Lithography-based Metal Manufacturing (LMM)

As one of the first users  in applied research and development worldwide, Fraunhofer IFAM Dresden has installed a system for Lithography-based Metal Manufacturing (LMM), adding an innovative approach to its extensive expertise in the field of additive manufacturing.
The institute will continue to develop the process in a strategic partnership with the manufacturer of the system Incus.


LMM is characterized by very filigree structures. The outstanding surface quality of the process opens up new areas of application that were previously impossible with other additive technologies. These range from aesthetic applications such as jewelry to microfluidics and electronic components.

Range of services

  • Component design
  • Simulations of thermal and fluid dynamics
  • Support in material selection
  • Printing development
  • Heat treatment
  • Characterization

Process description

Mit LMM hergestellte Bauteile (Demonstratoren)
© Incus GmbH
Components manufactured with LMM (demonstrators)

LMM is a stereolithography process. It is based on a paste that is characterized by the fact that, in addition to powder and organic components, it contains a photoinitiator, which hardens under light, ultraviolet radiation especially.

The paste is applied with a squeegee as a thin layer in the air-conditioned build room. This is then selectively exposed to a UV lamp. Then layer after layer is further applied and treated under UV light. When the component or components have been built up, the block, which is solid at room temperature at this point, is removed from the build chamber.

Now the block is heated with warm air so that the unexposed paste melts and only the solid, exposed green part or parts remain. Finally, debinding and sintering produce dense components whose properties are comparable to those of metal injection molding (MIM).