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 focus 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.
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 Research Campus DPP, RWTH Aachen University, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and industry can establish a new form of long-term 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 Production Technology IPT and for Laser Technology ILT founded the ACAM Aachen Center for Additive Manufac-turing GmbH in 2015. The aim of ACAM is to help manufac-turing companies implement additive manufacturing in their production processes. The Center for Additive Manufacturing is run by Kristian Arntz, Fraunhofer IPT, and Prof. Johannes Henrich Schleifenbaum, Fraunhofer ILT.
The ACAM GmbH operates a center on the RWTH Aachen Campus Melaten and bundles the competencies of different research institutes in their services. 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 GmbH 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 30 industrial partners are turbine manufacturers as well as groups and medium-sized companies, which together cover all areas of the process chain. The center focuses on the research around the repair and production of turbomachinery. The research center was founded without any state funding and is thus one of the few independent net-works 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 techno-logical 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.
In the Cluster of Excellence »Integrative Production Technology for High-Wage Countries«, Aachen-based production and material scientists developed concepts and technologies for sustainable economic production. A total of 18 chairs of RWTH Aachen University as well as the Fraunhofer Institutes for Laser Technology ILT and Production Technology IPT are involved in the project, which ran until the end of 2017. The cluster of excellence, worth around 40 million euros, was the most comprehensive research initiative in Europe that aimed to keep production in high-wage countries.
To do this, the partners had to find ways of simultaneously increasing the product variability and manufacturing at the cost of mass production. This required product-oriented, value-optimized process chains whose cost-effectiveness is not jeopardized by excessive planning costs. Tomorrow’s produc-tion technology, therefore, needs a fundamentally new under-standing of these elementary interrelations, each of which was developed as part of the Cluster of Excellence in the four fields of research: »Individualized Production«, »Virtual Production«, Hybrid Production« and »Self-Optimizing Production«.
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).
The Fraunhofer Institutes for Production Technology IPT, for Laser Technology ILT and for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME in Aachen, located in the International Center for Networked, Adaptive Production, together with renowned industrial partners, want to develop new production systems and value-added chains in the sense of industry 4.0 and thus set the standards for the production of tomorrow.