Fraunhofer IFAM celebrates its 50th anniversary in Bremen
August 20, 2018
On June 13, 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials (IFAM) celebrated its 50th anniversary with a formal reception held by the mayor of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, followed by a dinner attended by more than 350 employees and invited guests from industry, politics and science.
The Workgroup for Applied Materials Research (AFAM) was founded in 1968 by Prof Dr Ing habil Alexander Matting of the Technical University of Hannover, Germany. Located in the north of Bremen and vested with a budget of less than 1 million Deutsche Mark, the original focus of the workgroup and its twenty-five initial researchers and technicians was on welding technology and the impact of the welding process on joined materials.
In 1970, the workgroup was integrated into the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, and established in 1974 as a Fraunhofer Institute, updating its title accordingly to Fraunhofer IFAM. Over the course of the 1970s and 80s, the group’s research focus expanded towards manufacturing technology, surface technology and material behaviour. Its researchers began to explore bonding as an alternative joining method and the first training courses and lectures on adhesive bonding were held. An early venture into powder technology involved some successful experiments on the sintering of tungsten heavy metal alloys.
In 1992, the Dresden Branch laboratory for Powder Metallurgy and composite materials was integrated into the institute, bringing with it thirty-five researchers and technicians and further enhancing its powder technological competence and research experience. The technical centre for Metal Injection Moulding was also established during the early 1990s.
Powder technology has since played an important role in Fraunhofer IFAM’s R&D activities. In the present day, the institute’s researchers and technicians have a deep and comprehensive knowledge of the entire powder metallurgical production process from powder to component. R&D solutions are implemented at the institute’s facilities using state-of-the-art industrial-scale equipment.
Since the mid-90s, Fraunhofer IFAM has also been focused on the area of metal Additive Manufacturing. Among the most recent of the institute’s achievements in metal AM is its development of a process which uses Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) to manufacture metal parts, announced in October 2017.
Today, Fraunhofer IFAM is one of Europe’s largest research institutes in the fields of powder technology, casting technology, surface technology and bonding. It has an annual budget exceeding €42 million and its primary business areas are the automotive, aviation, energy and environment, medical technologies and life sciences, and maritime industries. It currently employs more than 660 staff at five locations in Germany and has registered a total of 1,172 patents and published more than 5,000 scientific papers to date.