Product design

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.