About Us

Network of industry and research

© Fraunhofer Project Center Wolfsburg | Torben Seemann
The "Open Hybrid LabFactory e.V. (OHLF)" in Wolfsburg.

The Fraunhofer Project Center is locally 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 leadership of the Lower Saxony Research Center for Automotive Engineering (NFF) at the TU Braunschweig and enables cooperation between the TU Braunschweig and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft on the research side and, in addition to Volkswagen, several well-known companies on the industrial side under its umbrella. This so-called lightweight construction campus "OHLF" is considered one of the leading addresses in Germany, where science and industry work together at eye level within the framework of a new type of cooperation model. Here, new technologies and processes are developed in cooperation with experts and tested for marketability and economic sustainability.

The four Fraunhofer Institutes listed below pool their expertise and work on common topics and issues in an application-oriented manner within the framework of the Fraunhofer Project Center Wolfsburg, as well as within the "OHLF". In cross-institute teams, researchers from complementary disciplines work on current and future issues in the automotive industry. Two examples of this interdisciplinary cooperation within the project center are the projects "futureFlexPro" and "CoolBat". In addition to the unique infrastructure, the joint collaboration with employees from other research institutions on the OHLF lightweight construction campus is a key unique selling point and enables projects such as "LCT" and "TechnoHyb" to be worked on.

There is also close cooperation with the Fraunhofer Project Center for Energy Storage and Systems ZESS in Braunschweig. Together, intelligent solutions are being developed for vehicle integration of the next-generation battery. This includes their 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 supported by state funds from the "Niedersächsisches Vorab" (VWZN2990).

The member institutes of the Fraunhofer Project Center introduce themselves

Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM

Research at the location in Wolfsburg focuses mainly on new types of lightweight technologies based on metals. For this purpose, a new type of Low-Pressure-Die-Casting Facility is available in the technical center for industry-related applied research. The plant technology offers an innovation for low-pressure casting; it enables both conventional melting and casting of aluminum and refractory metals such as copper. Research is currently focusing on a wide variety of technological approaches. Examples include composite casting for the integration of metallic structures and profiles (made of aluminum or steel) directly into the cast component, the combination of low-pressure casting processes with non-metallic primary or forming processes (e.g. sheet metal forming or plastic injection molding), or the production of cast rotors for electric drives. The novel possibilities for casting copper in low-pressure casting offer completely new potential for manufacturing components with high thermal and electrical conductivity - especially for the electrically driven future.

For further information click here.

Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering and Thin Films IST

The Fraunhofer IST is extending the expertise of the Fraunhofer Project Center Wolfsburg with its extensive experience in the field of coating technologies, in particular micro and sensor technologies with the development of smart surfaces. Possible areas of application for smart surfaces can be found in the interior, for example in the recording of vital parameters of the occupants and condition monitoring of the autonomous vehicle. Another application is in manufacturing technology through tool-integrated sensors for intelligent process control. In close connection with the Institute for Machine Tools and Manufacturing Technology IWF of the TU Braunschweig, a freely interlinked production system is under construction, with which functional layers and surface-integrated thin-film sensors can be produced flexibly and efficiently in the initial constellation. The planned integration into the plant technology of the OHLF will allow an expansion of the processes for functionalization and individualization of components from classic manufacturing processes.

For further information click here.

Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology IWU

At the Fraunhofer Project Center Wolfsburg, the Fraunhofer IWU conducts research into material and production technology solutions for the mobility of the future. Lighter materials and the combination of new materials, linked with adapted and new production technologies, enable new vehicle concepts, lightweight solutions and the additional integration of functions. Within the framework of "OHLF", the Fraunhofer IWU develops production processes for innovative materials and hybrid components. Examples include the cost-optimized production of fiber-reinforced thermoplastic semi-finished products on a Calender Impregnation Plant or the so-called One-Tool-Process, in which injection molding pressure is used to simultaneously form sheet metal and create undercuts. The focus is always on the entire process chain - from the idea, design and simulation to mold production, testing and recycling - in order to offer a holistic industrial solution.

For further information click here.

Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research, Wilhelm-Klauditz-Institut WKI

The main areas of research at the Wolfsburg site are concerned with new types of lightweight construction technologies based on renewable raw materials. Natural fiber composites and components based on renewable raw materials (injection molding, natural fiber molded parts) are finding an ever-increasing range of applications in the automotive sector (passenger cars, commercial vehicles). The requirements for these products with regard to emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOC) and odor-relevant substances as well as their mechanical properties are constantly increasing. The Fraunhofer WKI is developing approaches for the production of low-emission and low-odor natural fiber composites or interior components for the automotive sector. Among other things, a Double-Rapier Weaving Machine is used to combine conventional and sustainable materials in an economically efficient and technically complex way so that the requirements regarding mechanical component properties are met at the same time. In addition, conductive yarns or wires that serve as sensors or conductive tracks can be integrated directly into the fabric.

For further information click here.