Project examples of the research topic Engineering

© Fraunhofer IFF

Additive Manufacturing Process Step Simulation Concomitant to Development

The software tool VINCENT for planning motion and simulating robots in additive manufacturing of large parts is being developed in an ongoing project

© Fraunhofer IPK

Product development

Simulation and additive manufacturing of lightweight structures in turbine components

Setup of an additive process chain consisting of selective laser melting (SLM) and laser metal deposition (LMD)

© Fraunhofer IWU

Miniature Heat Exchanger

This counterflow water/water miniature heat exchanger was designed for and manufactured by Laser Beam Melting in order to demonstrate achievable efficiency compared to conventional plate heat exchangers

© Fraunhofer IPK

Build-up strategies for additive manufacturing with LMD

Additive manufacturing with LMD allows the production of near net-shaped parts. However any slight irregularity in one layer can add up with time and result in component deviations.

© Fraunhofer IWU

Functionally Integrated Implant – MUGETO ®

This component is a prototype of a hip stem endoprosthesis, which shows the potential of additive manufacturing for medical applications, demonstrating the feasibility to integrate different functions in one part

© Fraunhofer IGCV

Mesoscopic lightweight design using honeycombs

Design of lattice and honeycomb structures for additive manufacturing under the bionic approach of force-optimized adaptation

© Fraunhofer IWM

Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM)

Optimal layout of an artificial vascular system

The supply of biological tissue with nutrients by an artificial vascular system is a current challenge for Tissue Engineering. At the Fraunhofer IWM the optimal layout of an additively manufactured vascular system was investigated.

© Fraunhofer IWU


As part of the "HiperFormTool“ project, it was investigated how the cycle time during press hardening can be significantly reduced by additively manufactured, active tool components. The thermal behavior of the tools and the forming process were simulated for different conformal cooling geometries.

© Fraunhofer IGCV

Optimization of a reamer

The layered construction in additive manufacturing allows new degrees of freedom in the construction of components and thereby expands the available solution space.

© Fraunhofer IWM

Optimal layout for functionally graded materials

An increasing number of additive manufacturing processes allows the user to design locally different material parameters. This may be achieved by using different process parameters or by combining different materials.

© Fraunhofer IFAM

Additive Manufacturing of lightweight components

The work packages of Fraunhofer IFAM comprise the areas of powder, construction and component manufacturing

© Fraunhofer EMI

Additive Design Guidelines

A metallic structural component of an aircraft cargo door is optimized with regards to lightweight construction. Design and process based guidelines are developed for an effective product development of the Additive Manufacturing of this component.

© Fraunhofer EMI

Approaches for the development of small satellites

The application of Additive Design and Manufacturing, including the structural optimization for start- and mission loads aiming for lightweight constructions, allows for new possibilities in the development of small satellites and their payloads.

Solutions for man and machine

Using nature as a model, researchers develop ideas and products that can be specifically adapted to environmental conditions. In this way, the behavior of mechanical structures can be specifically influenced: Reducing weight, increasing stiffness or actively controlling the shape. The right design methodology, applied in early phases of the development process, delivers major advances in terms of product quality.

From the concept idea to the prototype to the product release, the alliance institutes support you in the design and method-supported product and process development:

  • Product design - Bionic and aesthetic design

The Fraunhofer Competence Field Additive Manufacturing supports you in the design and optimization of your (new) products, in the application and company-related adaptation of modern virtual and physical prototypes, and in the design of your production processes.

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Product design

New production methods inspire industrial design. The interaction of form and technology constantly creates new products. Additive technologies as manufacturing methods offer industrial designers, but also other target groups, the highest degree of freedom in product development.

Bionic design

The solution of constructive tasks according to models from nature is already implemented in many technical applications. Thanks to the great design freedom offered by additive manufacturing processes, it is possible to copy lightweight structures from nature and make them available without regard to manufacturing restrictions - a much better and more direct translation of bionic models into technical solutions.

Design according to "additive" principles

For all traditional manufacturing processes such as milling, turning or injection molding, there are fixed design guidelines. Many things cannot be manufactured or are associated with great effort. The additive manufacturing processes are subject to far fewer restrictions. The traditional design rules do not apply here and must be disregarded consistently in some cases in order to exploit all the advantages of the processes. The statement that complexity in manufacturing does not cause costs or even saves them is only a small part of the rethinking process that has to take place.

Current developments

Design rules for plastic laser sintering

The geometric freedom offered by additive manufacturing processes allows a new design to be established in the product world. Organic forms, complex lightweight structures and free form surfaces are only some of the design elements, which coin/shape the aesthetics of the additively manufactured product range in future. Individual manufacturing makes "mass customization" possible and the customer can actively intervene in the design process.

Individual plastic prostheses

An amputation is always associated with a tragic fate. Serious accidents and life-threatening diseases precede every amputation. Every amputation is associated with a long rehabilitation phase.

Individual solutions are indispensable in order to provide an amputee with the best possible care. However, the integration of highly technical components, such as computer-chip-controlled knee joints and myoelectric controls, provides only a single component of successful patient care. Other characteristics are usually decisive for patient satisfaction: the prosthesis must fit the body exactly. It should be very light and look good. This is where additive manufacturing can score points.

Implementing bionic structures

Nature often creates "lightweight solutions" through complex hierarchical structures. Graded component properties contribute to strength and reliability. In a current research project, cellular trabecular structures are adapted to the shape of the component and locally adapted to the mechanical requirements.

Our services

Design guidelines

With additive manufacturing processes, as with the traditional manufacturing processes, design guidelines and rules are to be considered, which decide on the success or failure of a solution. The Fraunhofer Competence Field Additive Manufacturing offers advice on a variety of tasks and the appropriate manufacturing processes and materials. We are also happy to advise you on different product-related standards and regulations in combination with additive manufacturing processes.

With our expertise in additive processes, we also develop manufacturing processes such as Selective Laser Melting (SLM). Metallic and ceramic components can be produced by using SLM as a rapid prototyping and rapid manufacturing process.

The work of the member institutes includes process engineering, physical and materials science fundamentals, modelling to support and optimize process development, and the development of components for beam guidance and shaping, powder supply and process monitoring and control. Furthermore, we develop and install complete pilot plants.

Product development

The additive manufacturing technologies allow a flexible construction within shortest time. Drawings, tool construction and the procurement of semi-finished products can be dispensed. This changes the entire product development process radically and shortens the reaction times of the enterprises opposite changed market requirements. With the appropriate management concepts, you can optimize your products and services in terms of cost, time, quality and environment.

Current developments

RFID Integration

If a complex metallic component is to be provided with an extended range of functions, it can be equipped with integrated, so-called RFID chips during laser sintering or laser melting. The challenge is to manage the process of integrating the RFID components in such a way that they continue to function perfectly after installation. This creates completely new possibilities for the further functionalization of additively produced components. Various application scenarios are possible when using the RFID units, which can be read out without contact and at a distance, and which can also be fed with new data, depending on the design. These range from simple reading of the identification code for plagiarism protection to storing information during use to support further product development.

Our services

Methods of product development

In the field of additive processes, we develop manufacturing processes such as Selective Laser Melting (SLM). With SLM as a rapid prototyping and rapid manufacturing process, metallic and ceramic components and tools are produced.

The work of our member institutes includes process engineering, physical and materials science fundamentals, modelling to support and optimize process development, and the development of components for beam guidance and shaping, powder supply and process monitoring and control. Furthermore, we develop and install complete pilot plants.

Tools of product development

Today, in many industries, standard products from various CAD modular systems are selected and used. However, the last components that have the real contact with the product are manufactured at great expense and effort for each individual product and in single pieces or very small series.

By additive manufacturing technologies our member institutes improve not only punctual the quality of partial functionalities, but manufacture also whole function building groups directly, which are operational without further assembly steps.