The automobile sector is currently in a state of upheaval, with e-mobility and autonomous driving dominating the public and business debates. At the same time, the question remains as to how fuel consumption and weight, especially for hybrid vehicles, can be further reduced. Fraunhofer ILT has been working with partners from the automotive industry for decades and can provide attractive solutions in the production as well as equipping of new motor vehicles. For lightweight construction, the institute has developed many manufacturing processes, such as the welding of ultra-high-strength steels and composite materials, the laser-assisted local softening of cold-pressed steels to optimize forming technology, the cutting of CFRP components or the joining of dissimilar lightweight materials.
Vehicle engineering requires individual metallic and non-metallic components for new approaches in designing prototypes and developing process chains in series production, all in a very short period time. For this purpose, Fraunhofer ILT has been developing high-performance 3D printing processes for many years, such as Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF). Its developments range from material technology and process development to the design of production lines.
Furthermore, Fraunhofer ILT is developing new concepts of packaging power electronics and battery technology for the prospective e-mobility market. These range from packaging individual cells to designing modules all the way to manufacturing complete batteries. Key areas in which ILT’s scientists are supporting automotive engineering can be found in design, process development, and design of battery manufacturing and power module manufacturing systems. In addition, Fraunhofer ILT has been commissioned, in the field of lighting technology, with modeling new optical systems for car headlights and developing compact LIDAR systems.