Lightweight Construction Technologies

Today, energy and resource efficiency are key issues in manufacturing engineering. The Department of Lightweight Construction Technologies at the Fraunhofer Institute of Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA develops innovative solutions to overcome these challenges.

The target of decreasing weight in automotive and aircraft construction is well known. However, in the future the quantities of materials used to manufacture consumer and investment goods also need to be reduced. This will not only cut production, transport and disposal costs but also help to alleviate the problem of resource shortages in the global market.

By implementing lightweight concepts and lightweight materials, such as carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP), our customers need less energy to operate their machinery and lower their emissions at the same time. We also help them to implement lightweight concepts tailored to their requirements as well as use new materials to improve the performance of machines and equipment.


Lightweight design

Lightweight design is key to energy and resource efficiency. We help our customers implement state-of-the-art lightweight materials as well as design and simulate structures, fiber composites and other lightweight materials with optimized topologies.


Machining and cutting technologies

Despite near-net shape production, nearly all components made from lightweight materials need to have fitting and bonding surfaces, borings and many other geometric elements. We develop and implement machining technologies and processes.


Sawing technologies

In component manufacturing, sawing is an important process that is generally carried out at the start of the value chain. We develop and optimize sawing machines, saw blades and machining processes to enable our customers to execute this basic step cost-effectively.



Joining technologies offer a huge potential to improve cost-efficiency in existing process chains and add value to products. Especially when it comes to lightweight materials, it is essential that joining processes are well-coordinated. We develop processes tailored to the needs of our customers.


Health protection and dust & chip extraction technologies

Chips, dust and fibers are generated when machining components. We make production processes safe for our customers to give machine operators more protection. We also enable them to run their machines and equipment safely and with low wear. To achieve this, we develop adapted extraction technologies and concepts.


Quality assessment

As far as quality is concerned, lightweight materials are very different to homogeneous metals when they are processed. We develop special measuring techniques and devices to automatically identify specific forms of material damage, such as delamination, fraying and resin leakage.