Additive Manufacturing

Additive manufacturing became well-known under the catchword of 3D printing. However, the impression that a completely new technology has been created is deceptive: this technology has been around for over 20 years. Originally developed for fabricating models and prototypes, only in recent years did its advantages for manufacturing industrial components become apparent. However, the focus is now on other aspects. To manufacture components with a high degree of geometric freedom on an industrial scale with this tool-less method, it has to offer the same levels of quality and reliability as conventional technologies. Furthermore, the method must also be capable of processing common technical materials. The scientists at Fraunhofer IPA develop, combine and optimize additive manufacturing technologies. They concentrate on plastics as well as on new materials which cannot be processed yet. The focus is on using additive manufacturing processes to exploit new applications and improve existing ones.

 

Developing additive manufacturing processes

Improving quality, reliability and speeds, as well as fabricating components with previously-unattainable functionalities from new materials are what drives the scientists to optimize existing additive technologies and develop new ones.

 

Automating additive processes

To implement additive processes successfully in industry, it must be possible to automate the entire additive process chain. Fraunhofer IPA supplies technologies for all sub-steps in the additive process chain and provides implementation support.

 

Hybrid process chains

Additive technologies offer a high degree of freedom when it comes to designing complex products. However, just like any other manufacturing technology, they also have their limits. By intelligently combining them with complementary technologies, limits can be overcome and new applications created.

 

Digital printing technologies

Inkjet printing and electrophotography are used to generate complex functional surfaces for applications in electronics, biotechnology, nanotechnology and coating technology. They also form the basis of numerous additive manufacturing processes. From feasibility studies, right through to developing innovative processes and systems, Fraunhofer IPA helps its customers to implement these technologies in a wide range of applications.