK Institut für Werkstofftechnik und Kunststoffverarbeitung


The IWK (institute for plastic processing and material technologies), founded in 2005, is Switzerland's leading research institution for part design and production in plastics technology with about 50 employees. Our objective is to combine science and practice for innovative solutions with modern materials and production technologies.

The IWK is part of the OST - Eastern Switzerland University of Applied Sciences and is dedicated to advancing application-oriented research and development. With a focus on innovation and expertise, the institute collaborates with industry and academic partners to drive project-based cooperation and knowledge transfer.


  • Materials
    Materials development and production, materials characterization, materials testing, failure analysis, thermoplastics and fibre-reinforced plastics, light metals, adhesives, multi-material structures
  • Part development
    Design and calculation of plastic and composite structures; lightweight construction, material selection, CAD, FEM, structural analysis, process simulation
  • Processing technologies
    Compounding, extrusion, injection molding, resin injection and autoclave technology, forming processes, tool and process technology, function and process integration

The IWK has established itself as a competence centre for the most important polymer processing methods in Switzerland. Specifically, this project will involve research in the fields of injection molding, compounding/extrusion, additive manufacturing, and composites.

Description of researchers

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Frank Ehrig

Prof. Dr. Frank Ehrig graduated and obtained his doctorate at the Institute for Plastics Processing (IKV) at RWTH Aachen University, Germany. After two more years as head of the injection molding department, he was employed by Weidmann Plastics Technology AG, Switzerland, in 2000, where he became head of technical development for the automotive sector.

In 2005, he was elected professor at the University of Applied Sciences Rapperswil (HSR) and head of the new Institute for Materials Science and Plastics Processing (IWK). Since 2020, Prof. Ehrig also heads the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the newly founded University of Applied Sciences of Eastern Switzerland (OST). His research focuses on part design and injection molding.

Curdin Wick

Curdin Wick is the head of the injection molding team at IWK. After completing an apprenticeship as a technical designer, he pursued a degree in mechanical engineering with a specialization in plastics technology. He earned his M.Sc. in 2017 and joined IWK as a scientific employee focused on injection molding. In 2020, he was promoted to head of the injection molding team and now also serves as a lecturer in mechanical engineering.

Jose-Manuel Suarez

In 2016, he joined IWK as a specialist for Tool Technology. Prior to that, he completed an apprenticeship as a Toolmaker and later pursued a degree in Process engineering. He has many years of experience as an Operating Manager in mold Making and as the Head of Procurement for an internationally recognized Automotive Supplier.

Prof. Daniel Schwendemann

Daniel Schwendemann is Professor and the head of the compounding and extrusion team at IWK. He studied mechanical engineering with a focus on plastics science at the University of Stuttgart. He then joined the process engineering department of the compounding machine manufacturer Coperion GmbH and later became Group Manager for long and natural fibre reinforced plastics. Since 2010 he has been working at the institute and is the expert for new materials, recycling and circular economy, extrusion processes and biopolymers.

Prof. Dr. Samuel Affolter

Samuel Affolter studied Chemistry at ETH in Zurich, where he also graduated for his Ph.D. From 1989 he worked in polymer industry leading a test lab; here he also developed rubber and thermoplastic material formulations. Later he joined EMPA St. Gall focusing on ageing and weathering of polymers. 2001 he moved to OST in Buchs and worked as lecturer; here he also developed with his team adhesive and cast formulations with functional properties and long term stability. Furthermore he organised over two decades many international round robin tests in order to estimate measurement uncertainties of various polymer analytical test methods. 2022 he changed to OST, IWK Rapperswil to support the various teams in questions on polymer chemistry, material evaluation and chemical analytics.

Prof. Dr. Mario Studer

Prof. dr. Mario Studer graduated from the University of Applied Science in Rapperswil and got his Master of Science at the ETH Zurich. Then he continued his doctoral studies at the RWTH Aachen in the area of injection molding simulation. Afterwards Mario Studer worked for the industry in the research and development department for six years, where he was responsible for the process monitoring in injection molding and the 3D-printing department.

In 2022 he returned to the Institute, where his research focuses on the simulation and design of plastic parts and processes.

Bianca Fahrni

Bianca Fahrni is the assistant at the IWK. In this role she acts both as link between the employees and the institutes management and between the institute and the university itself.

Her work at the institute requires a high level of organizational, analytical, communication und interpersonal skills. Using these skills and her experience in the administration environment she supports the project in different stages.

Pro. Dr. Gion A. Barandun

Gion A. Barandun studied Mechanical Engineering at ETH Zurich. In his PhD thesis, carried out at the Centre for Structural Technologies, he developed and verified simulation and optimization methods for RTM processes. In 2007, he moved to the IWK, where he was elected Professor for Composite Technology and Lightweight Design in 2016. He is member of the board of Composites United Switzerland and Technical Director of the Swiss SAMPE Chapter.

Daniel Omidvarkarjan

Daniel Omidvarkarjan is the Head of Additive Manufacturing at the IWK Institute for Material Science and Plastics Processing at the Eastern Switzerland University of Applied Sciences. In his research, he focuses on the value-driven adoption of Additive Manufacturing in the industry. Previously, he worked as a research engineer at Inspire AG. During that time, he conducted his doctoral studies at the ETH Zurich.

Prof. Dr. Pierre Jousset

Prof. Dr. Pierre Jousset is Professor and the head of the joining technologies team at IWK. He previously worked as a Principal Scientist in Material Mechanics at Sika Technology AG and as a Computational Engineer at Altair Engineering. He holds a Ph.D. in advanced Mechanics from UTC Compiègne, which he earned for his research on "Constitutive modelling of structural adhesives: experimental and numerical aspects"