The basis for powder technology solutions are the starting materials. Required property profiles can be achieved by the mixing of powders. For example, properties such as hardness, toughness, Youngs modulus, wear properties, and thermal expansion can be adapted to requirements. New soft magnetic materials and hard magnetic materials are gaining increasing importance.
A key aspect is knowledge of various shaping and production processes. Shaping and sintering are key processes for component manufacture.
Metal injection molding (MIM) is an example of an established and important shaping process. The experts at Fraunhofer IFAM possess an in-depth understanding of the whole process chain, from the starting powder to feedstock systems and injection molding through to the sintered product. Our range of services includes component development, the production of pilot series, knowledge transfer, and training of production personnel. Also covered are shaping processes for special products such as micro MIM, two component MIM, and extrusion.
Fraunhofer IFAM also has comprehensive expertise in additive manufacturing, where products are made from metal powders without molds being required and are manufactured in virtually any desired shape from 3D CAD data. This method is now not only being used for rapid product development but increasingly also for the production of high-quality, individualized products for end-users.
Functional printing is used to add functions to components. Various powder-based printing technologies therefore also form part of our expertise in powder technology. The methods are being transferred to an industrial scale using a specially designed production line.
Supporting technologies are also important. These include the simulation of shaping processes, as for topology optimization, as well as analytical technologies for powder characterization and rheology.