The Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Applied Materials Research (IFAM) is one institute of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Angewandten Forschung e.V., FhG, the German non-profit contract research organisation. FhG has almost 60 institutes specialised in a broad range of engineering fields. A staff of about 15,000 people performs technology development from application oriented basic research to industrial application.
FRAUNHOFER-IFAM conducts product-oriented R&D in the area of forming and functional materials. Within its Powder Technology Department, it has been working on metal foams, press and sintering, nano-powders and in the field of powder injection moulding (PIM) for almost two decades, and has the largest and well equipped working group outside of industry in this field. The equipment covers the whole PIM process route from powder characterisation via mixing, moulding, debinding to sintering on a small industrial scale including a range of analytical instruments.
Much work was done on developing PIM for new materials. Here, testing feedstock quality using an instrumented mould was developed. FRAUENHOFER-IFAM also has pioneered simulation of mould filling for PIM using Moldflow and more recently SIGMA 3D software which leads to shorter development cycles for new parts. Improving quality control for PIM has been another topic pursued in close cooperation with the relevant industry.