Applications and Process Chains for Laser Powder Bed Fusion

LPBF - Next generation manufacturing technology

The manufacturing industry is facing many challenges: resource scarcity and uncertain supply chains as well as growing demand for individualized products. In addition to economic considerations, ecological aspects are coming to the fore in the manufacture of goods. Additive manufacturing processes offer solutions to these current challenges.

Since it applies layer upon layer using CAD data, LPBF can produce highly complex components from metallic materials without the need for mold-bound tools, components that cannot be manufactured using conventional production techniques such as casting or machining.

The LPBF Application Development group at ILT supports customers who want to begin using this technology, to plan their production and develop their processes, as well as those who wish to design components compatible with AM. We have access to an extensive and modern industrial machine portfolio – from µ-LPBF machines with extreme resolution to large-scale systems with 400 dm³ building space.

We already offer our customers the machine technology of tomorrow thanks to our close internal cooperation with experts from optics design and beam source development, as well as from LPBF process and machine development. 

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) in LPBF

The EU’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive will require European companies to provide information on sustainability in manufacturing starting in 2024. For this purpose, the LPBF Application Development group supports customers in balancing material and energy flows in additive manufacturing by preparing life cycle inventory studies. The group has the necessary know-how, up-to-date software tools and a broad database to perform cradle-to-gate analyses. Among other things, it can calculate the CO2 footprint of individual components, whereby the balance sheet envelope already includes raw material extraction. 

Sensor integration in LPBF – Smart parts

LPBF manufacturing of turbomachinery components
© Fraunhofer ILT, Aachen, Germany.
LPBF manufacturing of turbomachinery components

Additive manufacturing, unlike classic subtractive processes, allows access to every volume element of the component during production. This advantage can be used to integrate sensory analysis into the interior of the component during the manufacturing process. This can then be utilized for various measurement tasks that cannot be accomplished with conventional integration. Common examples are measuring the contour-related temperature or the mechanical stress inside the component. The integration also enables condition monitoring and predictive maintenance of high-value components. While current solutions rely on discrete, commercial sensors, the sensors themselves will be manufactured during the LPBF process in the future. 

Bioresorbable LPBF implants

Milling head with printed sensor technology
© Fraunhofer ILT, Aachen, Germany.
Milling head with printed sensor technology

Severe bone injuries often require the implantation of metallic endoprostheses that temporarily or permanently take over the structural and mechanical tasks of the damaged bones. ILT’s Application Development group is developing bioresorbable alloys and the associated vertical and horizontal process chain for manufacturing bone implants. The group aims to reduce the need for further traumatic surgery: The implant is absorbed over months or years and successively replaced by newly growing conchs. 

Range of services

  • Feasibility studies for various materials and applications
  • Integrated product development from design through LPBF manufacturing to post processing
  • Development of new physical and digital process chains and their integration into existing production lines
  • Process development on commercial plant systems
  • Consulting, training and benchmarking


  • Our portfolio of industrial LPBF equipment includes:
  • EOS M290 (PL = 1000 W, Exposure OT)
  • TruPrint5000 (PL = 3x500 W, Tplatform, max = 500°C) 
  • SLM 280 Twin (PL = 2x400 W)
  • Concept X-Line 2000R

Our LPBF laboratory systems, some of which we developed ourselves, can be flexibly adapted to your requirements due to their open hardware and software architecture. The technical specifications include, among others:

  • Different beam sources (wavelengths, beam profiles, multi-kW powers) and optics systems (e.g. multi-scanner systems, systems with interchangeable optics)
  • Different powder application systems (e.g. vibration-assisted powder application, different application tools)
  • Flexible inert gas guidance & measurement systems
  • Various LPBF preheating systems up to 1500 °C
  • LPBF plants for processing small quantities of powder
  • Systems for process monitoring (e.g. thermography)