Fraunhofer Lighthouse Projects

Fraunhofer Lighthouse Projects - Reducing Time to Market

Fraunhofer is tackling the current challenges facing industry head on. Its lighthouse projects put the focus on strategic objectives with a view to developing practical solutions from which economies such as Germany’s can benefit. The topics these projects address are geared towards economic requirements. By pooling their expertise and involving industrial partners at an early stage, the Fraunhofer Institutes involved in the projects aim to turn original scientific ideas into marketable products as quickly as possible. 

Fraunhofer IWU is partner in the following lighthouse projects:

EVOLOPRO – Evolutionary self-adaptation of complex production processes and products

© Fraunhofer IPT

The aim of the EVOLOPRO lighthouse project is to employ evolutionary biological mechanisms to create a new generation of production systems. Such "biological manufacturing systems” are able to adapt to new demands and environmental conditions in a manner analogous to biological organisms. Unlike nature, however, biological manufacturing systems do not require many thousands of years to achieve this. Thanks to recent achievements in the context of Industrie 4.0, this can be accomplished within a very short period of time.

ML4P – Machine Learning for Production

In the ML4P lighthouse project, six Fraunhofer Institutes under the coordination of the Fraunhofer Institute for Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation IOSB in Karlsruhe have teamed up to develop a tool-aided process model and to realize relevant interoperable software tools in order to systematically exploit the optimisation potential in production engineering plants through the use of machine learning methods.

SWAP – Hierarchical swarms as production architecture with optimized utilization

The alliance of nine Fraunhofer Institutes aims to discover/identify new technological concepts for shaping the future of production with their leading project "hierarchical swarms as production architecture with optimized utilization" ("SWAP"). The classical production process for goods right now involves the manufacturing and assembling (of the item/good/commodity) at individual processing stations in a defined process order.

Finished Lighthouse Projects

futureAM –  Next Generation Additive Manufacturing

The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft has created futureAM to systematically and continuously develop the additive manufacturing (AM) of metallic components. For this purpose, six project partners with a wealth of experience in the field of additive manufacturing have entered into a strategic project partnership with two major goals: 1.: Establishing a comprehensive cooperation platform for the highly integrated cooperation and use of the decentrally distributed resources of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft in the field of AM and 2.: creating the technological prerequisites to increase scalability, productivity and quality of AM processes in a way relevant to praxis for the production of tailor-made metal components.

Go Beyond 4.0 – Digital printing and laser processes

Digital printing and laser technologies are as yet only rarely used for the individualization of products in mass production. However, this combination of approaches would make it possible to create individualized series products in a resource-efficient and cost-saving manner, even down to manufacturing single unique items. Mastering this challenge is the objective of the Go Beyond 4.0 lighthouse project.

Critical Rare Earths

The purpose of the rare earth metals project is to assure industry's access to these and other critical resources. Rare earth metals are needed for example to produce the powerful magnets employed in wind turbines and electric motors. In the course of the project, solutions will be developed for both the substitution and the recycling of the rare earth metals neodymium and dysprosium.

Theranostic Implants

The Fraunhofer Lighthouse Project »Theranostic Implants« aims to develop active implants that combine therapeutic and diagnostic functions in a single medical device. To this end, Fraunhofer researchers are developing the following three demonstrators: a smart hip-joint prostheses, a sensor implant for monitoring blood circulation and a myoelectric prosthetic hand controller.


What will the manufacturing industry of tomorrow look like? E³ stands for Efficiency, Emissions reduction, and Ergonomics. The E³ project aims to develop concepts and technologies that support integrated materials-flow and energy management. Equal importance is attached to developing instruments that evaluate energy efficiency and integrate ergonomic aspects into production.

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