Technology

Production - from idea to market launch

When developing a product, companies are confronted with rapidly changing markets. For holistic production processes, it is important to analyze precisely all processes and technologies involved in the product lifecycle - from product development to production and logistics. Moreover, production processes have to be optimally synchronized with one another.

The institutes of the Fraunhofer Additive Manufacturing Alliance develop new applications by considering all current additive manufacturing technologies. In addition, we offer special systems and comprehensive hardware and software solutions for the following processes:

- Laser-based processes - metals and plastics

- 3D printing technologies - ceramics and photopolymers

- Process chains and subsequent processes

The Fraunhofer Additive Manufacturing Alliance offers you well-engineered and reproducible processes as well as individually adapted systems for your applications and products.

Project examples of the research topic Technology

© Fraunhofer IPK

Process chain for the production of highly complex turbine parts

Integration of additive technologies in the manufacturing of highly stressed producer goods like turbine components.

© Fraunhofer IWS

Generative laser wire cladding

The manufacturing of stamping tools contains currently complex and environmentally harmful etching processes

© Fraunhofer IGCV

Additive multiple-material construction of tools and molds

Adaptability of the additive manufacturing process for the production of optimized tools and mold inserts

© Fraunhofer IFF

Additive Manufacturing of Large Parts

A high production system that additively manufactures large parts out of a wide range of plastics is being developed in the ongoing project HP3D funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research

© Fraunhofer IGCV

The qualification of additive manufacturing processes for processing special materials

Additive manufacturing offers new potential for the implementation of functionally optimized designs

© Fraunhofer IWU

Utilization of lattice structures for structural leightweight design

The manufacturing of components containing lattice structures by laser-beam melting combines a weight reduction of the component with time- and cost savings during the production

© Fraunhofer IGCV

Functional combination of ceramics and metals

Metals and technical ceramics have different material properties. Typically ceramics possess a high hardness and a low conductivity. Thus they are used as isolators or as wear protection. Metals on the other hand are ductile and conductors.

© Fraunhofer EMI

Metallic components in batch production

The progressive degree of technological maturity, size, and productivity of the newest facilities for Selective Laser Melting (SLM) enable the first industrial batch production of medium sized metallic components.

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Current developments

Manufacture of metallic implants

Due to the almost unlimited geometric freedom in design and manufacturing and in combination with new materials, implant production by additive manufacturing is becoming more and more important. The potential to simulate bone formation by means of complex internal component structures and thus save weight while maintaining mechanical strength is almost unique. Examples of the growing range of materials include proven, biocompatible light metal alloys based on titanium (Ti6Al4V) as well as well-known CoCr-based materials. In combination with new design philosophies and simulation techniques, new approaches for products - such as implants with integrated reservoirs for long-term medication - are emerging.

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Laser and process development increase productivity and quality

 This is where we develop additive manufacturing processes such as Selective Laser Melting (SLM): Metallic and ceramic components respectively tools are produced by using SLM as a rapid prototyping and rapid manufacturing process.

The work of the alliance institutes includes process engineering, physical and material science basics, modelling to support and optimize process development and the development of components for beam guidance and shaping, for powder feed and for process monitoring and control. In addition, complete pilot plants are developed and installed.

The sole introduction of additive manufacturing technology into production is no longer enough. Rather, it requires a comprehensive implementation of additive logic in the entire production chain - from pre-planning and design through to further development and adaptation of systems and materials. The tasks are manifold and complex.

Automation of additive technologies

In addition to the core process of printing, the additive processes in production require the integration of upstream and downstream steps. These often include automated handling of materials and components, cleaning and quality control, for example using image processing systems. Process reliability and process reproducibility are central criteria in the development of new applications.

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Hybrid machining technologies

The alliance institutes develop hybrid processing technologies for the machining and sheet metal forming of difficult-to-machine materials. The process organization allows the complete machining of complex shaped components. Even with small batch sizes and a large number of variants, flexible and efficient production is possible.

The work of the alliance institutes includes the development of new applications based on customer specifications (material adaptation, geometry, cost-effectiveness, product quality and environmental conditions). This applies both the development and optimization of individual components and subsystems as well as the construction of complete production plants.