Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Foerderung der Angewandten Forschung e.V.
Research of practical utility lies at the heart of all activities pursued by the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. Founded in 1949, the research organization undertakes applied research that drives economic development and serves the wider benefit of society. Its services are solicited by customers and contractual partners in industry, the service sector and public administration.
At present, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft maintains 66 institutes and independent research units. The majority of the more than 22,000 staff are qualified scientists and engineers, who work with an annual research budget of 1.9 billion euros. Of this sum, more than 1.6 billion euros is generated through contract research. More than 70 percent of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft’s contract research revenue is derived from contracts with industry and from publicly financed research projects. Almost 30 percent is contributed by the German federal and Länder governments in the form of base funding, enabling the institutes to work ahead on solutions to problems that will not become acutely relevant to industry and society until five or ten years from now.
With its clearly defined mission of application-oriented research and its focus on key technologies of relevance to the future, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft plays a prominent role in the German and European innovation process. Applied research has a knock-on effect that extends beyond the direct benefits perceived by the customer: Through their research and development work, the Fraunhofer Institutes help to reinforce the competitive strength of the economy in their local region, and throughout Germany and Europe. They do so by promoting innovation, strengthening the technological base, improving the acceptance of new technologies, and helping to train the urgently needed future generation of scientists and engineers. Two Fraunhofer Institutes will be participating in NANOLEAP and their competencies and roles in the project are described below:
The Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM (www.ifam.fraunhofer.de) – Adhesive Bonding Technology and Surfaces (IFAM) is the largest independent research organization in Europe in the area of industrial adhesive bonding technology. About 300 employees are actively engaged in research and development work, with their goal being to develop application-orientated bonding system solutions for industry. Multifunctional products, lightweight construction and miniaturization – realized by intelligent combination of materials – offer new opportunities and IFAM has the know-how to bring these to fruition. The R&D work is directed at a variety of industrial sectors including car, rail vehicle, ship and aircraft manufacturing industries, machinery and plant construction, energy technology, construction sector, electronics industry, microsystem engineering, and medical technology.
The work in the Adhesive Bonding Technology focus area involves the development and characterization of adhesives and matrix resins for fibre composites, the design and simulation of bonded and hybrid joints, as well as the characterization and testing of such joints. The planning and automation of industrial production processes, process reviews, and certified training courses are other services which are provided.
The Surfaces focus area covers plasma technology, paint/lacquer technology, as well as adhesion and interface research. The R&D focus here is on customized surface modification and functional coatings, methods of early detection of degradation phenomena, validation of aging tests, and inline surface monitoring.
The Fraunhofer Project Group Joining and Assembly FFM is involved with the joining, assembly, and precision processing of large FRP structures. This so closes the gap between the laboratory scale and production scale in the area of FRP technology.
The Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV (www.ivv.fraunhofer.de) has about 115 employees and an annual turnover of €8.6 million. The activities in the field of wet-chemical web coating and vacuum deposition processes were started in 1988 as a neutral R&D partner for industry. Since then, many large projects have been successfully completed and packaging materials with constantly-improved functionalities such as protection against environmental gases or humidity, UV-radiation, micro-organisms, have been developed. Fraunhofer IVV has a long-time experience for the production and conversion of different polymeric materials and their functional property characterization. Fraunhofer-IVV is also involved in spin-off projects, for example on transparent flexible barrier materials for the production of solar modules and flexible displays. Fraunhofer-IVV is a member of Fraunhofer’s POLO Alliance, which, in recent years, has accomplished the systematic development and assessment of inorganic layers, polymeric lacquers and adhesives for potential use as components of ultra-high barrier film laminates. A specific aspect of these activities involves inorganic-organic hybrid polymers, which, in combination with vacuum-coated inorganic layers, can substantially improve the barrier properties against gas and vapour. Also, through the incorporation of different organic functional groups, these materials can be adjusted to complex and special requirements.
Fraunhofer IVV has a pilot line to coat special functional lacquers (e.g. for UV protection, or anti-microbial functionality) on top of flexible substrate materials by means of roll-to-roll production. These functionalized films can be implemented within lightweight composite structures in buildings and civil infrastructure (e.g. Allianz Arena), where UV damaging related to radiation can be a real problem. Fraunhofer IVV will mainly work in Work Package 5. It will work on the further optimization of the pilot line for the production of such multilayered flexible polymeric films with antimicrobial and/or UV protective functionalities. Furthermore, in collaboration with IMDEA, Fraunhofer IVV will work on the application of anti-scratch coatings for the protection of the superhydrophobic surfaces.