Fraunhofer

Competencies

On behalf of our clients, we develop and optimize solutions for modern production facilities. Rather than considering production activities as individual operations, our work involves looking at all production processes and the links between all the elements of the overall process in their entirety.

The Fraunhofer Project Center at the University of Twente offers customers and project partners special and immediately practical solutions for the current production in the fields of process technology, production machines, production quality and metrology, as well as technology management.

Process Technology

In the area of process technology, we develop new production processes for your applications and optimize those already existing: from process analyses of the conceptual development and consultation up to the practical realization, we create integrated solutions for your business.

Non-conventional manufacturing processes and technology integration

We develop new technologies to complement or substitute existing value-adding chains, which comprise include electro-erosive processes such as EDM and ECM, laser technologies and high-pressure water jet abrasion. We also integrate production technology into existing process chains, starting with an analysis and assessment of the existing chains, then adjusting or re-designing them and finally integrating new technologies into customer systems. Further, we develop CAM modules for various processes, which also guarantee the industry transfer of our process knowledge.

For fields such as tribology, mold construction and bionics, we offer laser beam structuring services for the application of high-precision 3D structures. We develop hybrid technologies for high-strength and hard-brittle materials that enable a complete machining of complex-shaped components. Electro-erosive abrasion allows a rapid, accurate and safe production of complex geometries for applications in turbomachine construction, medical technology or tool and die making. The technology of high-pressure water jet abrasion can be used in preparation for the processing of materials that are difficult to machine or highly sensitive.

High performance cutting

We develop machining technologies and integrates them into practical solutions for industrial environments, concentrating on simultaneous multi-axial milling operations and the turning of geometrically complex components that are made from super-alloys, high-strength steel, lightweight and composite materials as well as customized production materials. Typical applications include components for turbo engine manufacturing, the aerospace industry, tool and die making and medical technology.

An integrated management of research and development projects requires comprehensive technological knowledge, skills and experience with a wide range of systems and sophisticated equipment, all of which can be found at the Fraunhofer IPT. We can provide our clients and partners with unrivalled levels of assistance in fundamental research, the development and optimization of processes as well as the production of prototypes.

Fine machining and optics

We develop production and processing technologies for precision components, based on a profound understanding of the fundamental principles involved and with the objective of addressing actual and highly specifi c requirements of industrial environments. For these purposes, we are using the latest engineering and software technologies. The technology portfolio includes ultra-precision grinding and polishing processes, diamond cutting technology as well as the molding of high-precision glass components for which we cover the entire process chain from mold design to the molding of the finished products.

We also develop robot-based and machine-based grinding and polishing technologies, aiming to replace manual operations in tool and die making as well as in the production of components for turbomachinery with automatic machining processes.

Production machines

We consider ourselves to be a competent and professional partner for the development and construction of production plant with which to individually and efficiently manufacture your complex products - from initial technical advice to final implementation.  

Precision technology and plastic replication

We develop customized machines and facilities for high-precision applications. Our engineering concepts for the assembly of optics and reel-to-reel process technology are highly modularized. This enables us to build up customized facilities efficiently and to design flexible industrial process chains. We are also engaged in the creation of sensor-assisted networks that combine machine components and machines and in the acceleration of calibration processes for 5-axis facilities.

We furthermore conduct research into the production of high-precision plastic optics and structured films for applications in medical technology and other areas. Tool and die manufacturing and roll machining complete the process chain from feasibility studies to series production of optics and films. We are equipped with a comprehensive array of sophisticated equipment and has many years of experience in diamond machining. 

Fiber-reinforces plastics and laser system technology

We meet the growing industrial demand for automated processes to produce high-performance materials, developing facilities for the manufacturing of fiber-reinforced composites as well as technologies for their automation. Our skills and experience in laser systems technology allow us to optimize conventional machines and production lines – for sheet metal processing, e.g. – by integrating laser system modules into their processes.

We concentrate our research on fiber-reinforced lightweight components that are made from duroplastics or thermoplastics (FRP) for applications in car manufacturing, the aerospace industry, the oil and gas industries as well as mechanical engineering. Our research and development activities comprise the design of FRP production processes and the provision of support for the development of new products. We also construct customized equipment with integrated laser systems technology for combined laser-assisted machining operations and other ways of combining laser processing with conventional machining.

Using laser beams as additional instruments in conventional machine tools widens the functional range of the equipment, renders the production process more flexible and shortens the cycle times for the production of complex components.

Production Quality and Metrology

The highest possible levels of quality, resulting in correspondingly high levels of efficiency of structure and workflow organization – this is, in our view, the key to competitiveness and innovative strength. We design and industrialize processes through effective measuring technology and an entrepreneurial understanding of quality.

Production Metrology

We are dedicated to the digitalization of industrial processes. We develop measuring technology for quality assurance systems of manufacturing companies, making use of a wide range of sophisticated measuring systems that we offer to our clients for contract services while continuously developing and refining such systems in close coordination with our partners and suppliers.

We focus our efforts on the industrialization and automation of production and measuring processes as well as on the digitization and networking of production systems for the purpose of creating adaptive process control structures and of gathering production data. Together with our clients, we research and develop hardware and software for digitalized production processes with a view to rendering production systems and production processes more flexible.

Production quality

Production digitization and networking trends confront quality assurance systems with enormous challenges, but also represent a huge optimization potential. The analysis of large amounts of data creates a base for more stable and more efficient processes, risk reduction and shorter ramp-up stages. Smart devices provide operating staff with access to context-sensitive information – unskilled workers can, for example, be enabled to perform component checks. Horizontally and vertically integrated data and information pave the way for a flexible and efficient operation of individual processes and entire production facilities.

 We are creating high-quality production lines for tomorrow’s digital factories, researching and developing high-performance tools and processes for the efficient manufacturing of safe and reliable products.

Technology Management

Sophisticated technology management is a significant factor in the success of technology oriented companies. Companies which remain resolutely customer-focused throughout the development, deployment and substitution phases, can build and maintain a competitive edge.  

Strategic technology management

Companies need to be able to identify useful technologies quickly, to develop them so they meet the needs of their customers, to implement them and to replace them when something better comes up. They need a systematic technology management in order to lay down a sustainable, futureproof technology base that exists to meet the requirements of their customers. We help companies to analyze product and production technologies, strategic objectives and their specific operating environments.

In close coordination with our clients, we design a customized technology management system for them that meets their individual requirements. We also help them to analyze their structures in order to identify their range of core competences. Customized technology strategies allow our clients to make the right decisions and to fully exploit their potential.

Operative technology management

The growing volume of available data – in combination with the increasingly easy access to knowledge of all kinds – has created an over-supply of information that some people may find confusing. We identify future technologies, products, markets, customers and competitors, creating an integrated foundation of facts on which technological unique selling points can be developed that distinguish our clients from their competitor. We concentrate our search on company-specific technology developments, implement individual technology forecasting processes including any auxiliary instruments that may be required and make use of the technological skills and experience of our large network.

Increasing procurement requirements and the growing complexity as well as diversity of the products confront companies with signifi cant challenges. It is important to monitor the development of the components’ costs and to assess the offers from different suppliers on the basis of functionality and quality. We support our client companies in the design, the implementation and the follow-up of cost optimization projects and identify sustainable savings potentials for their product sourcing operation.