News / July 2021
In industry, additive laser processes are being applied in a continuously broadening spectrum. This situation is pushing forward research and development in Additive Manufacturing and enabling innovations with a far-reaching impact.
Since the mid-1990s, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT has been advancing Additive Manufacturing (AM), for example Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF) or powder or wire feed-based Laser Material Deposition (LMD). That Fraunhofer ILT has established two new competence areas for AM reflects its growing importance at the Aachen Institute: As of June 2021, Jasmin Saewe will take over as head of the “Laser Powder Bed Fusion” competence area. Dr. Thomas Schopphoven will be responsible for managing the “Laser Material Deposition” competence area from June 2021.
Laser Powder Bed Fusion makes it possible to manufacture complex functional components in a resource-efficient and economical way. Since it has high geometric flexibility in the production of metallic components, the process offers a number of advantages compared to conventional manufacturing techniques and is suitable for applications in various industries, such as turbo machinery, aerospace, automotive and medical technology. Fraunhofer ILT focuses on developing innovative geometry-adapted exposure concepts and systems engineering as well as function-adapted application components and their industrial process chains. The institute’s extensive equipment consists of different commercial systems and self-developed, highly flexible laboratory systems. Bundled know-how, also from the fields of laser-beam source and optics development as well as process monitoring, enables it to offer its customers customized applications and innovations. In addition, Fraunhofer ILT develops novel materials for laser-based Additive Manufacturing. In addition to LPBF, the “Laser Powder Bed Fusion” competence area is also involved in process and system development for the laser-based production of functionally adapted polymer components using selective laser sintering (as part of a cooperative research group with Aachen University of Applied Sciences).
With Laser Material Deposition, and in particular with the multiple award-winning process of “Extreme High-speed Laser Material Deposition” (EHLA), metal tracks with layer thicknesses between 0.01 mm and 2 mm can be applied with high precision to almost any metallic base material in a very short time. By superimposing several weld beads, EHLA can generate two-dimensional coatings, for example for wear and corrosion protection, or functional coatings. If several layers are welded on top of each other, the process can also be used for repair and Additive Manufacturing. Due to the precisely controllable energy input, components and alloys can be processed that are generally considered difficult to weld. Fraunhofer ILT supports its industrial clients from generating ideas and consulting to developing adapted processes, system technology and process monitoring all the way to process transfer to the customer’s plants. The institute has a wide range of available plant technology, analysis capacity and extensive development know-how for diverse user industries – for example in the aerospace, automotive or energy sectors – that allows it to efficiently implement a wide variety of projects.
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March 18, 2020
At the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT, we place the highest priority on the safety and health of our employees, customers and visitors. Hence, in connection with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Fraunhofer ILT has set up a crisis management team and is implementing the guidelines of the German authorities.