The Fraunhofer IPT develops systems solutions for production. We focus on the topics of process technology, production machines, production quality and metrology as well as technology management.
Our clients and cooperation partners represent all fields of industry: from aerospace technology to the automotive industry and its suppliers as well as tool and die making companies and the precision mechanics, optics and machine tool industries in particular.
The institute currently employs around 460 people who are dedicated to applying their creativity to a range of projects.
Additive production process chains in industry
Additive Manufacturing – also commonly referred to as 3D printing – is exerting increasing influence on business processes world-wide. As one of the key technologies in digitalized production within the Industrie 4.0 initiative, Additive Manufacturing will have an impact on existing supply chains and will generate new business models.
We at the Fraunhofer IPT regard 3D printing not as a substitute for classical manufacturing but rather as an enrichment of existing processes and process chains: The future lies in intelligent combination of production processes and in their integration within overarching supply chains. The capacity for connectivity and the adaptability of the processes hold out the promise of increasingly customizable products in unparalleled diversity
Integration of Additive Processes into Industrial Manufacturing
In order to integrate additive manufacturing processes into new or already established process chains, the Fraunhofer IPT develops suitable system solutions as well as consulting and practical support - from the evaluation of technical feasibility and selecting of hardware to the design of the required manufacturing processes.
At the beginning, a rough and detailed analysis of the components and products is carried out: Based on their characteristic criteria, we evaluate their suitability for additive manufacturing technologies, choose appropriate processes and assess the manufacturing readiness level, options for automatization, production costs etc.
To deduce concrete measures, we hence rely on well-founded market studies and future-oriented scenarios and employ our own software tools for process evaluations. We offer longstanding experience, also regarding the evaluation of possible partners and suppliers, which enables us to support manufacturing companies in terms of integrating additive manufacturing into their production and making solid make-or-buy decisions.
Software Solutions for Companies and the Integration of Addivte Manufacturing Processes
Additive manufacturing processes require suitable software – both during application as well as for preliminary selecting, evaluating and monitoring.
For this purpose, the Fraunhofer IPT develops adaptive software solutions for designing CAx process chains, CAM modules for laser weld cladding as well as for evaluating process chains and the potential of additive manufacturing technologies in production.
To integrate additive processes into the manufacturing process chains of companies, the Fraunhofer IPT developed their own CAx framework: Components can thus be pre-simulated in form of "digital twins" by means of defined "function blocks", enabling a constant alignment of real data and direct processing of the components.
Optimization of Additive Manufacturing Technologies
We further develop manufacturing processes revolving around additive manufacturing for various industry sectors and product groups.
This includes additive processes themselves, such as powder- or wire-based laser clad welding, but also subtractive processes like milling, turning, cutting and polishing as a part of pre- or post-processing as well as hybrid processes using both. Special additive processes like tape laying or two-photon polymerization - on micro level - complement the technology range of the Fraunhofer IPT.
We develop customer-oriented processing strategies and technologies - from high-gloss surface finish, through the processing of functional surfaces to the removal of support segments. The desired quality is ensured by extensive optical and tactile metrology.