Maritime Technologies

In the field of maritime technologies, Fraunhofer IFAM deals with inquiries from the shipbuilding and offshore industries. Together with companies from the maritime sector, our employees develop targeted solutions to current problems within the framework of research contracts. Our focus ranges from corrosion protection, functional coatings and bonding processes in shipbuilding to electric drives and energy storage systems. 

The business unit Maritime Technologies combines competences from different areas of Fraunhofer IFAM. The broad thematic positioning of the institute enables it to offer research services along the entire value chain for suppliers, shipyards, and ship owners in the area of shipbuilding and offshore wind energy. Through our extensive portfolio of methods and technologies, we offer the maritime industry solutions for surface and subsea technologies and support the maritime industry in entering the 4.0 era of digitalization. Furthermore, Fraunhofer IFAM offers testing and inspection capabilities for the requirements of materials and components under extreme offshore conditions.

With its competencies, Fraunhofer IFAM has a spectrum of innovations and broad expertise:

  • Development and realization of structural adhesive bonding applications
  • Extensive know-how and experience in adhesive selection and qualification
  • Development and characterization of coatings for corrosion protection as well as certification according to the specifications of the classification societies by in-house laboratory tests.
  • Test rigs on Helgoland and Sylt, enabling long-term testing under offshore conditions
  • Development of functional coatings and/or surface modifications which can be used as fouling protection without biocides and at the same time offer flow resistance-reducing or ice-fouling-preventing properties, as well as the testing of these products, e.g. in the institute's ice channel or on the fouling test rig in the harbor on Helgoland.

Fraunhofer IFAM also has a test and trial environment under North Sea conditions at the Test Center for Maritime Technologies on Helgoland. This is to be gradually expanded over the next few years and in the future will also include a focus on unmanned and autonomous flight systems for offshore applications.

Helgoland test site – for researching materials and corrosion processes

The stands on the island of Helgoland enable in total several hundred samples of anti-corrosion and anti-fouling coatings to be tested in the immersed zone, tidal zone, and spray zone as well as on land.

Unmanned aerial vehicle records meteorological measurement data for offshore wind energy

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One pillar for the energy transition is offshore wind energy. When wind farms are built, they influence the wind currents over the sea. For this purpose, meteorological measurement data was collected to investigate changes as well as effects of further wind farm expansion. An application example where the use of an unmanned aerial vehicle provides valuable insights. What sounds simple involves a great deal of know-how, as each flight requires a high level of approval and safety. With the Test Center for Maritime Technologies on Helgoland and extensive flight experience, Fraunhofer IFAM closes this service gap for research and industry.