Tool development

Single-source tool technologies

© Fraunhofer IPK
Better function through integration of smart cooling and lightweight concepts as well as force sensors to determine cutting forces: Tool holder manufactured with LPBF.

The production of tools is in many cases very resource and process intensive. For example, large quantities of valuable and high-priced raw materials such as cobalt, tungsten or titanium are lost during finishing of semi-finished products for grinding and cutting tools. In addition, these processes are usually very time-consuming and costly, as raw materials are usually very hard. At the same time, production-related restrictions hinder new innovative concepts such as lightweight construction or cooling strategies.

Additive manufacturing is an efficient and resource-saving technology for the production of tools with new functionalities and complex geometries. Fraunhofer IPK supports companies in the tooling industry to reduce the effort required for finishing while increasing the complexity and functionality of their products. In addition to additive manufacturing itself, we offer process-oriented design, simulation, component finishing and functional verification of tools in real use.

Our services

  • Development of new tool concepts based on additive manufacturing processes
  • Demand-oriented tool design through use of various simulation tools
  • Design of the entire process chain, including all post-processing steps
  • Performance tests of tools on modern machining centers

Industrial applications

  • Complex tool holders with optimized cooling or integrated sensor technology
  • Shank tools made of high-strength materials like carbide
  • Economical production of complex EDM molded electrodes
  • Hybrid manufacturing concepts for tool production
  • Additively manufactured fixtures for assembly and machining


Technical equipment

  • RenAM 500 Q HT: L-PBF system of the latest generation with four lasers and 500 °C preheating for processing difficult to weld materials
  • Modern machining centers for milling, turning, grinding, honing and EDM machining
  • TruLaser Cell 7020: Economical laser DED system, e.g. for coating processes
  • Nabertherm High-temperature furnace



Selected references


Additive manufacturing of an optimized milling tool

Sensor technology in additive components

3D printing and IoT solutions offer new ways to monitor the condition of safety-critical components.

Carbide cutters

We are breaking new ground in carbide processing of WC-Co. With the most modern system technology, a high-temperature preheating and with innovative process strategies we are working on increasing the material quality.