The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is launching a highly ambitious undertaking: the Fraunhofer Cluster of Excellence Advanced Photon Sources CAPS. The cluster aims to achieve international technological leadership in laser systems that reach maximum performance with ultrashort pulses (USP), as well as researching their potential applications, all in cooperation with Fraunhofer partners. The new systems are proposed to surpass all previous USP lasers by one order of magnitude in average laser power. At the same time, the partners are working on the required system technology as well as promising applications in industry and research.
Currently thirteen partners form the consortium: beside Fraunhofer ILT and IOF, the Fraunhofer Institutes FEP, IAF, IIS, IKTS, IMWS, ISE, ISIT, ITWM, IWM, IWS and IZI are involved. The consortium aims at developing applications, investigating new processes and facilitating industrially relevant throughputs of well-known processes. Examples range from the micro-structuring and surface functionalization of solar cells, ultra-hard ceramics and battery components to the cutting of glass and lightweight materials.
The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft has launched a new cooperation platform to continue developing the additive manufacturing of metallic components: the lighthouse project futureAM. Six project partners, the Fraunhofer Institutes ILT, IWS, IWU, IGD and IFAM, as well as the Fraunhofer Research Institution IAPT, will secure Germany's technological lead in the field of additive manufacturing and make distributed resources more usable in a decentralized manner. One goal is to significantly accelerate 3D printing of metal parts while reducing manufacturing costs. The collaboration will create new digital process chains as well as scalable and robust AM processes. In addition, the institutes will develop corresponding system technology and automation and expand the range of processable materials.
In a joint ”Virtual Lab“, the futureAM partners will develop demonstrator components that show the practical suitability and the potential of the technologies developed. They will digitally map real systems and processes and optimize them by means of simulation tools – enabling users, for example, to make better predictions, or to detect and eliminate errors more quickly.
The current globally implemented production concept is all about the mass production of identical products to maximize production efficiency. Beyond this production concept, the markets of the future (including automotive, aviation and lighting) express the need to manufacture individualized products while maintaining the manufacturing efficiency of mass production. The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft has set itself the task of expanding German competence in mechanical and plant engineering in order to secure the future of the country in the face of growing international competition and to meet the needs of the markets.
The Fraunhofer lighthouse project “Go Beyond 4.0” focuses on the provision of new technologies to differentiate and increase the efficiency of the production of individualized products, in particular the integration of the digital manufacturing technologies printing and laser processes into existing, increasingly networked mass production environments.
To meet these objectives, the expertises of six leading Fraunhofer Institutes have been combined. The project consortium consists of the Fraunhofer Institute for Electronic Nano Systems ENAS, the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT, the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF, the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC, and the Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology IWU. In addition, the competences of the Fraunhofer Groups Microelectronics, Production, MATERIALS and Light & Surfaces have been combined.
Selected preparation, control and use of individual photons and quantum states for modern applications – in October 2017, six Fraunhofer Institutes launched a new lighthouse project: QUILT (Quantum Methods for Advanced Imaging Solutions). The scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT have begun to develop robust, marketable photon sources for imaging processes based on quantumtechnology. Conceivable areas of application can be found in medical or measuring technology, in which new areas of the electromagnetic spectrum can be tapped and the limits of imaging extended.
Project partners of the lighthouse project QUILT are the Fraunhofer Institutes ILT, IMS, IOF, IOSB, IPM and ITWM.
The Research Campus »Digital Photonic Production DPP« in Aachen is a location where scientists can explore new methods and basic physical effects in order to use light as a tool in the production of the future. Thanks to the BMBF funded Research Campus DPP, RWTH Aachen University, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and industry can establish a new form of longterm and systematic cooperation that aims to concentrate the various resources under one roof for joint, complementary application-oriented basic research. This is made possible by a new building on the RWTH Aachen Campus: the Industry Building DPP. Here the partners from business and science can research together on about 7,000 square meters of office and laboratory space under one roof as part of the Research Campus DPP.
Together with partners from science, the Fraunhofer Institutes for Laser Technology ILT and for Production Technology IPT founded the ACAM Aachen Center for Additive Manufacturing in 2015. The aim of ACAM is to help manufacturing companies implement additive manufacturing in their production processes. The Center for Additive Manufacturing is run by Prof. Johannes Henrich Schleifenbaum (Fraunhofer ILT) and Kristian Arntz (Fraunhofer IPT).
ACAM bundles the competencies of different research institutes in their services on the RWTH Aachen Campus Melaten. ACAM brings together an expert community that deals with additive manufacturing and continues to systematically develop its know-how in this area. The existing expertise is made directly accessible to the users.
In terms of training, ACAM offers tailor-made seminars. Interested companies can participate in the ACAM community for a fee. If required, the partner companies can also establish their own resources directly on the campus. The employees of these companies can also take part in training and further education programs offered by RWTH Aachen University and are involved in the university environment.
The Fraunhofer Institutes for Production Technology IPT and Laser Technology ILT as well as the Machine Tool Laboratory WZL and the Chair for Digital Additive Production DAP of RWTH Aachen University started the »International Center for Turbomachinery Manufacturing – ICTM« on October 28, 2015 in Aachen with 19 renowned industrial partners.
At present, the network’s 32 industrial partners are big and medium-sized companies in the fields of turbomachinery building, mechanical and automation engineering, machining as well as additive manufacturing. The center focuses on research and development around the production and repair of turbomachinery components which are covered by the partners in all areas. The research center was founded without any state funding and is thus one of the few independent networks that emerged from the Fraunhofer innovation clusters »TurPro« and »ADAM«. The ten-member steering committee comprises representatives of the participating industrial companies and research institutes.
The Aachen Center for 3D Printing is a joint research group of Fraunhofer ILT and the FH Aachen University of Applied Sciences, and aims to give small and medium-sized companies access to the entire process chain in the field of additive manufacturing (AM). This way, they can exploit the economic and technological opportunities offered by this innovative technology.
As small and medium-sized businesses screen their own applications, they increasingly see the economic and technological opportunities of AM in their production environments. Often, however, they shy away from investment risks; most of all, they seldom have qualified 3D printing specialists and skilled workers. This is where the closely cooperating team of experts from Fraunhofer ILT and FH Aachen comes in.
At the Fraunhofer ILT, the Center for Nanophotonics combines a series of activities, thereby developing analysis systems with a resolution in the nm range, but it also generates products and components with structures far below, in the rage of several nanometers. The work is conducted in close cooperation with the departments of the RWTH Aachen University who are active in these fields (among others, the Faculty of Physics/Natural Sciences, Faculty of Electrical Engineering).
This center focuses on developing, systematically introducing and using modern digitization technologies for sustainable, industrial production systems and value chains in the context of »Industry 4.0«. As part of an overarching R&D module »Digitization and Networking«, the Center of Excellence develops the concept of fully networked, adaptive production in the fields of »Smart Manufacturing Platforms«, »Big Data«, »Adaptive Process Chains« and »Process Simulation and Modeling«. All of the developments are validated and demonstrated in six pilot lines in the fields of energy, mobility and health using representative process chains. The connection to the Fraunhofer Cloud System »Virtual Fort Knox« represents a neutral and secure platform for the storage of production data and execution of web services to analyze and optimize process chains. The close cooperation with well-known industrial companies ensures that the results can be transferred to an industrial environment.