We maintain cooperative relations with German and international companies as well as with research centers in the laser industry so that we can offer our customers one-stop solutions and provide our experts with access to an international network. Our partners reap the benefits of systematic networking with universities, associations, Chambers of Commerce and Industry, testing laboratories, trade fair companies and research ministries.


The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft based in Germany is the world’s leading applied research organization. Prioritizing key future-relevant technologies and commercializing its findings in business and industry, it plays a major role in the innovation process. It is a trailblazer and trendsetter in innovative developments and research excellence. The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft supports research and industry with inspiring ideas and sustainable scientific and technological solutions and is helping shape our society and our future.

The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft’s interdisciplinary research teams turn original ideas into innovations together with contracting industry and public sector partners, coordinate and complete essential key research policy projects and strengthen the German and European economy with ethical value creation. International collaborative partnerships with outstanding research partners and businesses all over the world provide for direct dialogue with the most prominent scientific communities and most dominant economic regions.

Founded in 1949, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft currently operates 76 institutes and research units throughout Germany. Over 30,000 employees, predominantly scientists and engineers, work with an annual research budget of €2.9 billion. Fraunhofer generates €2.5 billion of this from contract research. Industry contracts and publicly funded research projects account for around two thirds of that. The federal and state governments contribute around another third as base funding, enabling institutes to develop solutions now to problems that will become crucial to industry and society in the near future.

The impact of applied research goes far beyond its direct benefits to clients: Fraunhofer institutes enhance businesses’ performance, improve social acceptance of advanced technology and educate and train the urgently needed next generation of research scientists and engineers.

Highly motivated employees up on cutting-edge research constitute the most important success factor for us as a research organization. Fraunhofer consequently provides opportunities for independent, creative and goal-driven work and thus for professional and personal development, qualifying individuals for challenging positions at our institutes, at higher education institutions, in industry and in society. Practical training and early contacts with clients open outstanding opportunities for students to find jobs and experience growth in business and industry.

The prestigious nonprofit Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft’s namesake is Munich scholar Joseph von Fraunhofer (1787–1826). He enjoyed equal success as a researcher, inventor and entrepreneur. 

Fraunhofer Alliances and Fraunhofer Group

Several Fraunhofer Institutes bring together specific know-how to archieve excellent research results. The Fraunhofer ILT is member of the following alliances:

Competence Networks

When faced with interdisciplinary issues, we can access the knowledge garnered by the R&D centers that cooperate with us. Consequently we are able to offer our customers one-stop solutions. Small and medium-sized enterprises are often eligible for support in rolling out high-risk processes through programs run by the ministries, Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and the banks. Fraunhofer ILT’s experts give our partners access to regional, national and international competence networks.

At local level we are cooperating with institutions such as the competence center automotive region Aachen e.V. and the Aachener Kompetenzzentrum für Medizintechnik e.V. At regional level we are actively represented in the IVAM Association for Microtechnology and in NeMa – Neue Materialien e.V. We support the networking of laser users, manufacturers and researchers at national level by participating in projects such as the Arbeitskreis Lasertechnik e.V., the Wissenschaftliche Gesellschaft Lasertechnik e.V. as well as the Deutscher Verband für Schweißtechnik e.V. DVS. And not least, we are actively promoting challenging, trendsetting developments in our industry through our involvement in international competence networks such as the Laser Institute of America LIA or the European Laser Institute ELI.

Networking of Research and Industry

The networking of applied research at Fraunhofer ILT with basic scientific research at local universities involving industrial partners is an essential building block for successful research. Fraunhofer ILT cooperates with RWTH Aachen UniversityFH Aachen University of Applied Sciences, the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT and numerous renowned industrial partners in various joint projects.

The cooperation with various chairs and institutes of RWTH Aachen University as an internationally renowned university opens up practical and practice-oriented cooperation opportunities for applied research in the fields of laser and production technology at the highest international level and on current scientific and economic issues.

An example of this is the "ICTM International Center for Turbomachinery Manufacturing in Aachen", a cooperation of the Fraunhofer ILT with the Fraunhofer IPT and the Laboratory for Machine Tools and Production Engineering of RWTH Aachen University (WZL) and the Chair for Laser Technology (LLT) of RWTH Aachen University with about 30 industrial partners from the field of turbomachinery engineering.

The Photonics Cluster at RWTH Aachen Campus

"Photonics Cluster" at RWTH Aachen Campus
© RWTH Aachen Campus GmbH
"Photonics Cluster" at RWTH Aachen Campus

RWTH Aachen Campus brings together research and industry. Supported by the German Federal Ministry of Research and Education (BMBF), a total of 16 clusters are being created on the Aachen campus, in which industrial questions for future technologies are being researched in the interaction of industry and science. The six starting clusters include the "Photonics Cluster", in which Fraunhofer ILT is involved with the "Center for Digital Photonic Production (CDPP)".

Further information on the goals and tasks of the individual centers can be found on the corresponding websites.

Affiliated Research Centers outside Germany

Fraunhofer ILT carries out bilateral and cooperative projects with foreign companies and subsidiaries of German companies abroad. In Plymouth, Michigan (U.S.), the Fraunhofer Center for Laser Technology CLT was set up under the sponsorship of Fraunhofer ILT. We conduct joint research projects with the Townes Laser Institute TLI in Orlando, USA. Together with Joining Technologies we acquire projects in the area of Laser Additive Manufacturing LAM in North America at the Joining Technologies Research Center JTRC. Furthermore, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft also runs liaison offices in the United States and Asia. And Fraunhofer ILT’s prestigious credentials also include membership of national and international associations such as the Laser Institute of America LIA.

Photonics Cluster and Digital Photonic Production DPP Research Campus

At DPP Research Campus, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), guest companies work in separate laboratories and offices. The basis for this special form of technology transfer is a long-term cooperation agreement with the institute in the field of R&D. The added value lies in the use of our technical infrastructure and the exchange of information with our experts. In addition to expert groups from leading laser manufacturers and innovative laser users, new founders from the fields of special plant construction, laser production technology and laser measurement technology will find here a suitable environment for the industrial implementation of their ideas.