NextGen Security & Defense

The foundation for sustainability is security.

Security concerns all of us, whether it is in our daily lives while driving a car, in natural disasters like floods, or in geopolitical developments that we are witnessing since 2022.

We rely on the airbag in our car to function, on the disaster management of the Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BBK) to take action, and on the Technical Relief Agency (THW) to be operational when natural forces turn our lives upside down. Other topics such as supply chain issues, critical raw materials, and cybersecurity have also gained relevance in recent years.

Whether it is disasters, wars, or pandemics, quick responsiveness is crucial in security matters. At Fraunhofer IAPT, we focus on this point and develop turnkey 3D printing solutions in the following areas:

  • Spare parts on demand and on-site: Producing replacement parts wherever and whenever needed to shorten delivery times and maintain the operational capability of equipment and systems.
  • Reproducing obsolete components of machines and systems with a long lifespan to avoid rebuilding discontinued process chains.
  • Significantly improving the functionality of safety-critical components and fully utilizing the potential of 3D printing in both plastic and metal domains.

With our expertise in virtualization, process chain automation, and process qualification, we accompany you throughout the value chain of 3D-printed components. From consulting and selecting suitable processes to application development and the delivery of quality-assured and ready-to-install parts.

Focus Areas

Toolless Manufacturing

In situations with long product life cycles, keeping spare parts in stock can be costly. Conventional reproduction of parts is not an option due to long lead times and resulting product downtime.

3D printing can provide a solution with its moldless and toolless manufacturing process. This allows for short lead times without the need for inventory costs.

AM Function Optimization

Lighter, better, faster - the classic drivers for 3D printing also apply to safety and defense components.

The high design freedom allows for the rethinking and manufacturing of components or entire products.

Furthermore, new materials that were previously not processable with conventional methods offer further optimization potential.

Spare Part Supply Chains

In crisis areas, supply chains are often disrupted. This poses a challenge even in regions with strong infrastructure to quickly get spare parts to the deployment site.

With mobile 3D printing, spare parts can be manufactured on-site, eliminating the need for time-consuming, costly, and CO2-intensive shipping. This helps minimize machine downtime to a minimum.

Current Research and Results

Quality Assurance

Do 3D-printed components meet the required properties of the original part? What criteria must be met for approval?

We accompany the entire process chain to the ready-to-use component through the use of different quality assurance systems and active involvement in shaping norms and standards. This ensures that the necessary criteria for approval are met.

Suppressors for Hunting Firearms

By strategically utilizing 3D-printed lattice structures, it is possible to significantly reduce sound emissions while maintaining a lower component weight.

Using hunting firearms as an example, the full potential of design freedom in 3D printing has been exploited, resulting in a significant improvement in suppressor performance.

Additive Mobile Factory®

The Additive Mobile Factory® is a container that has been converted into a robust 3D printer using metal welding processes. It is designed to handle repairs and manufacturing of spare parts in crisis areas.

The system focuses on simplicity of operation and reliable equipment. As a result, no 3D printing expert is required to operate this mobile container, making it accessible to users with basic training.