Technologies and processes for automated assembly, machining, and manufacturing

From assembly and joining technologies such as adhesive bonding and foundry technology to additive manufacturing processes and printing technologies – Fraunhofer IFAM has expertise in a wide range of processes for an automated and digitized production environment. In the following, we give you a first impression of our range of services. We will be happy to advise you on your individual questions.

Automated joining processes for lightweight structures


Fraunhofer IFAM has extensive know-how and decades of experience in the field of partially or fully automated adhesive bonding with high process reliability and long-term durability of the bonded joint. In accordance with the customer's requirements and in close coordination with the customer, the scientists develop joining processes for lightweight structures up to 1:1 scale and develop optimally coordinated integrated manufacturing and plant concepts up to large-scale plants ready for production.

Adaptive application systems for bonding


The automated application of one- or two-component adhesives and sealants, adhesive films or liquid shims focuses in particular on the defect-free filling of joint gaps with defined material discharge, right down to the sub-millimeter accuracy of surface contours. When it comes to automating processes that were previously carried out manually, where the adhesive is to be retained, the scientists are working on further solutions: These include the automation of complex manual operations as well as the automated conveying, mixing and metering of adhesive systems that were not developed for automated processing.

Application systems for painting and coating


Compared to manual painting and coating, automatic painting and coating processes stand for increased and uniform coating quality. In addition, material, cost, and energy savings can be expected. The experts at Fraunhofer IFAM replace manual processes with automatic innovative painting and coating processes and optimize existing plants. A networked surface technology, a demo center for painting and coating (“VOLD”) is available for feasibility studies. In addition to multi-component dispensing technology and painting robots, the demo center has a wide range of application technology, from pneumatic to electrostatic high-rotation atomization. A wide range of pretreatment methods and quality assurance processes complete the capabilities of the demo center.

Digitization of castings


The CASTTRONICS® technology developed at Fraunhofer IFAM enables electronic functional elements to be cast into metallic castings. This results in components with higher functionality than before, so-called "smart castings". They provide the basis for digitizing the manufacture and use of castings and also offer novel capabilities, for example for identifying and tracking castings using integrated RFID transponders or for monitoring the condition of castings using integrated sensors.

Machining technologies for lightweight construction


The focus of the development of automated production processes in lightweight construction is on milling, drilling, and waterjet cutting. In cooperation with the Technical University of Hamburg (TUHH), researchers at Fraunhofer IFAM are integrating robots or gantry systems into processes which require a high degree of mobility of the tool along the component while at the same time placing high demands on precision. In addition, they are developing solutions which allow simultaneous intervention of several machining units on the same component.

Additive manufacturing: From CAD data directly to the component


By using additive processes, components can be created from powders in almost any and very complex shapes from 3D CAD data. The manufactured components are given their final properties directly in the process. Common to all commercially available process variants is the principle of tool-free, layer-by-layer construction of the component on the basis of the three-dimensional CAD model. These processes are used in particular in the implementation of rapid product development in prototype and small series production and, in the area of sinter-based processes, increasingly also in the series production of geometrically complex components.

Printed electronics


Printed electronics open up a wide range of applications, mainly in the fields of energy, electronics, medical technology, mobility, and aerospace, which would not be feasible with conventional electronics.

Special features and functions can be easily realized, especially using printed electronics. We focus primarily on the application of electrically conductive structures, insulating layers and structures, as well as the production of sensory components and 3D surfaces.