Emerging applications of PM & AM – An Interview with Thomas Weißgärber

Material and technology developments for the future

Where do you see the potential of powder metallurgy and additive manufacturing in particular for the challenges of our time?

The major challenges of the energy transition and the change in mobility, along with the requirements in medical technology, call for new technical solutions that take sustainability and resilience into account. Materials and production technology have a key role to play here. The specific flexibility of powder metallurgy and additive manufacturing regarding material diversity and design freedom in component design can and will produce innovative solutions for the challenges mentioned.

WWhich developments of Fraunhofer IFAM play a special role for you?

Our activities in material development and manufacturing technologies mainly focus on the areas of energy, mobility, and medicine. We are working intensively on the further development of water electrolysis for the efficient production of green hydrogen, for example. However, it is not only hydrogen production but also storage that will determine the success of a hydrogeneconomy. Our work on solid-state storage will contribute to this. Powder metallurgical composite concepts are a key for high storage density and for the necessary thermal management during hydrogenation and dehydrogenation. Increasing attention is being paid to waste heat utilization. We are addressing this with work on heat storage and thermoelectrics. In the field of mobility, developments in lightweight materials are worth mentioning, e.g., for reducing wear and thus increasing the service life of braking systems or for reducing vibrations in mechanical engineering.

With the EMATec 2023 conference, Fraunhofer IFAM would like to bring together international activities in this field for the first time. Why should this event in Dresden not be missed?

The aim of EMATec is to create a regular forum that promotes interdisciplinary exchange between users, manufacturers and development and creates a nucleus for innovative powder metallurgical solutions of the future. Be part of this exchange. I look forward to seeing you there.