NextGen Mobility

AM in Motion: On Land, on Water, and in the Air

As diverse as the various forms of mobility are, the potential applications of AM in mobility can be equally varied. Fraunhofer IAPT addresses the specific needs of the aerospace industry, automotive industry, shipping industry, and railway vehicle industry.

Both in the automotive industry and aerospace, CO2 emissions are a relevant topic that plays a role not only socially but also economically. Lightweight solutions are ideally suited for additive manufacturing in this context. For example, in the automotive industry, tool-less and rapid prototyping can significantly shorten the time to market readiness.

To leverage the advantages of AM, the complete AM process chain is important. Automated software solutions can optimize the design freedom of AM for highly specific functional requirements of satellite components, for example, and component designs can be tailored to withstand specific loads. The development of customized AM software is crucial for maximizing the manufacturing capabilities of AM.

Especially in highly regulated industries such as aerospace or railway vehicles, ensuring the quality of components plays a significant role. We offer tailored quality assurance concepts depending on the component criticality. This not only ensures quality but also significantly reduces the effort for certification. Digital twins complement quality assurance throughout the manufacturing of components as well as tracking in later applications.

Downtimes in aircraft or railway operations can cost providers several thousand euros per day. It is crucial to offer fast and uncomplicated solutions in these cases. The combination of physical and digital production in additive manufacturing also offers many advantages for spare part manufacturing during downtime. It allows bypassing physical warehouses and significantly reducing the commitment of liquid funds. With a cross-process understanding in technology comparison, we can identify the appropriate use cases and business cases for additive manufacturing together with software solutions.

Every application requires the appropriate post-processing, depending on whether the AM component will be directly visible in the aircraft cabin, train, or car, or if it will be additionally coated. We work on suitable methods for smoothing and preparing surfaces, depending on the technology and material. For us, post-processing begins in the design process to create the necessary prerequisites for post-processing from the beginning. With our expertise in both physical and digital process chains, we are happy to collaborate with you on your developments, tailored to your industry and needs.

Focus Areas


AM is establishing itself as part of the automotive industry. Suitable tooling solutions support both manufacturing and assembly processes.

Whether it is achieving better performance in hypercars, manufacturing replacement parts for vintage cars, using crash-optimized materials for increased safety, or customizing one's own car, camper, truck, or tractor, the potential applications of AM in the automotive industry are limitless.


AM applications in the aerospace industry are characterized by small quantities and the highest quality requirements.

This requires seamless process chains with adapted concepts for quality assurance.

AM software solutions contribute to the implementation of highly functional lightweight solutions, thereby reducing CO2 emissions. Our next-generation research for mobility addresses precisely these challenges

Railway Vehicles

The sustainable use of trains over decades without the need for huge spare parts inventories, all in a digital manner - this is made possible by AM.

But it is not just the manufacturing of individual components, AM also enables the realization of new design concepts and functional integrations, as well as the consolidation of component groups, all of which are potential AM applications.

With high fire safety requirements, the industry opens up further opportunities for AM material development.

Current Research and Results


esa Cooperations AM Maturation/AMFLEX

In the esa-funded project AM Maturation, quality assurance is being researched and established through the LPBF process chain. Step by step, the complexity and criticality of the components are increased. In the esa project AMFLEX, automated design software solutions for flexure designs to compensate for thermal deformations are being investigated.




Together with a consortium of industrial partners from the aerospace industry, we are using data and artificial intelligence to ensure stable component quality in LMD (Laser Metal Deposition). Data is collected and analyzed using integrated sensors and process monitoring. The solution helps  to establish process control to ensure reproducible component quality.