Production metrology

The "Production metrology" department of the Fraunhofer IPT deals with all issues of production-related metrology as well as all quality management tasks of manufacturing companies. Such tasks include inspections, measuring and developing solutions for high-tech industries such as automotive manufacturers or engineering companies, the aerospace industry, medical technology and biotechnology. For these purposes, we employ a wide range of modern equipment for measuring services which, in close cooperation with our partners and technology suppliers, is constantly optimized and adapted.  

Laser process monitoring

Laser machining processes depend on various system-based, workpiece and environmental conditions in order to achieve optimal process stability and product quality. Considering these boundary conditions, the Fraunhofer IPT develops inline metrology for laser process monitoring based on low coherence interferometry, plasma emission analysis and chromatic confocal sensors, enabling a high precision, material independent zero failure manufacturing process of laser machining applications. The acquired process information ultimately enables adaptive feedback control to optimize executing laser manufacturing processes.

High speed microscopy

At the Fraunhofer IPT, we develop high-throughput microscopy solutions for automated quality control applications like full-surface wafer inspections, for instance. The customized highspeed microscopy system is based on a continuous scanning approach which uses specific imaging algorithms and re-adjusts the focus via autofocus hardware.  

Measuring services

The Fraunhofer IPT is equipped with a range of measuring devices which can characterize components of any size – from meter to nanometer. Our skills and services include the high-precision multi-sensor detection of 3D geometries and surface detection in the sub-micrometer range which is needed for roughness analysis and optics testing.

Metrological consulting

The selection of suitable metrology systems vitally depends on a structured production procedure which takes into account all relevant aspects on a systematic basis. The IDENT system supports this process and allows for a comparison and detailed evaluation of all metrology systems in question.The individual modules of the IDENT system ensure that all important aspects of the evaluation are being considered according to their required level of detail and with respect to the specified application. For this purpose, the designed toolboxes enable the identification and quantifiable evaluation of the different metrological alternatives and their properties. Afterwards, the metrology systems can be benchmarked against various technical and economic criteria in order to prioritize their technological fit and identify the best solution possible.

Structural health monitoring

© Fraunhofer IPT

Intact structures of lightweight components play an increasingly important role. Particularly carbonfiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) components with complex geometries and fiber layers make it difficult to predict strains and stresses inside of the components based on finite element methods. Optical fourier domain reflectometry allows for strain gradients and temperature changes underneath the surface to be measured with the aid of optical fibers. Consequently, damages and strains within fiber-reinforced composites can be uncovered.


© Fraunhofer IPT

Two-photon polymerization allows for additive manufacturing of individual micro- and nanostructures within different photosensitive polymers. By exploiting the non-linear physical effect of two-photon absorption, a resolution below the diffraction limit as well as a resolution in full 3D capacity can be achieved, depending on the structure design. Applications are primarily used in the manufacturing of optical and biological structures, e.g. cell differentiation.

Customized measurement equipment

Measuring tasks frequently call for individual measuring systems and test devices which are not available on the market. To meet customer requirements, the Fraunhofer IPT develops specific metrology solutions that fulfil holistic conditions ranging from the design of suitable measuring kinematics, the elaboration of measurement strategies to the development and integration of customized sensor systems.

Optics testing

In order for optical elements to function properly, extremely low tolerances have to be maintained - often at the brink of feasibility. Therefore, quality assurance is a highly important aspect of the manufacturing process. The Fraunhofer IPT can support the metrological characterization with its extensive infrastructure , enabling tactile and non-tactile measuring for shape and functional testing. Furthermore, the Fraunhofer IPT is developing tailored metrology solutions in order to characterize demanding optical surfaces with steep flanks, complex free forms or superimposed micro structures, for example. With the aid of specially developed active alignment methods, individual components can be aligned in sub-µm precision, according to their optical function.

Miniaturization of measuring equipment

The miniaturization of metrology components is one of the key research subjects at the Fraunhofer IPT. The use of fiber technology, micro-optics and micro-mechanical components makes it possible to significantly reduce the size of measuring systems and probes. Due to a compact design, a simpler integration into manufacturing processes can be achieved.  

Metrology integrated into production processes

Today's production processes require shorter quality control loops. Thus, the demand for measuring in process increases significatly. In the context of smart factories and complex products, a full integration of autonomic sensors into production lines becomes more important as such sensors allow for a high adaptation of processes at different production conditions.  

Lab automation

Manual processes in biotechnological labs are often time-consuming and labor-intensive. Thus, in close collaboration with biologists and engineers, our department for production metrology is developing solutions for the automation of lab processes in biotechnology - ranging from individually tailored metrology devices to the automation of complex cell culture processes. This way, intelligent automation solutions with integrated quality control enables the standardized production of cell products at a high throughput.