Additive manufacturing


The possibilities offered by additive manufacturing - also known as 3D printing - have evolved greatly through the technical development of the last three decades. With this, the influence on research and development in countless areas of life is also growing. However, the trend of development is also clearly moving in the direction of industrial application. In the field of medical technology, 3D printing is accelerating the development of new methods through shortened development cycles, but also because highly integrated components enable solutions that would be difficult to implement conventionally. In combination with the three-dimensional data sets from imaging modalities such as CT, MRI and ultrasound, which have become standard in everyday clinical practice, there are promising synergies here. The data can be used to make a diagnosis, which then provides a pathway through patient-specific models and simulations to ensure the best possible care. Consequently, in individualised therapy, 3D printing based on patient-specific three-dimensional image data can enable the customised treatment of even very specific defects.

Fields of research

Implant research

Individualized implants, for example, can represent considerable added value for patients. They are created on the basis of tomographic image data by first transferring individual structures of the patient's anatomy into 3D models. Due to imaging errors, pathological changes in the anatomy and image artefacts, the initial data for these models often requires time-consuming manual post-processing. Algorithms are being developed at the IMTE to automate these corrections, building on the team's expertise in the overall medical imaging process.



Bioprinting - 3D cell technology

The use of medical robots in surgery offers the possibility of performing surgical interventions with unprecedented flexibility and precision, while at the same time relieving medical staff. Collaboration between humans and robots is of central importance here. The goal is therefore to increase the user-friendliness for humans and at the same time to provide the medical robots with a distinct understanding of their environment. To ensure this, among other things, the movements of the medical staff and the robot are tracked and, based on the collected data, gesture and voice control is implemented using data glasses. In addition, research into the interaction of collaborative robots with each other is of great interest in order to increase the degree of autonomy in the operating theatre. The use/application of various machine learning methods plays a fundamental role in each area.


Fraunhofer IMTE offers a development and manufacturing process tailored to your needs, making the benefits of additive manufacturing accessible to you. Our interdisciplinary team with many years of experience in the production of prototypes, individual pieces and small series will help you to implement your project. In addition, our scientific staff can support your projects with expertise in the fields of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, electronics, cell technology and medical technology. This unique interdisciplinarity enables us to support your project with an open approach to technology, so that your idea is optimally translated into a product. We support you in the conception and design of your product, the appropriate selection of materials and manufacturing technologies as well as the (additive) manufacturing of your product. 

Equipment manufacturing process

  • Application: Suitable for printing medium to large components made of polymers with different mechanical properties in different colours.
  • Printing technology: MultiJet Printing (MJP)
  • Build volume: 490 x 390 x 200 mm3
  • Resolution X/Y: 14 - 100 µm; Z: 14 - 100 µm

  • Application: Suitable for printing medium to large functional components made of polymers such as ABS and ASA.
  • Printing technique: Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM)
  • Build volume: 355 x 254 x 355 mm3
  • Resolution X/Y: 400 µm; Z: 130 - 330 µm

  • Application: Suitable for printing medium to large components made of various metal alloys (e.g.: TiAl6V4 Gd. 23)
  • Printing technique: Selective laser melting (SLM)
  • Construction volume: 280 x 280 x 365 mm3
  • Resolution X/Y: 80 - 115 µm; Z: 20 - 90 µm

  • Application: Suitable for printing medium to large components made of polyamide.
  • Printing technique: Selective laser sintering (SLS)
  • Construction volume: 200 x 250 x 300 mm3
  • Resolution X/Y: 100 µm; Z: 100 µm

  • Application: Suitable for very precise and stable components made of solid or silicone-like material (transparent)
  • Printing technique: Inkjet technology
  • Construction volume: 297 × 210 × 200 mm3
  • Resolution X/Y: 1635 × 400 dpi; Z: 15 - 30 µm

  • Application: Suitable for printing micro- and nanostructures made of polymers with different mechanical and optical properties.
  • Printing technique: 2-photon polymerisation (2PP-SLA)
  • Construction volume: 100 x 100 x 8 mm3
  • Resolution X/Y: 150 nm; Z: 300 nm

  • Application: Suitable for printing small components with high resolution made of various polymers (also biocompatible).
  • Printing technology: Digital Light Processing (DLP)
  • Construction volume: 84 x 63 x 230 mm3
  • Resolution X/Y: 16 µm; Z: 15 µm

  • Application: Suitable for printing small to medium-sized components with high resolution from various polymers (also biocompatible).
  • Printing technique: Stereolithography (SLA)
  • Build volume: 145 x 145 x 185 mm3
  • Resolution X/Y: 25 - 300 µm; Z: 25 µm

  • Application: Suitable for printing fibre-reinforced components that are optimally designed to withstand tensile and compressive forces and are particularly resilient. Composite materials are: Carbon fibre, glass fibre, Kevlar, HSHT glass fibre.
  • Printing technology: Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF)
  • Construction volume: 320 x 132 x 154 mm3
  • Resolution X/Y: 160 µm; Z: 100/200 µm