Measurement Technology

Measurement technology is making its way into almost all areas of life. Whether in manufacturing, medicine, environmental technology or safety technology, physical, chemical or biological parameters need to be measured. By doing this, the industry can, on the one hand, optimize manufacturing processes and medicine can, on the other, monitor healing processes. In production engineering, optical measuring systems are an essential part of Industry 4.0 concepts, for which Fraunhofer ILT is developing compact and robust solutions. The spectrum ranges from plasma-based material analysis to interferometric geometry measurement and even surface temperature analysis, which is used, for example, in additive manufacturing.

In cooperation with equipment manufacturers, Fraunhofer ILT is also developing systems for inline process control to optimize process parameters and to ensure manufacturing quality. This allows a 100% control of the components and compliance with very low tolerance limits.

In material analysis, pulsed laser radiation can be used to determine a material’s chemical composition without contacting it. The possible applications of laser-induced breakdown spectrometry range from quality inspection in metal production through material input control in metal processing all the way to rapid material recognition in recycling processes.


Sensors for inline process control in laser material processing#

Alignment of powder focus, position of the processing laser radiation (green) and measuring radiation of the "bd-1" (red).
© Fraunhofer ILT, Aachen, Germany.
Alignment of powder focus, position of the processing laser radiation (green) and measuring radiation of the "bd-1" (red).

Fraunhofer ILT is developing and implementing various systems for inline process control. In laser material deposition (LMD), the production result, such as the applied track height or layer thickness, depends on various factors. Despite constant process parameters, fluctuations in the material supply (wire or powder) as well as non-constant speeds at reversal points can lead to fluctuations in the layer thicknesses. By accurately understanding the layer thickness, users can introduce corrective measures for the next paths and layers, thus achieving higher precision of the applied layers. With the systems the institute is developing, they will be able to utilize an inline measurement of the layer thickness for quality assurance.

Fraunhofer ILT has developed the absolute-measuring interferometric »bd-1« sensor. This allows geometric features, such as the layer thickness, to be recorded during production. Laser material deposition plants can use the real-time measurement results to directly respond to deviations from the target geometry, preventing manufacturing defects from developing. The »bd-1« sensor can be used for powder and coax wire-based laser deposition welding processes, first for quality assurance and later for controlling the production processes. Further fields of application for the interferometric sensor technology are, for example, the monitoring and control of laser drilling and laser microstructuring.

Laser measurement technology for using material efficiently under extreme conditions#

Transporter with slag ladle below the measurement site.
© Fraunhofer ILT, Aachen, Germany.
Transporter with slag ladle below the measurement site.

Metal producers or processors need to be able to rapidly analyze and evaluate slag material, for example, to make the production of steel more efficient and to increase process reliability. Laser measurement technology is suitable for analyzing mineral substances automatically in production processes under difficult boundary conditions and for optimizing process parameters. This way, materials that accumulate in production processes can be classified at an early stage and directed to specific recycling paths. Thus, materials are used more efficiently and less waste is produced.

The laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) devices developed at Fraunhofer ILT are used to continuously analyze the slag of voestalpine Stahl GmbH in Linz in the bucket of slag transporters in crude steel production. The slags in the bucket are liquid at temperatures in the range of 600 °C to over 1300 °C or partially solidified on the surface. Here, this laser-based direct analysis serves to classify materials for targeted utilization. The LIBS measuring device developed at ILT adapts to varying filling heights of the slag bucket and takes into account height variations of the surface profile. The system can analyze the process, from the release to the transmission to the control system, in less than two minutes, which allows voestalpine to quickly classify and utilize the material efficiently.



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
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Dr. Achim Lenenbach

“Measurement Technology
and EUV Sources”


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