This article was originally published in June 2014.

The Forging Industry Association (FIA), the Forging Industry Educational and Research Foundation (FIERF), affiliated U.S. colleges and Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute recently conducted a technical conference to present and indentify potential collaborative research projects related to resource-efficient manufacturing and productivity improvements.

On April 7-8, about 100 industry leaders from forging companies, their supplier base, academia, FIA, FIERF and the Fraunhofer Institute gathered at The Timken Company’s modern meeting facilities in Canton, Ohio, to discuss the status of their research programs and the potential for future collaborative projects.

    On the first day of the program, attendees heard presentations from professors at leading U.S. academic institutions that have a significant profile in forging-related research programs, representatives from Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute and others.

    Roundtable discussions were conducted on the program’s second day dealing with the following topics: lightweight design, process optimization, tool and die making, material developments and additive manufacturing. The program was such that each participant could attend two roundtable topical discussions with a general recap of these discussions before adjournment in the afternoon.

    Taylan Altan (The Ohio State University) introduced most of the speakers on the first day of the event, including a number of his academic colleagues. Colleges represented at the podium for brief collegiate profiles to start the event were Case Western Reserve University (David Schwam), Colorado School of Mines (frequent FORGE contributor Chet Van Tyne), Illinois Institute of Technology (Philip Nash and Sammy Tin) and the University of North Texas (Peter C. Collins). Each university was profiled briefly in the morning session of day one, with more detailed technical papers presented later in the day.

    Schwam, as part of the technical program, presented his introduction to additive manufacturing (AM) technologies, focusing on potential forging-specific applications and the use of metals in AM processes. Van Tyne spoke of trends in ferrous metal development, detailing his presentation around microalloyed steels, rapid heating of steels and high-strength low-alloy (HSLA) steels for gear applications. Nash and Tin presented, respectively, on the topics of forging and AM simulations and the characteristics of ultrafine grain materials. Collins spoke about the activities of the Center for Advanced Non-Ferrous Structural Alloys (CANFA), a joint project between his school and the Colorado School of Mines.

    Several representatives from Germany’s Fraunhofer Institutes were present to introduce their respective organizations and give attendees an overview of the work they are doing. The two institutes represented at the conference were Fraunhofer IWU and Fraunhofer IPT (see sidebar for additional details).

    Rounding out the day of technical offerings were two presentations that dealt with financial, administrative and strategic matters relating to joint research activities. Fraunhofer IWU’s Dr. Andreas Sterzing and (frequent FORGE contributor) Jon Tirpak, executive director – FDMC, SCRA Applied R&D, each gave their views on research funding and potential collaborations stretching across the Atlantic.


What is the Fraunhofer Society?

The Fraunhofer Society for the advancement of applied research is a Germany research organization with 67 institutes spread throughout Germany, each focusing on different fields of applied science. The organization employs about 23,000 people, mainly scientists and engineers. Some funding for the Fraunhofer Society is provided by German taxpayers, but more than 70% of funding is earned through contract work, either for government-sponsored projects or from industry. The society is named after Joseph von Fraunhofer, who, as a scientist, engineer and entrepreneur, is said to have superbly exemplified the goals of the society.

    The “Fraunhofer Model” has been in existence since 1973 (though the Society was founded in 1949) and has led to the society’s continuing growth. Since most funding comes from research revenue from specific commissions, the society’s overall budget is largely based on maximizing revenue from its contracts. This funding model applies not just to the central society itself but also to the individual institutes that comprise it. There were two Fraunhofer Institutes represented at Tech Days in Canton: Fraunhofer IWU and Fraunhofer IPT.

    Fraunhofer IWU, as translated, is the Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology. Its motto is “Research for the Future,” as exemplified by its strong emphasis on application-oriented research and development in the field of production technology for the automotive and mechanical engineering sectors. With an annual budget of about $52 million and nearly 600 engineers and scientists on staff, Fraunhofer IWU is recognized as one of Germany’s leading contractual research and development institutions.     

    Fraunhofer IPT (Institute for Production Technology) combines knowledge and experience in all fields of production technology. In the areas of process technology, production machines, production metrology and quality, as well as technology management, the institute offers partners and customers customized solutions and applied results for modern production.


Tech Days Program

The Technical Program on day one began with some welcoming remarks by FIA, FIERF and The Timken Company. These were followed by brief introductions to the Fraunhofer Institutes represented and collegiate profiles of the schools present. The program listed here followed.

“Challenges in Today’s Manufacturing Industry – Relevance for the Forging Industry”

Andreas Sterzing, Fraunhofer IWU and Martin Bock, Fraunhofer IPT

 “Additive Manufacturing – Trends, Potentials, Opportunities”

David Schwam, Case Western Reserve University

 “Trends in Ferrous Material Development”

Chet Van Tyne, Colorado School of Mines

 “Opportunities to Increase Efficiency”

•   Lightweight Design

   Andreas Sterzing and Markus Bergmann, Fraunhofer IWU

•   Forming Processes/Process Chains

   Andreas Sterzing and Daniel Heinen, Fraunhofer IWU and IPT

•   Tool and Die Making

   Martin Bock, Fraunhofer IPT

 “Advancements in Simulation and Modeling”

Philip Nash and Sammy Tin, Illinois Institute of Technology 

 “The Center for Advanced Non-Ferrous Structural Alloys (cooperative research venture of the University of North Texas and the Colorado School of Mines)”

Pete Collins, University of North Texas

 “Overview of Funding Possibilities (U.S.)”

Jon Tirpak, Executive Director – FDMC, SCRA Applied R&D

“Possibilities of Cooperation with Fraunhofer/Overview of Funding Possibilities (Germany/Europe)”

Andreas Sterzing, Fraunhofer IPT