The most universal additive manufacturing (AM) process for metals in focus

The Fraunhofer Competence Field for Additive Manufacturing will once again be present at Rapid.Tech 3D with its own trade forum and will focus on the potential of Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF).

Once again, the Fraunhofer Competence Field for Additive Manufacturing is using Rapid.Tech 3D in Erfurt to present the latest research results in its own trade forum. “At the event on 18 May 2022, we will be focusing on Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF), the most universal and industrially widespread additive manufacturing process for metals. Out of a total of seven lectures, five will highlight current developments and the potential of this technology from various perspectives,” says Dr Bernhard Müller, spokesperson for the Competence Field for Additive Manufacturing.

Significant increase in productivity with LPBF

For example, the Fraunhofer IAPT was able to demonstrate that by increasing the layer thicknesses to 150 micrometres and using laser systems up to 1kW in an industrial LPBF system, it is possible to increase productivity by more than three times compared to conventional LPBF processes - simultaneously reducing costs by more than 40 per cent. “The expected increase in productivity is particularly interesting in terms of opening up new applications where AM is currently not yet cost-effective. We are primarily targeting structural components in the automotive industry and have so far been able to demonstrate the potential for aluminium and steel in the projects,” explains Dr Philipp Imgrund from Fraunhofer IAPT in Hamburg.

The LPBF method can also be used to increase efficiency for mobility components in the field of drive systems, as Simon Vervoort from Fraunhofer ILT Aachen will demonstrate in his presentation. The institute has produced a hybrid engine using high-performance plastics. With the aid of this combination of processes, the researchers were able to achieve a significant reduction in weight as well as improved cooling. These changes increase the efficiency of the engine. In the future, this should facilitate the use of green hydrogen in combustion engines.

Use in the pharmaceutical and food industries

Production facilities in the pharmaceutical and food industries have particularly high requirements when it comes to the design of the components used. “For hygienic reasons, there should ideally be no weld seams, especially in places that come into contact with the product, to ensure improved cleaning. Here, the advantages of additive manufacturing, such as geometric diversity, flow-optimised design of channels, reduced space requirements and low weight, come into play,” explains Sebastian Stelzer from Fraunhofer IWU. However, one disadvantage of the LPBF process is the resulting surface roughness. During his presentation, Sebastian Stelzer will show strategies for improving surface quality that have been developed at the Fraunhofer IWU and which will continue to be developed.

Other presentations deal with innovative scanning strategies for LPBF system engineering (Fraunhofer IWU), product protection in additive manufacturing (Fraunhofer IAPT), simulation of the LPBF process (Fraunhofer IWM) and an application in the recycling industry (Fraunhofer IFAM).

High-calibre specialist programme with innovations from AM application and research

The Rapid.Tech 3D specialist conference will offer further insights into current developments in additive technology, with keynote speeches from Airbus Helicopter, Autodesk, the German Emirati Institute, Porsche, Procter & Gamble, Sauber and Toolcraft. The issues will be discussed in greater depth on all three days of the conference in the various trade forums. In addition to the Fraunhofer trade forum, there will be forums on AM in Construction Engineering & Architecture; Automotive & Mobility; Design, Aviation; Medical, Dental & Orthopaedic Technology; Software & Processes; Tool, Model and Mould Making, and News from AM. The latest developments in and prospects for AM research and training will be considered in the 3D Printing & Education and AM Science forums.

Detailed information on the keynote speeches and the content of the individual trade forums can be found in the overview of the programme for the Rapid.Tech 3D specialist conference at the following link:

Well-known exhibitors have already booked their places

The Rapid.Tech 3D exhibition will also offer an insight into the latest developments and applications in additive manufacturing. Companies and research institutions such as alphacam, Farsoon Europe, FIT, Fraunhofer, Intamsys, Kaut-Bullinger, Nano Dimension, Oechsler, Stratasys and Trumpf have already booked their stands in Erfurt. There’s still time to book an exhibition space. More detailed information is available from the following link:


Book tickets conveniently online

The Rapid.Tech 3D ticket shop is already open. Tickets to attend the conference on one, two or three days can be booked online at your convenience at: