For the aerospace industry, reducing weight and energy consumption is a core issue. To optimize turbine engineering and save costs, the industry is looking at various approaches to turbine construction. Novel turbine design, lighter turbine blades, optimized cooling and low cost repair techniques are just a few examples.

In this environment, additive manufacturing is proving to be a promising technology. Leading turbine manufacturers have formed R&D partnerships with Fraunhofer ILT – in some cases through branches at the Digital Photonic Production research campus in Aachen, located in the immediate vicinity of the institute. At the International Center for Turbomachinery Manufacturing ICTM, turbine manufacturers from the aerospace and energy sectors cooperate with Fraunhofer Institutes ILT and IPT, both of which are based in Aachen.

In addition to production issues, additive manufacturing processes also play a key role in maintenance, repair and overhaul. The cooperation partners not only drive forward the R&D activities, but actively take care of the technological prerequisites to certify new procedures.

In the field of satellite-based measuring systems for environmental analysis, increasingly powerful, narrow-band laser systems are needed with which concentrations of gas constituents of the atmosphere can be detected with high accuracy. Fraunhofer ILT has developed its own technology platform for satellite-based laser systems. It is cooperating with partners such as the German Aerospace Center DLR, the Airbus Group, the TESAT Spacecom or the European Space Agency ESA.


Additive manufacturing for the manufacture and repair of turbomachinery#

With laser material deposition, components can be flexibly coated, repaired or additivly manufactured.
© Fraunhofer ILT, Aachen, Germany.
With laser material deposition, components can be flexibly coated, repaired or additivly manufactured.

As they are flexible and precise tools, lasers can be used for repair and overhaul as well as for the production of high-quality turbomachinery components: for example, to significantly extend their service life or to protect materials against wear and corrosion. Laser cladding can be used very advantageously in the field of turbomachinery construction since the material is applied accurately, the process controlled excellently and the thermal and mechanical stress on the components held so low.

The »International Center for Turbomachinery Manufacturing - ICTM« in Aachen addresses current challenges in the field of turbomachinery construction and offers its customers research and development for tailor-made industrial applications. The strategic partnership bundles know-how, enables excellent pre-competitive research and accelerates innovation. The center focuses on customer-specific solutions, for example improving machining processes for the use of fully ceramic tools and finishing additively manufactured components. Fraunhofer Institutes IPT and ILT as well as the Laboratory for Machine Tools and Production Engineering (WZL) and the chairs for Laser Technology LLT and for Digital Additive Production DAP of RWTH Aachen University work closely together with renowned industrial partners. The group includes medium-sized companies, turbine manufacturers as well as groups such as Lufthansa Technik AG, MTU Aero Engines AG or Rolls-Royce Germany Ltd & Co KG, which jointly cover all areas of the process chain and further develop them for the aerospace industry.

FULAS: Technology platform for lasers suitable for use in space#

FULAS – interior view.
© Fraunhofer ILT, Aachen, Germany.
FULAS – interior view.

The scientists of the Fraunhofer ILT have developed a technology platform for the design and construction of individual laser systems – the »Future Laser System« (FULAS) – that can be adapted especially for projects in the aerospace sector. Here, laser-based processes, such as special soldering processes, make components suitable for use in space. They have also developed a corresponding construction technology that allows them to precisely and safely assemble the components. All essential adjustment steps are performed with manually guided robots using the efficient Pick & Align procedure. The extremely demanding requirements for operations in orbit – such as high vibration, temperature resistance and tilt stabilities – can be fulfilled

Fraunhofer ILT is developing a laser-based system on the basis of the FULAS platform for the satellite-borne measurement of methane, a gas relevant to the climate. As part of the Franco-German climate research mission »MERLIN«, a correspondingly constructed light detection and ranging system (LIDAR) shall be used in orbit starting in 2021. The robustness of the OPO design, which will form the heart of the measurement system, has already been successfully demonstrated in validation tests.



Projects with participation of the Fraunhofer ILT#

Strategic Fraunhofer Projects

A selection of strategic projects involving the Fraunhofer ILT can be found on our cluster website.

Current Collaborative Projects

Here you will find a selection of current collaborative projects in which Fraunhofer ILT is involved.

Completed Collaborative Projects

Here you will find a selection of completed collaborative projects in which Fraunhofer ILT is involved.

Annual Report

In our current annual report you will find a selection of further project results.


Dipl.-Ing. Hans-Dieter Hoffmann

“Lasers and Optics”


Telephone +49 241 8906-206
-> Send E-Mail


Prof. Arnold Gillner

“Ablation and Joining”


Telephone +49 241 8906-148
-> Send E-Mail

Dr. Jochen Stollenwerk

“Additive Manufacturing
and Functional Layers”


Telephone +49 241 8906-398
-> Send E-Mail

Dr. Achim Lenenbach

“Measurement Technology
and EUV Sources”


Telephone +49 241 8906-124
-> Send E-Mail