Half a century of applied research
It all started in 1968 with a working group: The roots of today's Fraunhofer IFAM were laid with the foundation of the AFAM working group for applied materials research from the Institute of Materials Science at the Technical University of Hannover.
With over 70 years, Prof. Alexander Mattig, together with his long-standing senior engineer Dr. Hans-Dieter Steffens, founded the practice-oriented research institute with a total of 25 employees in Bremen-Nord. The main focus of their work was welding technology with all its peripheral areas. The group's full attention was focused on the material and its influence on the joining process.
Without basic funding, AFAM was initially only affiliated with the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. In 1970, it was then incorporated into the society as a working group. After consultation and agreement with the responsible federal ministries, the working group was incorporated into the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft as an institute on January 1, 1974. AFAM became IfaM – Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Materials Research.
At the beginning of the 1980s, the focus of the work shifted to the branches of manufacturing technology, surface technology, material behavior, and structural and composite materials. At the institute, scientists were increasingly concerned with issues relating to adhesive bonding technology, aging of bonded joints, plastic coatings of metals and their quality assurance. The first bonding technology courses were initiated for the production of metal and wood bonding. New approaches were also pursued with the production of metallic powders under extreme boundary conditions. The basis for powder technology was thus created.
In 1992, IfaM received scientific support: a branch office for polymer composites in Teltow-Seehof and the branch office for powder metallurgy and composites in Dresden were integrated with 35 additional employees.
At the beginning of 1994, IfaM was restructured: the institute was subdivided into the departments "End Forming Production" headed by Prof. Hans-Dieter Kunze and "Adhesive Bonding Technology and Polymers" headed by Dr. Otto-Diedrich Hennemann. From pure materials research, the areas of work were systematically expanded over the years to include processing technology. In 1999, this was also reflected in the institute's name: Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM. Today, the institute is jointly managed under this name by Prof. Matthias Busse and Prof. Bernd Mayer.
With the expansion of new locations in Stade, Wolfsburg, Braunschweig and Helgoland, the number of employees has now grown to over 700. In total, IFAM researchers have written over 5500 publications and registered 1260 patents in the last 50 years.