In the Fraunhofer Cluster of Excellence Advanced Photon Sources CAPS, 13 Fraunhofer institutes are working together to develop multi-kW ultrafast lasers and corresponding applications.
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 ultrafast lasers, as well as researching their potential applications, all in cooperation with Fraunhofer partners. The new systems are proposed to surpass all previous ultrafast 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 IAF, IIS, IKTS, IMWS, ISE, ISIT, ITEM, 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.
The alliance of nine Fraunhofer Institutes aims to discover/identify new technological concepts for shaping the future of production with their leading project "hierarchical swarms as production architecture with optimized utilization" ("SWAP"). The objective of this lighthouse project is to create the basis for a manufacturing environments that include modular manufacturing units which collaborate similar or different tools, machines or vehicles in swarms. These swarms work together (partially) autonomously for production purposes. The core concept is a hierarchical swarm as extension of the "classical swarm principle" already used in production.
Beneficial (and value adding) factors for the (usage in the) industry include(, among others,) the contraction of manufacturing process chains through, for example, adding new additive manufacturing processes, by breaking up the previous rigid sequence of production steps influenced by numerous factors.
Partners: Fraunhofer Institutes IOF, IFF, IAIS, ILT, IML, IOSB, IPM, IPA, IWS, IWU.
The aim of the eHarsh lighthouse project is to develop and provide a technology platform on the basis of which sensor systems, comprising sensors and electronics, can be developed and manufactured for use in extremely harsh environments. The realization of such systems requires interdisciplinary skills, starting with the selection of suitable materials and technologies, a range of development expertise, system integration for the required application, and the evaluation and prediction of reliability and operational behaviour.
Partners: Fraunhofer Institutes ENAS, IKTS, EMI, ILT, IMS, IPM, IZM.
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. In addition, the competences of the Fraunhofer Groups Microelectronics, Production, MATERIALS and Light & Surfaces have been combined.
Partners: Fraunhofer Institutes ENAS, IFAM, ILT, IOF, ISC und IWU.
In the Fraunhofer lighthouse project QUILT, six Fraunhofer institutes combined their scientific expertise and technological competence in the field of quantum imaging in order to transfer results from basic research into applications close to the market.
Preparing and controlling single photons and quantum states in a targeted manner and using them for modern applications - with this goal, the partners launched QUILT in October 2017. In this joint project, scientists from Fraunhofer ILT developed robust photon sources for imaging methods based on quantum technology. Conceivable areas of application include medical or measurement technology, in which new areas of the electromagnetic spectrum can be exploited and the limits of imaging can be extended.
Partners: Fraunhofer Institutes ILT, IMS, IOF, IOSB, IPM and ITWM.
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 set themselves the goal of securing Germany's technological lead in the field of additive manufacturing and making better use of decentrally distributed resources. The focus was on significantly accelerating the 3D printing of metal components while reducing manufacturing costs. In collaboration, the partners developed new digital process chains as well as scalable and robust AM processes. In addition, the corresponding system technology and automation were developed and the range of processable materials was expanded.
In a joint "Virtual Lab", the partners developed demonstrator components that show the practicality and potential of the new technologies. Real systems and processes were digitally modeled and optimized using simulation tools - enabling better predictions to be made and errors to be detected more quickly.
Partners: Fraunhofer Institutes ILT, IWS, IWU, IGD and IFAM, as well as the Fraunhofer Research Institution IAPT
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 two buildings on the RWTH Aachen Campus: the Industry Building DPP and the Research Center DPP. Here the partners from business and science can research together under one roof as part of the Research Campus DPP. Road mapping process
The collaboration of the two Fraunhofer Institutes ILT and IPT, the chairs of RWTH Aachen University and the around 30 industrial companies is defined in jointly agreed technology roadmaps. Alongside the technology roadmaps, the partners are exploring basic aspects of light generation (e.g. modeling of ultra-short pulse resonators), new possibilities of light guiding and shaping (e.g. modeling of free-form optics) and physical models for the interaction of light, material and functionality (e.g. modeling of load-optimized additively manufactured structures).
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.
The network’s 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 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 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 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 and the Faculty of Electrical Engineering).
This center focuses on developing, systematically introducing and using modern digitalization 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 various fields. 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.
In the Cluster of Excellence “Internet of Production”, engineers are working on the digitalization of manufacturing technology. Their goals are to increase and simplify cross-domain collaboration as well as to securely bundle all relevant data from many different sources in real-time, and all in the context of cyber-physical systems and the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
More than 35 university and non-university research institutions as well as the three Fraunhofer Institutes – FIT, ILT and IPT – are involved. More than 50 companies and associations are represented on the advisory board. They come from the automotive and aerospace industries, mechanical and plant engineering, as well as from the software sector. The essential goal and at the same time elementary element for the research success of the IoP, is an integrated, interdisciplinary research culture in the research network of the IoP.
The Photonics Cluster, one of six initial research clusters on the RWTH Aachen Campus, researches and develops methods to produce, shape and use light, in particular as a tool for industrial production. The DPP Research Center, which opened in 2019 and became fully operational in 2020, in the Photonics Cluster offers scientists space for basic research in the field of photonics on approximately 4,300 square meters of floor space – including 2,800 square meters of laboratory, clean room and hall space.
The institutes and chairs currently involved are from six faculties at RWTH Aachen University: Engineering, Mathematics, Computer Science and Natural Sciences, Electrical Engineering and Information Technology, Geo Resources and Materials Engineering, as well as Medicine and Economics. This way, project-related interdisciplinary working groups can form and research, for example, new materials for 3D printing. Material scientists, together with experts for laser processes, beam sources or plant engineering, can coordinate the relevant building blocks in joint experiments and shorten innovation cycles. Other key areas include, among others, adaptive manufacturing of complex optical systems, direct photonic ablation with high ablation rates, ultra-precision processing, EUV beam sources, high-performance ultrashort pulse lasers, medical technology, biotechnology and quantum technology.
When high precision components are produced using manufacturing processes in which the material goes through a molten phase, a special challenge arises: the geometry and surface of the component cannot be determined by the defined movement of a tool as is the case in machining processes, but by the melt flow and the melt solidification.
Using the approach of “Precision Melt Engineering,” the Collaborative Research Center 1120 (SFB1120) is dedicated to examining this research topic, thereby aiming to elaborate a cross-dimensional description of the processes involved and to derive source-related measures to increase and achieve the precision needed for melt-based manufacturing processes such as master forming, joining, cutting, additive manufacturing and coating.
The main result of the collaborative research center is multi-scale control of melt-based manufacturing processes from melt formation through melt flow properties and melt solidification as a prerequisite for an increased precision in the production of melt-engineered components.
The Max Planck School of Photonics (MPSP) is a top tier interdisciplinary graduate school in Germany that provides an integrated M.Sc. and Ph.D. program (or Ph.D. only) in the field of Photonics for excellent graduates from all over the world. The PhD candidates can conduct their research at one of 16 network partner institutions, i.e. top-ranking universities or renowned research institutions across Germany. This unique network of outstanding scientists (“Fellows”) offers the MPSP PhD candidates early access to bundled knowledge and prepares them for their career as “Photonics innovator” in the German academia or industry. At the same time, this BMBF-funded program is advancing photonics research in Germany by networking science, driving synergies and piloting new ideas.