With the increasing demand for climate-neutral mobility and production and the simultaneous rise in the desire for individualization, the vehicle industry is being confronted with massive challenges: Vehicles require innovative, environmentally compatible solutions for both their production and utilization phase. Alternative drives, automated driving, digitization and networking are approaches which are intended to provide a positive contribution towards the utilization phase of the vehicles. As a result, the architectures of the vehicles will simultaneously also undergo significant changes.
The Fraunhofer Project Center addresses these issues and offers appropriate solution approaches, e.g. for weight reduction and the utilization of renewable and sustainable raw materials, intelligent multi-material solutions and recycled materials. Beyond the material cycle, solutions for closing component cycles are also being developed with increasing intensity. The manufacture of components with new materials and material combinations as well as functionalities in broader variants requires new, energy-efficient manufacturing processes which are represented, amongst other things, by suitable process combinations as well as the development of a flexible production system for coating technology with cross-technological interfaces.
At the Project Center, the Fraunhofer institutes IFAM, IST, IWU, and WKI combine their expertise in the aforementioned research approaches within the research topics of “Flexible Production”, “Future Interior”, and “Battery Module Construction”, thereby addressing not only the automotive industry but also aviation, shipping, and rail transport. With its research expertise and innovative spirit, the Fraunhofer Project Center Wolfsburg supports manufacturers and suppliers from the respective industries in developing sustainable solutions and bringing them to market: from raw materials, through manufacturing, and on to recycling.
The Fraunhofer Project Center is physically and organizationally integrated into the Open Hybrid LabFactory (OHLF), one of nine BMBF-funded public-private partnerships for innovation, the so-called research campuses. The OHLF was initiated in 2012 under the auspices of the Automotive Research Centre Niedersachsen NFF of the TU Braunschweig. Under its roof, the OHLF enables cooperation between the TU Braunschweig and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft on the research side and, in addition to Volkswagen, a number of renowned companies on the industrial side. New technologies and processes are developed in cooperation with experts and tested in practice for marketability and economic sustainability. In addition, the Wolfsburg Project Center is closely linked to the “Fraunhofer Project Center for Energy Storage and Systems ZESS” in Braunschweig. Working together, they develop intelligent solutions for the vehicle integration of the next-generation battery. This includes the battery production as well as the development of corresponding components derived from the use of alternative drives.
The establishment of the Fraunhofer Project Center Wolfsburg was financed through state funds from the “Niedersächsischen Vorab” program (funding ref.: VWZN2990).
The Fraunhofer IST is extending the expertise of the Fraunhofer Project Center Wolfsburg through its extensive experience in the field of coating technologies, in particular micro and sensor technologies with the development of smart surfaces. In close connection with the Institute of Machine Tools and Production Technology IWF of the TU Braunschweig, a freely interlinked production system is currently being set up with which functional coatings and surface-integrated thin-film sensors can be produced flexibly and efficiently in the initial constellation.
The planned integration into the systems technology of the OHLF will allow an expansion of the processes for functionalization and individualization of components from classic manufacturing processes. Possible approaches can be found in interior design, for example in the area of smart surfaces, in the condition-monitoring of occupants and the autonomous vehicle, or in manufacturing technology by means of tool-integrated sensors for intelligent process control. For this purpose, the IST will develop economical, resilient, reproducible processes with short cycle times. The scientific objective is to qualify the manufacturing cells for freely interlinked production, AI-based planning and control of the production system for resource-efficient and resilient production, and process-parameter structure-property relationships of the thin-film systems.
Fraunhofer Project Center Wolfsburg
c/o Open Hybrid LabFactory e.V.
38440 Wolfsburg, Germany