Fraunhofer Society (Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Angewandten Forschung e.V.) is a recognised non-profit research organisation which takes its name from the researcher, inventor and entrepreneur Joseph von Fraunhofer (1787-1826). Founded in 1949, the Fraunhofer Society comprises 67 Institutes with 23.000 employees at 40 different locations in Germany as well as research centres and representative offices in Europe, USA and Asia.
Fraunhofer IFAM is divided in two departments. The department “Shaping and Functional Materials” is working in the areas of research and development of powder technology, additive manufacturing, casting technology, light weight construction, micro production technology, functional printing and nanopowder technology. The department “Adhesive Bonding Technology and Surfaces” performs research on multifunctional coatings, paints, polymer chemistry, nanoparticle applications, and plasma and lacquer technology as well as on adhesive bonding and surface analytics with the goal to develop application-orientated bonding system solutions for industry. Its Powder Technology Department has been active in the field of powder metallurgy processes like powder injection moulding (PIM) for more than two decades and has the largest and best-equipped working group outside industry in this field. The equipment covers the whole PIM as well as other PM process routes from powder characterisation via mixing, moulding, debinding to sintering on a small industrial scale including a range of analytical instruments. Much work was done on developing PIM for new materials. Here, testing feedstock quality using an instrumented mould was developed. IFAM also has pioneered simulation of mould filling for PIM using Moldflow and more recently SIGMA 3D software which leads to shorter development cycles for new parts. Improving quality control for PIM has been another topic pursued in close cooperation with the relevant industrial stakeholders. Besides, IFAM has performed research and development in metal additive manufacturing since the 1990s, focussing today on the laser beam melting (LBM) powder bed fusion as well as binder jetting processes. The work of the institute ranges from fundamental research to the introduction of new products to the market. Industrial fields of application are in plant engineering, micro-assembly, packaging, electronics and transportation.