Hannover Messe 2024: Fraunhofer IPT shows how production technology can save lives

Press Release /

At the Hannover Messe from April 22 to 26, the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT will present the diverse applications of laser technologies in production at two booths: An "animal" exhibit at the joint Fraunhofer booth will show how the com-bination of additive and subtractive processes makes production more efficient and products of higher quality. In the "Bioeconomy Showcase", the Bio4MatPro competence center will present the "Heart 2.0" research project. In this project, Fraunhofer IPT and its partners have developed complex micro- and nanostructures to prevent dangerous blood clots. Lasers were used to apply these structures to the inside of artificial hearts.

© Fraunhofer IPT
Two different periodic micro- and nanostructures are introduced into the surface of the artificial heart using laser processing to prevent thrombus formation.
© Fraunhofer IPT
Using the elements of the turtle shell and legs, the scientists show how different machin-ing methods affect the surfaces.

Where conventional manufacturing technologies reach their performance limits, the strength of the laser beam as a tool becomes apparent. The focused light is a true all-rounder and offers the right solution for many tasks, from the flexible, resource-saving production of complex components to the functionalization of surfaces.

In two exhibits at this year's Hannover Messe, Fraunhofer IPT will demonstrate that laser technologies are highly compatible with many other manufacturing processes, that they can be excellently integrated into various production chains, and that they can make a significant contribution to driving innovation and even saving lives.

Micro- and nanostructures prevent thrombosis in artificial hearts

As part of the "Heart 2.0" research project of the Bio4MatPro competence center, Fraunhofer IPT, in cooperation with the Manufacturing Technology Institute (MTI) of RWTH Aachen University, has developed thrombophobic surfaces on the inside of artificial hearts to prevent blood clots.

Periodic micro- and nanostructures are applied to the surface of the artificial heart using laser processing. The nanostructures make it almost impossible for thrombi to form because they create a physical barrier to blood components. However, should this happen, the larger microstructures, which are inspired by the skin of a shark, ensure that the thrombi are quickly ejected from the area around the heart.

The exhibit, a surface section of an artificial heart magnified 2,000 times, shows the complex surface structures. The extreme magnification allows the structures to be experienced visually and haptically.

The project is presented in the "Bioeconomy Showcase" at the booth of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), in Hall 2, Booth A28.

Post-processing of additive manufactured components for industrial use

The Fraunhofer Group for Production is also focusing on the surface treatment of complex components at this year’s Hannover Messe. Additive processes such as laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) offer a high degree of flexibility and resource efficiency in individual and small series production. However, the surface quality often does not meet the high demands of the industry.

Fraunhofer IPT and its cooperation partners will be presenting a 3D printed turtle made of stainless steel and various polymers. Each segment of the turtle's shell has been finished using a different process, including tried-and-tested methods such as milling, vibratory grinding and glass bead blasting, as well as new processes such as laser structuring.

For yars, Fraunhofer IPT has been researching and developing highly efficient and sustainable hybrid process chains that combine additive technologies with subtractive finishing methods. In the state-of-the-art machine hall, not only are components manufactured additively using various processes, but almost all upstream and downstream processing steps can also be carried out.

The "Turtle" exhibit of the Fraunhofer Group for Production will be presented at the joint Fraunhofer booth in Hall 2, Booth B24