Additive manufacturing (AM)

What is additive manufacturing?

Additive manufacturing (AM) - also referred to as 3D printing - is an emerging and innovative manufacturing process that differs fundamentally from conventional manufacturing processes and opens up new possibilities for research and industry. Components are built up layer by layer and are not created by removing material (for example, by milling) as in conventional processes. This results in enormous flexibility and design freedom, such as in the production of prototypes and increasingly in series production.    

Additive Manufacturing at Fraunhofer IGCV: additive manufacturing experts

Additive manufacturing processes for industry

The research work focuses on the process technologies of additive manufacturing processes along their process chains. Also, methods for the product development of additively manufactured components are being developed, geared towards sensor-integrated multi-material components. For industrial implementation in production, Fraunhofer IGCV researches suitable methods of factory planning.

For this purpose, we have internationally recognized core know-how in the following processes:

  • Laser-based powder bed fusion (also for the production of multi-material components) and
  • Binder jetting

Also, our expertise lies primarily in the areas of:

  • Extrusion of fiber-reinforced polymers,
  • Liquid Deposition Modeling of composites and
  • High-pressure cold gas spraying
  • Liquid Metal Printing  

The future of additive manufacturing

Additive manufacturing is one of the vital growth areas within manufacturing. Leading market reports predict an average annual growth of about 20 percent for the next five years. Fraunhofer IGCV assumes that this industry growth of additive manufacturing will not only be observed in a specific industry sector. Rather, it can be assumed that the use of additive manufacturing processes will increase in all industry sectors. In 2022, two studies were published on the future of additive manufacturing (An Additive Manufacturing Breakthrough & The Futures of Metal Additive Manufacturing 2030), to which Fraunhofer IGCV contributed. 

Video of the 3D printing process:

Production of multi-material components in the ForNextGen project

Knowledge transfer and industry development

Additive manufacturing is more than just a research field for Fraunhofer IGCV – it is a passion and a matter close to our hearts. For this reason, in addition to project-based knowledge transfer, we also take responsibility for industry development by:

  • sharing our knowledge at the largest industry events in Germany and worldwide (e.g., Fraunhofer DDMC Conference in Berlin, AM Forum in Berlin, Munich Technology Conference in Munich, AMUG (Additive Manufacturing User Group) in Chicago, SFF in Texas, USA).
  • participating in the advisory board or scientific committee at numerous conferences (e.g., Rapid Tech in Erfurt, ICAM in Orlando/virtually, USA).
  • providing the chairperson of the ISO Committee 261 »Additive Manufacturing« since 2019.
  • providing a member of the Executive Committee of the ASTM F42 committee »Additive Manufacturing« since 2020.
  • actively participating in committees of the Association of German Engineers (VDI) since 2014 and providing the chairperson of the VDI FA 105.6 »Safety in the operation of additive manufacturing equipment« since 2016.
  • actively participating in committees of the German Institute for Standardization (DIN) since 2014.
  • participating in the editorial board of the Springer journal »Progress in Additive Manufacturing« since 2016.

Fraunhofer IGCV in the Fraunhofer Competence Field »Additive Manufacturing«

Additive manufacturing is not only a cross-sectional competence and lead-topic at Fraunhofer IGCV, it is also intensively researched at 20 other Fraunhofer institutes. These institutes have joined forces in the Fraunhofer Competence Field »Additive Manufacturing«, in which institute representatives exchange information on research results within the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and further research needs. Fraunhofer IGCV is actively involved in this thematic alliance and thus contributes to the progress of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft in the field of additive manufacturing.

Reference projects additive manufacturing



The MULTIMATERIAL Center Augsburg is one of the largest additive manufacturing projects in Germany and Europe.


Green Factory Bavaria (GFB)

Demonstration, learning, and research platforms to increase energy and resource efficiency in companies.



Conventional manufacturing techniques are to be supplemented by additive manufacturing in high-throughput line production systems, thus creating an end-to-end digital process chain from design to product manufacture.



The project goal is to provide an approach for a supply-chain- and lifecycle-wide concept that enables producing companies implementing additive manufacturing in an economical way.



We manufacture multi-material components which consist of two different materials, which have an arbitrary distribution of both materials in the construction direction and in the construction level.


Case hardening of steel components manufactured with additives

Additive manufacturing offers unique possibilities in the shaping of steel components.




The FASTMULT project investigates the economic production of large-volume multi-material components using an order-based additive manufacturing process which is based on cold gas spraying.



Flexibilization of additive manufacturing for the production of function-optimized tool and mold inserts.



The aim of the KINEMATAM research project is to implement encapsulated mechatronic assemblies by means of an adapted laser beam melting process. This is the next development step in the field of function integration.


Lightweight gear wheel

  • Processing of special alloys
  • Multi-material processing and customer-specific process optimization
  • Functionally integrated lightweight components
  • Process chains and metal-CFRP composites


Due to the great pressure on prices, the reuse of a large proportion of the powder used for additive manufacturing is a prerequisite for competing internationally. Powder recycling is important for the economic efficiency of the LBM process.

Further competences and lead topics at Fraunhofer IGCV



We are shaping the way into the future...

...of efficient engineering...




...networked production and...


Multi-material solutions

...of intelligent multi-material solutions!

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Smarter production – with artificial intelligence


Biological Transformation

Biological transformation offers great potential for a sustainable business.


Composite Recycling

With numerous research projects along the entire recycling chain, we are ensuring a more sustainable approach to this group of materials. 

Further reference projects

Here you will find an overview of various reference projects at Fraunhofer IGCV.

Cooperation with Fraunhofer IGCV

We will be happy to find an individual solution for you.

contact persons

All contact persons for specific project inquiries.