In the business unit “Mechanical Engineering, Tools and Automotive Technology”, coating systems for friction reduction as well as for wear and corrosion protection are developed and optimized for specific applications. This encompasses the entire process: from cleaning and pretreatment by means of structuring and diffusion treatments, to coating and process development – including analysis and simulation – and on to integration into industrial applications. With a comprehensive portfolio of coating and treatment processes, the Fraunhofer IST is active in both industrial and public projects in a diverse range of application areas such as:
- DLC and hard coatings for motor, drive and bearing components
- Tools for the ecologically and economically optimized processing of lightweight materials such as aluminum, titanium, ultra-high-strength steels, polymers, etc.
- Highly corrosion-resistant and wear-resistant carbon coating systems for sealing applications
- Coating of original tooling and forming dies
- Surfaces for batteries and fuel cells
- Wear-resistant non-stick and antifouling coatings for the food and pharmaceutical industries
The advancing digitization of production processes and products also forms the focus of research activities at the Fraunhofer IST. Sensor-integrated surfaces enable the direct ascertainment of widely varying process parameters such as temperature, force, wear, and position in the production processes, thereby forming the fundament for the consistent digitization and flexibilization of autonomous production facilities. So-called “smart” tool surfaces offer new possibilities for predictive maintenance and, consequently, for increasing the productivity of manufacturing processes.
Sensory surfaces are developed and successfully deployed at the Fraunhofer IST in a diverse range of safety-relevant applications. Examples include:
- Sensorized washers for continuous force monitoring
- Pressure and temperature thin-film sensors for highly stressed tools and components
- Magnetic functional coatings for high-precision positioning systems and magnetic labels
Furthermore, the additive production of polymeric and metallic workpieces offers versatile starting points for surface technology along the process chain. The activities of the Fraunhofer IST encompass the coating of powders in order to improve their processing, the application of atmospheric plasmas in the printing process in order to locally optimize the component properties, and subsequent surface treatment for the creation of functional surfaces.
In addition to coating service providers our customers primarily include companies in the automotive sector, toolmakers, tool users and also coating users in all fields of mechanical engineering.