Development and optimizing of the process
One focus area in additive manufacturing lies in the further development of powder-bed-based processes. These include selective laser melting of metals and selective laser sintering of polymers.
A strategic goal of the department is to optimize the process with regard to costs and productivity by developing new process and build strategies. Among other factors, the position of the component in the powder bed and the shape and geometry of the laser beam play a decisive role in this respect.
The intention is to be in a position to offer efficient alternatives during production of individualized prototypes, spare parts, and low-volume production runs. This applies to metal components and components made of polymers.
A central research task of the department will be the develop-ment of suitable system components and their integration into the build process.
A further focus area of the department is extrusion-based additive manufacturing processes such as filament printing of polymers and binder-based printing of metals for prototypes and, also, for series production in future.
The handling of loose, fine metal powder is currently still hazardous, both in terms of occupational and health safety. Fraunhofer IAPT develops special handling and monitoring components for safe additive manufacturing.
The use of additively manufactured components requires the implementation of an appropriate finishing process. This post- processing needs to be optimized in the same manner as the actual manufacturing process.The entire process chain ultimately governs the costs relating to the component. Further development of surface treatments and post-processing at Fraunhofer IAPT is investigated closely in a dedicated working group and adapted for customers.