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  • If 1 kilogram of hydrogen allows for approximately 100 kilometers of range in a car, a hydrogen tank for an electric motorcycle can also fit within the limited space of its design. A more challenging task is integrating a complete fuel cell system (which converts onboard hydrogen into electrical energy) into the frame construction. A German-Czech consortium of research institutions and manufacturing companies is now taking on this challenge: By the end of 2025, they will construct a fully functional motorcycle as a demonstrator that complies with the strict European approval standards and certification requirements.

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  • Fraunhofer Institutes Establish New Branch for Aviation Research in Cottbus / 2023

    Thrust for Hybrid Electric Flying

    December 07, 2023

    Several Fraunhofer Institutes and the Brandenburg Technical University Cottbus-Senftenberg, under the leadership of Rolls-Royce Germany and other partners such as the research institution ACCESS, are collaborating on the future of hybrid electric flying. Supported by the state of Brandenburg and the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection, the partners are researching an entirely new propulsion system for medium-range aircraft with up to 35 passengers.

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  • Fraunhofer IWU at Formnext, November 7 - 11, 2023, Fraunhofer joint booth Hall 11 Stand D31 / 2023

    Screw Extrusion Additive Manufacturing (SEAM) is the key to load-bearing plastic structures from the 3D printer

    November 06, 2023

    With granulate-based plastic processes, it is now possible to design highly durable products and produce them economically, even in closed material cycles. Fraunhofer IWU demonstrates with a highly resilient shelf and a vehicle frame how individual shaping, low material costs, and high load-bearing capacity can add up to rather useful products.

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  • Fraunhofer IWU at Formnext, November 7 - 11, 2023, Fraunhofer joint booth Hall 11 Stand D31 / 2023

    Metal 3D Printing at Fraunhofer IWU: Delicate Implants, Sophisticated Heat Exchangers, Highly Durable Wheel Carriers

    October 26, 2023

    Additive manufacturing technologies enable an almost limitless variety of products with increasingly demanding materials and 'embedded' functions. Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF) allows tremendous freedom in material selection, geometry, and integration of functions. Current research focus at Fraunhofer IWU: revolutionary printing strategies for high-quality medical implants and ultra-thin, highly efficient heat exchangers that utilize valuable waste heat. 3D-printed aluminum wheel carriers can be both highly durable and economically manufacturable.

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  • Helpful for medium-sized businesses in times of skilled labor shortage / 2023

    Matrix production and SWAP-IT: as versatile as a Swiss Army knife

    July 25, 2023

    Utilization-optimized, flexibly arranged production modules equipped via driverless transport systems which can manufacture a variety of products; a production planning and control system that can flexibly allocate these modules and, through segmentation and intelligent distribution of manufacturing tasks, make it possible to produce large-size components in small facilities: Matrix production and SWAP-IT create a production infrastructure that enables highly efficient manufacturing of even smaller quantities. But that is not all. Such infrastructure also stimulates new ways of working when previously manual tasks need to be automated. Relevant impulses for continuous further qualification come from the InTeleMat project: allowing businesses to rely on valuable human labor even more effectively.

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  • In South Africa's capital, Cape Town, and near the Namibian port city of Walvis Bay, so-called microgrids will contribute to a sustainable and emission-free power supply. These systems combine electrolyzers for green hydrogen production with fuel cells for its reconversion to electricity: the microgrids store electricity generated from solar and wind power as hydrogen and convert it back to electricity when needed. In Walvis Bay, a local school will use the oxygen produced during electrolysis to treat wastewater for irrigation purposes in its cultivation areas.

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  • Fraunhofer IWU at Automatica 2023, Hall A4 Booth 321 / 2023

    Quality forecasts in production: reliable and real-time thanks to Artificial Intelligence

    June 20, 2023

    What about predicting with high certainty whether a component meets the quality requirements even while a machining step is in progress? Artificial Intelligence (AI) makes it possible. The AI solutions developed at Fraunhofer IWU represent an improvement over previous in-line inspection systems, eliminating the need for time-consuming removal for testing purposes. Such quality forecasts during processing can be integrated into many industrial manufacturing processes, often in combination with existing, cost-effective sensors. However, this AI can also be used for optimization purposes. It can help control process input parameters, such as avoiding scrap from the outset or reducing energy consumption in production without compromising quality.

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  • How do humans work together with machines? How can digital assistants support employees in the factory without overwhelming them with their complexity? How can technology designed around the needs and strengths of humans help them make their creativity more valuable? Or contribute to preserving valuable experiential knowledge of older employees and inspiring them for innovative production technology? Dr. habil. Franziska Bocklisch and her new group "Cognitive Teaming of Human and Cyber-Physical Production Systems" are investigating these questions at Fraunhofer IWU. They are assured that if the coexistence of humans and technology evolves into a true collaboration - a teaming - producing companies can still achieve significant efficiency potentials.

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  • Cobots need to perform many safe motion functions to work alongside humans: The central safety logic must process multiple sensors and their data, resulting in many cables connecting sensors and actuators in traditional robot architectures and proprietary solutions. The new safety architecture developed by Fraunhofer IWU, Synapticon GmbH and Taiwan’s NexCOBOT relies on a decentralized approach: The new architecture enables a wide range of industrial robots to work safely alongside humans in dynamically changing work situations, with a significantly reduced cabling effort, as only power and communication must be routed to the drives. In addition, valuable reaction time is saved since the safe movement is monitored directly on the axis.

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  • Fraunhofer IWU at the Hannover Messe / 2023

    Reusable open source design kit for electrically powered pool vehicles

    April 03, 2023

    Manufacturing automobiles requires energy and resources on a large scale. Higher vehicle mileage could result in a significant drop in the continuous ener-gy demand during production, while also reducing the extraction of natural resources considerably. This is where the KOSEL research project comes in; a project that has seen the Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology IWU join forces with partners from industry and research: Vehicle components that have a long service life can be used over several vehicle life cycles and therefore do not need to be produced anew. With this in mind, the project team has developed a closed-loop open-source modular system that consists of particularly durable and reusable modules.

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