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Innovation, Research & Development

Germany is one of the world's leading 3D printing innovation locations. Product development and new and improved 3D printing materials are being developed in tandem with new tools, process equipment and concepts for industry application.

Innovative R&D Environment

Germany's outstanding position in additive manufacturing R&D is illustrated by the number of published patents. In 2020, Germany took second place worldwide behind the USA and first place in Europe with 95 patents. 

System AM manufacturers interviewed by Wohlers Associates indicated that they spend an average of 30.6 percent of their annual turnover on R&D. The high percentage spent on R&D highlights the importance of R&D activities and that many companies in this sector are relatively young manufacturers in an early development phase. Many of today's leading AM companies manufacturing have their origins in spin-offs from university institutions or are based on developments and patents developed at universities or research institutions.

Fraunhofer Competence Field Additive Manufacturing

Additive manufacturing is one of the many research fields at German world class research institutes like the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. The Fraunhofer Competence Field Additive Manufacturing integrates 19 Fraunhofer institutes across Germany which, subject to their main focus, deal with areas concerning additive manufacturing and represent the entire process chain. This includes the development, application and implementation of additive production processes as well as associated materials.

Aachen Center for Additive Manufacturing

The Aachen Center for Additive Manufacturing (ACAM), a joint venture between the RWTH Aachen University and Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, has become one of the leading research centers for additive manufacturing in Europe since its foundation in 2016. 

Additive Manufacturing Center Dresden 

The Technical University Dresden is home to the Additive Manufacturing Center Dresden (AMCD), which is operated by the university and Fraunhofer IWS as a joint competence center. Here researchers are developing multiprocess material and manufacturing solutions for innovative products. 

New AM Materials Research Partnership

The Federal Institute for Materials and Research and Testing (BAM) and the Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research are attractive research partners for potential investors for the development and improvement of new materials for additive manufacturing.

Skilled Workforce

Several universities conduct research projects and have established chairs and study courses in the field of additive manufacturing. 

  • RWTH Aachen University has established a Digital Additive Production Chair and several universities like the Landshut University of Applied Sciences have established study courses for additive manufacturing. 

  • The Academic Network Munich for Additive Manufacturing received funding for five AM-specific professorships at three universities in Munich and the University of Armed Forces Munich opened a cross-departmental research lab dedicated to AM research. 

  • Technical University Berlin now counts with three AM relevant chairs that cooperate with the industry and science campus Werner-von-Siemens Centre for Industry and Science (WvSC). 

  • Ruhr-University Bochum expanded its metal and polymer AM research capacity by opening the Research Center for the Engineering of Smart Product Service Systems. 

In addition to university education, the DVS (German Association for Welding and Related Processes) offers courses to become a specialist in additive manufacturing for metals and plastics. 

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