Fraunhofer ILT – A Reliable Partner for Research and Development in Your Branch

Thanks to its particularly high power, precision and flexibility, the tool »laser« makes a great deal of applications possible in many branches of the manufacturing industry. Whether for the machine building industry, precision engineering, electronics, the plastics industry or the metalworking industry, Fraunhofer ILT develops sophisticated production processes, high-performance laser systems and optimized beam sources for tasks tailored to a customer’s specific needs.

Laser-beam sources with specifically optimized properties – such as wavelength, beam shape and density, pulse shape and duration or power – open up a broad spectrum of applications. Ultrashort pulse lasers are suitable, for example, for high-precision surface structuring down to the subnanometer range, solid-state lasers or diode lasers with high output in the kW range for laser-based cutting applications or EUV beam sources for precise analysis and lithography applications.

The spectrum of laser processes developed at the Fraunhofer ILT is wide-ranging. These include, among others, cutting and joining processes, micro- and nano-ablation, polishing, drilling, internal engraving, micro-soldering, micro-welding, laser-based hybrid processes, hardening, alloying, structuring or additive manufacturing. In addition to process development, the Fraunhofer laser experts also attend to modeling and simulation, control technology, sensor-based process monitoring and control as well as the conception and development of prototypes and pilot plants.

In measurement technology, Fraunhofer ILT offers solutions to problems in industry, bioanalytics and environmental technology. Inline measurements of physical and chemical parameters allow efficient process control in production. Within a short time, the laser can identify the materials of a component. This way, materials or raw materials can be reliably characterized, sorted or recovered. In bioanalysis, laser spectroscopic methods can be used to obtain, for example, molecule-specific information in high throughput.

Laser-based 3D printing of components without support structures

In 3D printing using bath-based photopolymerization (stereolithography and DLP), manual steps are a significant cost driver in the manufacturing chain. The complex preparation of data and the individual post-processing of the components require qualified staff and cause interruptions in the production chain.

To transfer the high resolution and surface qualities to a fully automated process, the technology was fundamentally modified. Fraunhofer ILT's TwoCure® process allows classic support structures to be replaced by a novel, thermally controlled process control and tailored materials. In this process, non-polymerized photo resin is thermally solidified within the printing layer, while the following layer remains protected. This enables a significant increase in volume efficiency, as more components can be produced in the same amount of time. Since the printed block is ejected automatically, the component can be post-processed without any manual steps at all. Currently, the first production-ready machine with a build volume of 190 x 110 x 100 mm³ is being developed, which can manufacture components fully automatically up to the melting and recycling of the material.

With the TwoCure® process, users in the field of additive manufacturing can produce small batches or large quantities of individual products in a single step. A demonstration was carried out in the field of otoplastics; other fields of application include lost forms (e.g. jewelry), technical products and dental applications.

Manufacturing economically, environmentally friendly and quickly with EHLA

Beschichten einer Walze mit High-Power EHLA.
© Fraunhofer ILT, Aachen.
Beschichten einer Walze mit High-Power EHLA.

To protect large components against wear and corrosion, metallic coatings are commonly used, e.g. for components in the oil and gas industry or rollers in the chemical and paper industries. Existing processes are slow and clearly harmful to the environment due to the use of chromium (VI); moreover, the applied layers, in the millimeter range, are too thick. Scientists at Fraunhofer ILT and RWTH Aachen University are researching the so-called EHLA process (extreme high-speed laser material deposition), with which thin metal coatings can be applied by lasers economically, environmentally friendly and extremely fast.

In the collaborative project EVEREST, Fraunhofer ILT – along with three industrial partners – has developed process and system technology to efficiently repair and coat components and tested it on rollers. Now after successfully completing the project, the Aachen researchers want to establish the newly developed process chain in the industry. The goal is to coat long and large rollers and other rotating components with the EHLA process in a near-net-shape, both reliably and extremely 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.

Contact Research & Development

Dr. Achim Lenenbach (acting)

“Measurement Technology
and EUV Sources”

 

Telephone +49 241 8906-124
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Dipl.-Ing. Hans-Dieter Hoffmann

“Lasers and Laser Optics”

 

Telephone +49 241 8906-206
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 Prof. Arnold Gillner

“Ablation and Joining”

 

Telephone +49 241 8906-148
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Jasmin Saewe M.Sc.

“Laser Powder Bed Fusion”

 

Telephone +49 241 8906-135
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Dr. Thomas Schopphoven

“Laser Material Deposition”

 

Telephone +49 241 8906-8107
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Dr. Jochen Stollenwerk (acting)

“Functional Layers and Surfaces”

 

Telephone +49 241 8906-398
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