Trade fair exhibits

Materials and Lasers – Competence with a System

Visit us at international trade fairs and discover trends as well as future-oriented developments in materials, surface and laser technology. Our experts will be pleased to assist you with individual solutions. On this website you will find an overview of our current trade show exhibits. For a quick navigation please use the links below:

 

Ablation and Cutting

Additive Manufacturing

Biosystems Engineering

Chemical Surface and Battery Technology

Joining

Carbon Coatings

Laser Precision Processing

Nano Coatings

Optical Metrology

Thermal Coating

Heat Treatment and Plating

Systems in laser cutting and laser welding

Coupling of laser source, three-dimensional beam shaping unit and multi-sensor system for intelligent process control.
© Fraunhofer IWS
Coupling of laser source, three-dimensional beam shaping unit and multi-sensor system for intelligent process control.

Sensor-supported laser material processing with three-dimensional dynamic beam shaping 

In a holistic solution approach, laser source, three-dimensional beam shaping and process sensor technology are coupled for efficient and reliable process control for laser cutting, welding and hardening. The dynamic three-dimensional beam shaping enables a temporal and spatial change of the energy distribution in the range of several kilohertz, whereby this can be adjusted sensor-controlled within a few milliseconds.   

The low latency requires an enormous amount of computing power, which is why multi-sensor monitoring of laser processes and AI-based data processing are the subject of current research in order to develop a new generation of inline process control. The long-term goal is to take into account further necessary part and production information in order to develop concepts for cloud-based data-driven services.

Additively manufactured rocket engine with aerospike nozzle for microlauncher

Additively manufactured rocket engine with aerospike nozzle for microlauncher (aerospike)
© Fraunhofer IWS
Additively manufactured rocket engine with aerospike nozzle for microlauncher (aerospike)

Microlaunchers can carry small payloads such as satellites weighing up to 350 kg and are a particularly economical alternative to conventional launch vehicles. Until now, it has not been possible to implement aerospike propulsion systems using conventional manufacturing processes, as they pose particular challenges in terms of cooling heavily stressed component regions. Theoretically, fuel savings of 30 percent are possible for microlauncher applications compared to conventional engines.

Together with aerospace experts from the Technical University of Dresden, the advantages of additive manufacturing were first exploited in a geometry study for innovative cooling channels and flow-optimized fuel feeds. Subsequently, an aerospike rocket engine manufactured additively by laser powder bed fusion was developed for the test stand and its function demonstrated in a hot gas test.

Privacy warning

With the click on the play button an external video from www.youtube.com is loaded and started. Your data is possible transferred and stored to third party. Do not start the video if you disagree. Find more about the youtube privacy statement under the following link: https://policies.google.com/privacy

Video: Additively manufactured rocket engine with aerospike nozzle – from conceptual design to realization (YouTube)

Process monitoring for direct metal deposition

POWDERscreen is designed for laser cladding, whereby special nozzles deliver concentrated streams of metal powder precisely into the focus of a laser beam. This melts the powder onto the workpiece surface to create complex 3D structures.
© Christoph Wilsnack/Fraunhofer IWS
POWDERscreen is designed for laser cladding, whereby special nozzles deliver concentrated streams of metal powder precisely into the focus of a laser beam. This melts the powder onto the workpiece surface to create complex 3D structures.
Plant integrated measurement: The "LIsec" powder nozzle measurement system reveals powder flows after leaving the nozzle.
© gierig media / Ben Gierig
Plant integrated measurement: The "LIsec" powder nozzle measurement system reveals powder flows after leaving the nozzle.

“POWDERscreen” detects powder particles: Increased process reproducibility through permanent monitoring of the powder mass flow rate

For a stable and therefore reproducible process, in addition to process shielding with “COAXshield” and the qualification of the powder cone by the “LIsec” device, it is also necessary to know all input variables exactly and to control them, if necessary. Especially the continuous measurement of the fed powder quantity has been a great challenge so far. The fed powder mass can be calculated exactly on this basis. As a result, it is possible to detect fluctuations in the particle mass flow and report them to a downstream controller.

Not only does this significantly increase the process reliability, but it also enables several different powders to be mixed in a targeted manner during the welding process. A discrete-time measurement of the powder mass flow also significantly increases the process digitization level and provides data for creating a digital twin of the created component.

 

“LIsec” lights the powder flow: A measuring system for automated characterization of the powder nozzle during laser powder build-up welding

While tool calibration is state of the art in conventionally used ablative processes such as milling, in laser powder build-up welding it is still a great challenge. Fraunhofer IWS developed the measuring device ”LIsec” to solve this challenge and to move the limits to technical feasibility. The abbreviation stands for ”Light Section” and already reveals the principle: A measuring laser scans the powder flow after leaving the nozzle. A right-angled camera records light sections through the powder and forwards them to an analysis software. The three-dimensional distribution of the powder flow can be calculated with high precision. This allows significantly simplified quality control and provides information on the wear degree of the powder nozzle.

For example, it can be used to repair damaged or worn turbine blades on aircraft in higher quality and more reliably than before. In this respect, the measuring device can contribute to greater safety and lower maintenance costs in aviation. 

Additive technologies for medicine and healthcare

Additive manufacturing is a key technology in the healthcare of the future, as it allows the production of patient-specific system solutions from digital models at the point of need. The international Fraunhofer Performance Center for Additive Technologies for Medicine and Healthcare bundles the know-how of various Fraunhofer Institutes and Polish institutes and is thus the central point of contact in this field of expertise. 

Among other things, the performance center supports parameter and technology development for the generative manufacturing of medical components or devices as well as their characterization.

Material development and processing is a central focus of the performance center. These include:

  • Biocompatible and biodegradable materials
  • Antibacterial and functionalized surfaces
  • Processing of fiber-reinforced materials for lightweight solutions
  • Integration of textile semi-finished products for functional enhancement
  • Material processing with shape memory effect or pseudoelastic properties

A unique selling point of the performance center is its holistic technology development, which also includes additively manufactured diagnostic solutions. This includes, among other things, microphysiological systems that enable in vitro analyses without animal testing, but also sensor integration to facilitate the acquisition of health data, e.g. for the automated and digitalized monitoring of recovery processes.

Lab-on-chip systems: From prototype to series production in no time

Design rules are being developed and tested to enable the production of functinally equipment.
© ronaldbonss.com/Fraunhofer IWS
Design rules are being developed and tested to enable the production of functinally equipment.

It is used millions of times a day all over the world: as a portable miniature laboratory, the Corona antigen rapid test is currently clearly demonstrating the potential of lab-on-chip systems. Analysis within a very short time is of immense importance, especially during a pandemic. Ever more of these miniature medical systems are being used in diagnostics. However, the development and manufacture of more complicated test systems is associated with high costs. In the SIMPLE-IVD research project, scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology IWS are working with several partners to develop new manufacturing processes and methods for the cost-efficient production of rapid test cartridges. 

Particle Monitoring System (PAmos)

The compact device "PAmos" determines and monitors fine dust pollution in technical systems, processes and in laboratories.
© Fraunhofer IWS
The compact device "PAmos" determines and monitors fine dust pollution in technical systems, processes and in laboratories.

The compact device ”PAmos” determines and monitors fine dust pollution in technical systems, processes and in laboratories. The Fraunhofer IWS monitoring solution can be integrated into the employees' working area with low effort, helping them to safely comply with health and safety regulations.

PAmos is used in particular in dry powder processes, additive manufacturing, coating and ablation processes, welding processes, laser processing, and battery manufacturing and processing. The particle monitoring system detects fine dust particles of the classes PM1.0, PM2.5, PM4 and PM10, measures the usual air values such as temperature, pressure and humidity and additionally has an air quality sensor (AQI) included. The measured values are transmitted wirelessly in real time and the measurement result is conveniently displayed in a browser without additional installation. Meshing of several devices is also possible.

Do you have a need for fine dust measurements? We will gladly accept your inquiries and adapt our system to your specific requirements. Together we will develop an individual solution for you. In addition, we support you with precise particle measurement technology.

New perspectives in laser welding

© Fraunhofer IWS

Dynamic Beam Shaping to optimize laser processing

Modern fiber-bound or mirror-optical manipulation of the laser beam – to adapt intensity distribution in the weld pool – dominate recent developments for process stabilization and thus for quality improvement. Various application examples include battery systems for electromobility. Especially the use of material-adapted beam manipulation for of the welding process appears very promising. Fraunhofer IWS developed new possibilities of highly dynamic beam shaping (DBS) to avoid hot cracks in age-hardenable aluminum alloys allow highly efficient to avoid the previously necessary addition of filler metals. For the first time it is possible to overcome metallurgical limitations in laser beam welding with remote optics by using this intensity-based approach.

 

Modern fiber laser technology – welding of difficult-to-weld materials

In addition to modern scanner optics, new fiber-bonded laser systems offer excellent possibilities for laser beam welding processes. Increasing electrification of vehicles creates a high demand for flexible and efficient joining technologies for difficult-to-weld materials such as copper and aluminum – especially aluminum die casting.  One possible solution is laser welding with superimposed beam oscillation, which allows adapting the welding conditions to the respective requirements. In addition, high-power lasers or beam sources with short wavelengths (e.g. 515 nm) achieve high-quality welds even on highly reflective material surfaces. This results in new process approaches to overcome existing process limitations in laser welding of copper and aluminum alloys.

 

Joining with solid-state lasers for steel construction

Dr. Dirk Dittrich from the Fraunhofer IWS has developed an improved laser welding process with a team from research and industry. Using a laser-welded indoor crane segment, the team pointed out that the process can save considerable re-sources in steel construction.
© René Jungnickel/Fraunhofer IWS
Dr. Dirk Dittrich from the Fraunhofer IWS has developed an improved laser welding process with a team from research and industry. Using a laser-welded indoor crane segment, the team pointed out that the process can save considerable re-sources in steel construction.
The laser beam is positioned at the joint be-tween the two sheet edges to be welded, and a filler metal is inserted in front of it at the same time. The pro-cess results in a high-quality welded seam.
© Fraunhofer IWS
The laser beam is positioned at the joint be-tween the two sheet edges to be welded, and a filler metal is inserted in front of it at the same time. The pro-cess results in a high-quality welded seam.

Energy and resource efficiency are gaining ever more significance, which is why the Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology IWS has worked with its partners to develop an alternative for conventional steel construction that not only constitutes a process technology solution, but also forms the basis for hardware and laser safety. This solution facilitates gentler machining of high-strength materials, as well as significantly reducing energy consumption and costs while greatly increasing process speed. The energy input required for the component can be reduced by up to 80 percent compared with conventional joining processes. Not only that, subsequent straightening of the component is eliminated entirely from the process.

Many technical structures feature some form of steel construction. Be it a container ship, railway vehicle, bridge or wind turbine tower, any one of these structures can have several hundred meters of welding seams. Conventional industrial processes such as metal active gas welding or submerged arc welding are usually used for this purpose. Here’s the problem: Due to the low intensity of the arc, a large proportion of the energy expended is not actually used in the welding process, but is lost to the component in the form of heat. The energy required for post-weld treatment is often of a similar magnitude to that required for the welding process itself. “These energy-intensive processes cause significant thermal damage to the material and result in severe distortion of the structure, which then demands very costly straightening work afterwards,” emphasizes Dr. Dirk Dittrich, who heads up the Laser Beam Welding group at Fraunhofer IWS.

Privacy warning

With the click on the play button an external video from www.youtube.com is loaded and started. Your data is possible transferred and stored to third party. Do not start the video if you disagree. Find more about the youtube privacy statement under the following link: https://policies.google.com/privacy

Video

Joining with solid-state lasers – Get ready for the steel construction revolution

Finite element simulation – Design of laser welded gears

FE-based development of stress-adapted and production-suitable transmission components.
© Fraunhofer IWS
FE-based development of stress-adapted and production-suitable transmission components.

Development and design of laser-welded transmission components for aerospace applications

Laser beam welding in gear manufacturing opens up completely new product solutions with excellent properties in terms of wear, corrosion resistance and service life. The gear components presented are based on multi-material solutions made of case-hardened or nitrided steel for the gearing area and corrosion-resistant steel for exterior application. Functional integration enables significant advantages over current solutions in terms of installation space and costs. The main challenge is to solve both, the demanding design and welding tasks and to ensure the fatigue strength of the joint zone for complex gear loads.

A holistic, digital design and manufacturing strategy for such multi-material aerospace transmission components is being pursued in the design process. In this, the setup of a holistic chain of component simulation, adaptive laser-based manufacturing technologies and multi-axial fatigue strength testing is realized. The first step is the development of a stress- and production-suitable component design based on structural-mechanical finite element (FE) simulations and welding process-specific requirements. The realization of the adapted laser beam welding technology is supported by accompanying welding simulations in order to minimize residual stresses and distortion. In the final step, the component fatigue strength is validated on the basis of multi-axial fatigue tests on simplified test specimens, which are supplemented by FE-based calculation concepts in accordance with current regulations.

Due to the holistic development strategy, iterative design changes are generally not required, resulting in short product development times. Multi-axis cyclic testing on simplified test specimens significantly reduces testing costs and increases validation accuracy compared to cost-intensive transmission test rigs. High wear, corrosion and service life requirements for future transmission systems can therefore be met cost-effectively and reliably with the development strategy presented.

Continuous co-consolidation of fiber-reinforced high-performance laminates

Advanced Laser in-situ joining enables continuous co-consolidation of thermoplastic multidirectionally reinforced CFRP-laminates to revolutionize the manufacturing of large-scale aircraft structures.
© Fraunhofer IWS
Advanced Laser in-situ joining enables continuous co-consolidation of thermoplastic multidirectionally reinforced CFRP-laminates to revolutionize the manufacturing of large-scale aircraft structures.

The automated joining of already consolidated fiber-reinforced high-performance thermoplastic laminates has been a challenge so far. For this purpose, a continuous joining process for joining already consolidated multidirectional laminates made of fiber-plastic composites (FRP) was developed at the Fraunhofer IWS.

As part of the Joint Technology Initiative "Clean Sky" by the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and its institutes as well as other industry and research partners, a "MultiFunctional Fuselage Demonstrator" is being set up. This will be used to demonstrate the joining of two 8 m long aircraft fuselage half-shells using the laser in-situ process. 

Magnetic pulse welding for cryogenic applications

© ronaldbonss.com

Magnetic pulse welding enables to join dissimilar metals. In spite of their distinct melting temperatures, copper, steel and aluminum can be joined vacuum-tight. The application temperatures are 1 K for the cryogenic cup and 20 K for the connection between the steel bellow and the aluminum tubes. The ductility of the joining zone ensures a high load bearing capability at mechanical and thermal cyclic loads.

New possibilities of joining technology in aircraft construction – example laser welding

Laser welded T-joint using filler materials.
© Fraunhofer IWS
Laser welded T-joint using filler materials.

Laser beam welding is established in several passenger aircrafts since long time. The subject of the research activities is to demonstrate the potential of high dynamic beam manipulation to avoid hot cracking on engineering aluminum alloys. The results from laboratory experiments show that, depending on the joint geometry and the Al-alloy, typical hot crack formations in the weld metal can be almost completely suppressed.

LAwave – Fast and non-destructive coating inspection with laser acoustics

Fast and non-destructive characterization of surfaces and coatings for quality assurance.
© Fraunhofer IWS
Fast and non-destructive characterization of surfaces and coatings for quality assurance.

Laser acoustic surface wave spectroscopy is a fast and non-destructive method for mechanical characterization of coatings and surface conditions, including thermal spraying and laser cladding. The method is sensitive to all influences that affect mechanical cohesion and thus alter the speed of sound, including pores, horizontal and lateral cracks. By measuring the effective elastic properties, information can be obtained, for example, on Young's modulus, bonding defects, cracks, pores and oxide inclusions, but also, depending on the problem, on material composition and layer thickness.

On the one hand, the method is used for non-destructive and industrial quality assurance. On the other hand, in combination with cross-section preparation, it is a powerful tool for research and development, as it allows a true mechanical assessment of the observed structures.

Mass production for fuel cells – automated and cost-effective

More efficient coating processes, such as roll-to-roll, are to enable the scaling of fuel cell manufacturing to industrial mass production.
© Fraunhofer IWS
More efficient coating processes, such as roll-to-roll, are to enable the scaling of fuel cell manufacturing to industrial mass production.
The Dortmunder OberflächenCentrum DOC® has already developed a new type of carbon coating that offers significant cost savings and production advantages compared with conventional solutions.
© Fraunhofer IWS
The Dortmunder OberflächenCentrum DOC® has already developed a new type of carbon coating that offers significant cost savings and production advantages compared with conventional solutions.
The project ”miniBIP II - Metallic bipolar plates from strip processes for coating and forming precision strip” was funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy on the basis of a resolution of the German Bundestag under the grand number 03ETB007B and implemented by Project Management Jülich (PTJ).
The project ”miniBIP II - Metallic bipolar plates from strip processes for coating and forming precision strip” was funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy on the basis of a resolution of the German Bundestag under the grand number 03ETB007B and implemented by Project Management Jülich (PTJ).

Researchers around the world are working on pioneering technologies for zero-emission mobility. Experts see great potential in hydrogen-based fuel cells. To advance the technology, two challenges need to be addressed: Scaling up production to industrial mass production and reducing manufacturing costs. Thanks to their extensive expertise, Fraunhofer IWS researchers are currently developing concepts for the necessary manufacturing steps.

In the development, the focus is on materials and their compounds, which provide both a long service life and highest performance. The topics of component coating, joining and cutting also offer potential for optimization. ”We therefore strive to establish the best processes specifically for this purpose,” says Dr. Teja Roch, head of the project group at Dortmunder OberflächenCentrum DOC®.

More efficient coating processes offer a possible option for higher production speeds. Fraunhofer IWS scientists are hence developing solutions for cost-effective coil coating. The first result is a new type of carbon coating which can easily be formed. In addition, systems engineering and concepts for joining and cutting in the strip process are being developed. One example is the patented gap-based joining process. Here, the laser beam is guided directly between two sheets. The otherwise visible weld seam and requirements for complex clamping technology become obsolete. A further developed and powerful method for cutting is laser remote cutting, in which a laser is guided over a surface and locally vaporizes material. Production advantages lie in particular in the combination of processes and the use of adapted optics, laser sources and measurement sensors.

Efficient microprocessing in micrometer scale

Fraunhofer IWS researchers transfer the patented laser interference process to the roll-to-roll principle. The aim: 3D laser structuring of cell components shall optimize battery performance and capacity.
© ronaldbonss.com
Fraunhofer IWS researchers transfer the patented laser interference process to the roll-to-roll principle. The aim: 3D laser structuring of cell components shall optimize battery performance and capacity.

Better batteries thanks to DLIP on new roll-to-roll system

“Direct laser interference patterning“ (DLIP) can be used to add new functionality to the surfaces of conductor films in batteries: The interference patterns can increase the reaction area and improve the adhesion of the metal foils. Thereby, more possibilities open up for battery manufacturers to increase the lifetime and capacity of their energy storage devices and, at the same time, the range of electric cars.

Fraunhofer IWS and Technische Universität Dresden have continuously advanced this laser structuring process over the past years. The focus is now increasingly on the demand to improve the processing speed of DLIP systems and to reduce their form factor. This is exactly the aim of the project “Next-Gen-3DBat“, in which Fraunhofer IWS, the companies Daimler and Varta as well as other partners are cooperating under the leadership of the project executing organization Jülich. By means of 3D laser structuring of cell components, researchers want to optimize the performance and capacity of batteries.

Fraunhofer IWS is transferring their patented laser interference patterning process to the roll-to-roll principle. The new system is designed to continuously unwind and structure current conductor foils from rolls. Compared to cycle processes, the goal is to shorten processing times. The project partners expect throughputs of around one square meter per minute. In addition, the coils commonly used in industry can be further processed. A prototype is operational, and an improved system is under construction. Fraunhofer IWS is also pursuing another innovative approach: the laser beam is optimized by a combination of several beam shaping methods to produce a high aspect ratio and a uniform interference pattern on the current conductor foil. This significantly increases the area processed with each ultrashort pulse.

Micrometer-accurate structures create functional surfaces

Pulsed lasers enable selective matrix removal on fiber-reinforced plastics to reliably create composites using injection molding with plastics.
© Fraunhofer IWS
Pulsed lasers enable selective matrix removal on fiber-reinforced plastics to reliably create composites using injection molding with plastics.

In the field of laser precision machining, the focus is on the micrometer-accurate creation of structures in components and their surfaces to generate defined functions. In terms of materials, there are virtually no limits to the laser process. In addition to high-precision cutting and drilling, surfaces can also be textured to optimize their properties. Friction and wear of components and tools can be advantageously influenced by this. Furthermore, expertly structured surfaces enable stronger connections in the interface of multi-material composites such as those used for lightweight construction.

Laser-structured surfaces for better cell adhesion

DLIP laser module for surface functionalization of implant materials.
© Fraunhofer IWS
DLIP laser module for surface functionalization of implant materials.
Laser-textured, additively manufactured dental screw made of near-beta titanium to increase osseointegration.
© Fraunhofer IWS
Laser-textured, additively manufactured dental screw made of near-beta titanium to increase osseointegration.

Medical implants are made of biocompatible materials so that they grow well into living organisms. Titanium and its alloys are very commonly used materials and can also be processed in 3D printing using modern techniques. 

With the DLIP laser modules (DLIP = direct laser interference patterning) developed at the Fraunhofer IWS, additively manufactured implants could also be processed for the first time to improve the adhesion of bone cells. In this process, a single laser beam is split into two partial beams, which are then superimposed on the substrate surface, where they form a linear interference pattern with a specific spatial period. The interference pattern is transferred directly to the implant surface and osteoconductive microstructures are added to the surface. Laser processing of the implant surface does not require any additional materials such as abrasives or acids to form the surface shape. It is therefore particularly sustainable and cost-efficient.

Compared to a shape-etched surface, a cell study demonstrated an increase in the number of osteoblasts by up to 250% on DLIP-machined surfaces. The laser processing additionally contributes to a thickening of the oxide layer and a change in the wetting behavior.

Tailored and reactive joining of plastics within seconds

The ends of the circumferential door rubber of a car door can be joined very easily and quickly with RMS joining.
© Fraunhofer IWS
The ends of the circumferential door rubber of a car door can be joined very easily and quickly with RMS joining.
The properties of joining (different) thermoplastics are determined and optimized on "hat profiles".
© Fraunhofer IWS
The properties of joining (different) thermoplastics are determined and optimized on "hat profiles".

In the course of the steadily increasing use of lightweight materials and construction methods as well as ever further miniaturization, the demands on joining technologies are growing. In addition to lightweight metals and composites, great potential for weight reduction is seen above all in the plastics industry. In this context, it is not only necessary to produce joints between plastics, but also hybrid joints with materials from other classes.

The use of so-called reactive multilayer systems (RMS) as a heat source for joining thermoplastic materials to one another and, in some cases, to metals, makes it possible to overcome the limitations of conventional joining methods, such as adhesive bonding and welding, in whole or in part. The RMS serve as internal heat sources that can be "tailored" to the application in order to produce low-damage joints in very short process times. Unwanted changes in the material structure are avoided by releasing energy directly at the joint within milliseconds and adapted to the plastic properties. Joint strengths are achieved that are comparable to, and in some cases even higher than, those of commercially used joining processes, with the particular advantage that no costly pretreatment or post-treatment is required. In addition, RMS joined thermoplastic joints achieve high long-term stability.

In addition to the described adaptation of the RMS joining technology for plastic joining, the applicability of the process for joints of ceramics, metals, glass and silicon has already been demonstrated at the Fraunhofer IWS Dresden. Of particular interest for industrial applications is the fabrication of joints between metals and plastics. With the RMS technology, solid metal-plastic bonds can be produced at the current stage of development if a pretreatment of the metal surface is performed.

HSI for the areal surface and thin film inspection

Barrier foils protect OLEDs, solar cells and circuits especially against humidity in order to make them more robust and thus more durable. Fraunhofer IWS has further developed hyperspectral imaging (HSI) to quickly detect the slightest deviations of a barrier film from its ideal structure and even continuously monitor its quality parameter "water vapor permeability" in-line.
© ronaldbonss.com
Barrier foils protect OLEDs, solar cells and circuits especially against humidity in order to make them more robust and thus more durable. Fraunhofer IWS has further developed hyperspectral imaging (HSI) to quickly detect the slightest deviations of a barrier film from its ideal structure and even continuously monitor its quality parameter "water vapor permeability" in-line.

Hyperspectral imaging (HSI)

Optical sensor technology is used in a variety of different industrial sectors - for example to check if quality criteria are fulfilled. However, a so-called 100-percent inspection is often not possible with conventional technologies, even though there is a need for it in the industries concerned. Hyperspectral imaging (HSI) has the potential to effectively close this gap.

Compared to classic RGB-based machine vision systems, hyperspectral cameras capture many more spectral bands to detect the target object's properties of interest. Different material- or topology-related surface conditions manifest themselves in a spectral change in the optical behavior of the sample section, whether through absorption, refraction or scattering. Hyperspectral technology thus enables spatially resolved surface properties to be detected and continuously monitored at high speed. For example, HSI can spatially resolve the thickness of a dielectric film, oil residues on metal or plastic webs, or the electrical resistance of an ITO layer on a glass substrate. In addition to the lateral distribution of target properties, global target parameters of a given surface can be derived from the totality of all HSI data of that surface, such as the adhesive strength of a surface or a quality classification according to the parameters "OK" or "NOK".

HSI systems from the Fraunhofer IWS can close existing technology gaps in production monitoring in a customised way.

Imanto® Obsidian
Fully integrated laboratory system for hyperspectral imaging analysis. Impurities, layer thicknesses, material changes, surface topologies and much more can be made visible and objectively evaluated in a spatially resolved manner.

Imanto® Pro
Software suite that covers the entire workflow of hyperspectral inspection, from data acquisition to data pre-processing to data evaluation (exploration, classification and recourse).

Novel solutions for the evaluation of barrier films

HiBarSens® – Laser diode spectroscopy for the detection of water vapor permeation rates
© Sempa Systems GmbH
HiBarSens® – Laser diode spectroscopy for the detection of water vapor permeation rates

The Optical Inspection Technology group presents novel solutions for the evaluation of barrier films. Barrier materials are essential in organic electronics to protect the sensitive active layers from damaging atmospheric gases, especially water vapor and oxygen, and thus significantly increase product lifetime.

Hyperspektral Imaging (HSI)

An entirely new approach to evaluating barrier films is offered by hyperspectral imaging (HSI). Acquiring a comprehensive spectra set of the barrier film and evaluating them using AI allows the determination of the water vapor transmission rate (WVTR) within a matter of minutes instead of days as before. This enables a very fast control of barrier films "at-line" and even "in-line" during their production or processing. In addition, the permeation rate of barrier films can also be determined with spatial resolution. This concept (HSI+AI) is transferable to a wide range of applications: e.g. continuous large-area layer thickness inspection, material parameter distribution inspection, defect and contamination monitoring, and prediction of key performance indicators, e.g. of films or semi-finished products.

Simultaneous determination of the water vapor permeation rate (WVTR) and the oxygen permeation rate (OTR) of barrier films

Fraunhofer IWS presents a measurement system from the HiBarSens® series that defines a new class of barrier measurement systems. For the first time, the critical barrier performance indicators water vapor transmission rate (WVTR) and oxygen transmission rate (OTR) of a barrier film can be measured simultaneously. This means a significant gain in information as well as more accurate results, since both permeation rates are determined from exactly the same sample area under identical measurement conditions due to the concept. However, there is no compromise in detection limits (compared to single instruments) of WVTR (10‑6 g m‑2 d‑1) and OTR (10‑3 cm3 m-2 d-1 bar-1).

Special light sources for optical metrology

Parametrically controllable multispectral LED light source for applications in image processing and optical.
© Fraunhofer IWS
Parametrically controllable multispectral LED light source for applications in image processing and optical.
Laser light source for alignment and image acquisition tasks in the semiconductor industry.
© Fraunhofer IWS
Laser light source for alignment and image acquisition tasks in the semiconductor industry.

Hyperspectral high-speed light source

Scientists at the Fraunhofer Application Center for Optical Metrology and Surface Technologies AZOM, together with their project partner Laser Electronic Components (LEC), have jointly developed a spectrally adaptable fiber-based light source for industrial imaging measurement systems. In response to the growing requirements for technical light sources, the device enables hyperspectral imaging with conventional cameras. The ever-growing requirements for light sources involve rapid developments in image processing and optical measurement techniques. This is in particular true for multispectral microscopy and compact spectral cameras. Their application fields range from agriculture, surgery, food sorting and inspection industry to quality control – virtually all applications are affected in which the object's color is a key factor.

Further optical metrology and image processing systems are used in process control and quality assurance. The available sensor elements and the light sources limit the optical measuring systems' performance. Adaptation of the spectral progression, fast control and adjustable wavelength are decisive for the functionality of the entire measuring system and the imaging process. The solution provided by Fraunhofer AZOM and LEC has 40 individually controllable LED which, in combination with a freely selectable emission power of the individual chips, enable the user to adapt the overall spectrum to any given situation. The LED allow individual light colors to be selected for sample analysis. The temporal behavior (pulse duration and pulse-to-pulse distance) can also be freely defined, programmed and stored in the software. The light source provides an efficient solution in quality and process control.

Systems in laser cladding and additive manufacturing

The COAXquattro can be connected to industry-typical robotic systems and opens up new perspectives for wire-based laser cladding.
© ronaldbonss.com
The COAXquattro can be connected to industry-typical robotic systems and opens up new perspectives for wire-based laser cladding.
Four wires feed simultaneously to the center of the laser beam and ensure competitive deposition rates.
© ronaldbonss.com
Four wires feed simultaneously to the center of the laser beam and ensure competitive deposition rates.

COAXquattro increases resource efficiency in high-power laser cladding

A new nozzle opens up perspectives for wire-based laser cladding in automotive and many other industries: The COAXquattro system by Fraunhofer IWS simultaneously feeds four wires into the center of the laser beam, significantly increasing the deposition rate and energy efficiency of laser wire cladding for coatings, repairs or additive manufacturing. Systems equipped in this way achieve productivity rates previously reserved only for powder-based laser cladding. At the same time, the COAXquattro system reduces material costs, increases safety at work and improves the environmental balance.

As diode laser prices are falling, more and more companies are turning to laser cladding to coat or additively manufacture complex components. In this process, the system melts a metal-based powder or wire and manufactures the desired component from the molten metal layer by layer. Wire has been used primarily for small-batch repairs.

For larger production runs, on the other hand, users have previously preferred powder because it has allowed higher material deposition rates (for example, around 18 kilograms per hour for Inconel 625 using a 20 kW diode laser). However, powders involve increased occupational safety risks: Some of them are hazardous to health, others even explosive.

By automatically feeding four wires into the Fraunhofer IWS nozzle all at once, these laser cladding systems now also achieve cladding rates of around 18 kilograms per hour. However, while powder-based systems actually use a maximum of about 90 to 95 percent of the feedstock material, the new nozzle head deposits effectively up to 100 percent of the fed wire. In addition, wire costs approximately 50 percent less compared to powder made from the same material, thus positively impacting manufacturing costs.

Functionalizing lightweight components by thermal spraying

Privacy warning

With the click on the play button an external video from www.youtube.com is loaded and started. Your data is possible transferred and stored to third party. Do not start the video if you disagree. Find more about the youtube privacy statement under the following link: https://policies.google.com/privacy

Video: Functionalization of fiber-reinforced plastic composites by means of thermal spraying

At the Fraunhofer IWS, research focuses on various lightweight construction topics. Thermal spraying can be used for application-oriented functionalization of fiber composite plastics. For this purpose, a Fraunhofer IWS patented surface preparation for thermal spraying is used.

A prerequisite for a successful coating is sufficient roughness to ensure mechanical interlocking of the layer-forming spray particles. The Fraunhofer IWS solution adapts the function of the peel ply in the production of FRP. During lamination, the peel ply is soaked by the liquid resin together with the fibers and remains on the component surface. The peel ply is removed directly before coating, so that no time-consuming cleaning of the surface is necessary. The advantages over alternative processes, such as sandblasting or mechanical processing of fiber composites, for setting a suitable surface roughness are:

  • Peel ply can be integrated into component manufacturing with minimal effort and cost.
  • Peel ply protects the surface between manufacturing and coating.
  • No further preparation step, no further process is necessary for thermal spraying: Peel ply, masking if necessary, and coating.
  • The lightweight part remains undamaged, no fibers are cut, and the strength is retained.

An example shows the functionalization of a winglets for gliders with a ceramic heating layer system consisting of an aluminum bond coat, an aluminum-titanium oxide insulation layer, a full-surface titanium suboxide heating layer and copper contact layers for electrical contacting. All layers were produced by plasma spraying.

Innovation „Liquid Spraying“

Complete system solution for integration into existing customer plants for APS and HVOF processes.
© Fraunhofer IWS
Complete system solution for integration into existing customer plants for APS and HVOF processes.

With "liquid spraying", the IWS has adapted thermal spraying processes to meet current specific requirements for surface coatings. It thus contributes to closing the technological gap in terms of coating thickness between complex vacuum-based thin film processes and the already mentioned spraying processes. In addition, new coating properties open up further fields of application for the technology. The development of the system technology focused on industrial application. The complete system solution for integration into existing customer plants for APS and HVOF processes is being successfully marketed. It consists of an Industrie 4.0ready conveyor with the option of plant integration and injectors for APS and HVOF for liquid spray feed. Compared to spray powders, finer particles (500 nm to 2 µm) are fed to the process in suspensions or, in the case of precursors, formed from the solution in the process after injection. Resulting advantages are:

  • Nanostructured layer thicknesses below 20 µm possible,
  • Increase in cost-effectiveness (efficiency of 60-70 %, instead of the previous 40-50 %),
  • Reduction of post-processing costs by up to 60 % due to lower surface roughness,
  • Improvement of process stability and higher coating quality due to pulse-free injection,
  • Targeted adjustment of layer porosity,
  • Layer thicknesses, morphology and properties of the coatings can be varied over a wide range of applications,
  • In addition to the material, the coating properties can be specifically influenced by the carrier fluid,
  • No dust formation when filling the conveyor,
  • Novel coatings of ceramics, metals and carbides and with the system technology from IWS: In-situ mixtures or continuous operation during the coating process.

The IWS offers practical applications that can be used by industrial partners in the manufacturing process. These meet the special requirements at the lowest possible cost.

"COAX" System family

For a wide industrial use and high flexibility, the COAXpowerline annular gap powder nozzle was developed as a modular universal system with integrated media supply for laser powder cladding.
© Fraunhofer IWS
For a wide industrial use and high flexibility, the COAXpowerline annular gap powder nozzle was developed as a modular universal system with integrated media supply for laser powder cladding.

Line of modular processing heads for laser metal deposition with powder and wire

Laser cladding processes have long played a key role in the aerospace industry. This is because laser-based additive manufacturing offers the possibility of realizing complex component geometries, increasing product quality and setting oneself apart from competitors. High-performance processes, beam tools and machining heads that metallurgically combine different materials or generate structures are in demand. They can be used to functionalize surfaces, subsequently modify component designs or repair long-life assemblies instead of replacing them completely.

The "COAX" system family provides the appropriate tools. It comprises a complete line of modular processing heads for laser buildup welding with powder and wire. For this purpose, the Fraunhofer IWS develops special coating heads that feed the material coaxially to the laser beam at the processing location and enable a direction-independent welding result. These systems are used in common laser systems and hybrid processing centers for additive manufacturing. Specially developed coating units are optimized for use in extreme conditions or confined spaces, while others are suitable for particularly fine structures or for high-quality materials such as titanium or high-entropy alloys.

System technology for laser beam hardening

Das kamerabasierte Temperaturerfassungssystem Emaqs wird 2022 erstmals im neuen Design und mit verbesserter Funktionalität präsentiert.
© Fraunhofer IWS
Das kamerabasierte Temperaturerfassungssystem Emaqs wird 2022 erstmals im neuen Design und mit verbesserter Funktionalität präsentiert.

Flexibility – in the choice of tool, the process and the component geometry: Fraunhofer IWS system technology offers precisely these features.


The dynamic beam shaping system "LASSY" allows to react flexibly to different component geometries during hardening. The 1D scanner optics shape the laser beam transverse to the treatment direction. The energy distribution in the laser beam spot adapts to non-constant heat dissipation conditions by controlling the scanning speed and/or tracking the laser power. As a result, a uniform hardening depth can be achieved, for example, despite locally varying component thickness. This technology is used in laser edge refinement processes such as laser beam hardening, remelting or alloying. The system integration "Emaqs", a camera-based temperature monitoring system providing enormous process control improvements, and the temperature control system "LOMPOCpro" optimally round off the system technology portfolio.

Thermal field controller for laser surface processing with scanner

Video: Laser hardening with automatic LASSY thermal field control

Due to its process-specific advantages, laser hardening is often particularly efficient for protecting highly stressed component surfaces against high surface pressure and wear. Users appreciate the high process speed and precision, the good reproducibility and the low distortion of the treated components. Decisive for the feasibility are the laser beam shaping and process control.

Scientists at the Fraunhofer IWS developed a special new variant of the thermal field control. This combines temperature measurement including pyrometer ("Efaqs") and thermal imaging camera ("Emaqs") in a suitable way with a high frequency oscillation of the laser beam (scanning). This allows several problems to be solved at once in the laser hardening of geometrically complicated components: Laser beam scanning makes it possible to flexibly adjust the hardening zone width and, if necessary, to make rapid continuous changes during the ongoing process. This alone considerably expands the range of components to be processed. At the same time, by changing the local scanning speed, the laser intensity can be adapted to the local heat dissipation with pinpoint accuracy. This means that radii, edges or even bores in the machining area no longer pose a general problem. However, it is only by adding a sufficiently fast power control system that the process can be automated to such an extent that the system operator practically no longer needs to make any manual interventions.

The control of scan movement and laser power is based on temperature data acquired in real time. In principle, the measured values from the pyrometer and thermal imaging camera are available, which are important for certain subtasks in the process control. By linking both measurement methods and available control variables, the remaining temperature fluctuations can be minimized to such an extent that the optimum surface hardness level is achieved at every position in the processing area.