Safe. Digital. Sustainable.

Annual report 2022

Dear customers and partners of Fraunhofer LBF.

Safe. Digital. Sustainable. This is the motto that defines our institute’s agenda for the future. In 2022, we once again aligned our key research topics according to that motto: from the development of digital models for components and systems, through development methods and simulation strategies for designing, analyzing and safeguarding critical products, right up to creating concrete, circular material and system solutions. In our numerous research projects, we are expanding our scientific and technological market offerings for polymer materials, durable and intelligent lightweight design, structural dynamics and experimental, digital and cyber-physical simulations. What matters most to us is providing our customers and partners with optimal support as they increase resource and energy efficiency, sustainability and innovation in all product life cycle phases and value chain stages.

Highlights of our work in the area of safety and reliability in 2022 included establishing the Smart Lab for Future Mobility Chassis Systems. In this modular system, our institute now has a cutting-edge laboratory environment for simulating operating loads for complex and even active component assemblies in automotive engineering systems. The smart lab was set up as an expertise and application center, but it will also promote the transfer of research results to industry.

Vibroacoustic metamaterials (VAMM) have been a core area of research at Fraunhofer LBF for many years, forming the focus of numerous smart and digital technology projects in the fields of mobility and infrastructure engineering. Our most recent achievement in this domain saw our researchers develop a prototype for noise-insulating walls as part of their investigations on how to better protect residents affected by road traffic noise. Using metamaterials significantly improved transmission values in comparison to the conventional method of increasing insulation wall thickness. ASFINAG, the Austrian public corporation that manages the country’s highways, is currently planning to implement the materials in practice.

In the last year, our scientists have also worked to drive sustainability in multiple projects on clean, eco-friendly technology. These projects include efforts to develop biobased, biodegradable plastic solutions with a high technical quality level from recycled materials. In 2022, we also expanded our expertise in the field of recyclable plastics. In addition, we launched and implemented multiple new projects in two of our key research fields: smart, durable lightweight design and resource efficiency.

Electromobility had its own part to play at Fraunhofer LBF in 2022, as our teams began working on a new application focus with CyPhyFuelCell, a unique validation environment for reliability testing and design in fuel cell systems for electric vehicles. One particularly notable highlight of the year gone by was the founding of Altosens GmbH with the support of the CoLab and AHEAD incubator programs. Building on the foundations of the institute’s DELTA-C® technology, Altosens is developing a cloud-based monitoring system with force sensors that can be used in applications such as monitoring wind farms. Other collaborative initiatives focusing on sensors saw the development of a technology that is now being tested in technical applications for bolt monitoring.

These are just a few of the research activities that we will present in this Annual Report, which is available in entirely digital form for the first time, in line with our efforts to increase digitalization and sustainability. We hope you enjoy reading this report. The Fraunhofer LBF team would like to thank you for your trust and collaboration over the past year. In 2023, the year of our 85th anniversary, we would be delighted to continue this relationship and develop customized solutions for the challenges ahead of you. You are most welcome to contact us and we look forward to collaborating with you.

Prof. Dr. Tobias Melz,
Institute Director