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Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing)

Additive manufacturing (3D printing) is a key technology of the future. Since 2010, know-how has been continuously established as part of numerous national and international R&D projects, with a high-quality lab infrastructure having been purchased for the additive manufacture of technical components.

Research activities focus on the design of additive components, simulation-based topology optimization, additive production of prototypes, pilot and small series including quality assurance and the post-treatment of additive manufactured components. Emphasis is placed on building components on behalf of the European Space Agency ESA that qualify for space applications. Inline process monitoring for additive manufacturing processes comprises another key area.

Currently, there are cooperations and strategic alliances with numerous European research institutions, colleges, universities, commercial enterprises and intermediary organisations in the field of 3D printing.

A lab for additive manufacturing and an open lab for 3D printing are available for carrying out R&D projects.

Available infrastructure:

  • EOS-M280 Laser Beam Melting system for metals
  • EOS-M400 Laser Beam Melting system for metals
  • EOS-P396 Laser Sintering system for polymers
  • different 3D printers based on Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF)
  • various CAx tools (design and simulation-based topology optimization)
  • FARO Quantum M-3D scanner
  • HORIBA LA950 Laser diffraction particle size analyser
  • Carbolite Gero GLO-210-11 heat treatment furnace
  • Alicona Infinite Focus SL surface profilometer
  • Hitachi TM-1000 REM
  • Mechanical workshop

Research Activities

  • Ad-Proc-Add

    The CORNET project aims at the systematic and comprehensive investigation of additive-subtractive manufacturing process chains in order to gain a detailed understanding of influences and dependencies of parameters, strategies and boundary conditions related to the material and workpiece properties of additive manufactured and post-processed case studies in different applications. The task of FOTEC is the development of design guidelines for the different case studies along the entire process chain and their implementation.

  • HILP4D

    The project, funded by the Province of Lower Austria, aims to combine the complementary additive, 3-dimensional production processes of laser beam melting and laser powder deposition welding to form a novel production process. In addition to the additive manufacturing of metallic demonstrators, FOTEC is also responsible for the realization of a digital twin.

  • MetGlass

    The aim of this ESA project is to determine suitable methods for the production of components from so-called metallic glasses for space applications. FOTEC develops welding parameters for laser beam melting for the additive manufacturing of demonstrators.

  • addmanu knowledge

    Within the FFG qualification network topics such as new materials for additive manufacturing, new processes and plants, new methods in component design and construction as well as the implementation in new business models and relevant cross-sectional topics are to be taught. The task of FOTEC is to impart knowledge in the field of additive manufacturing of metal components to the participants of the seminars.


    The EIT project aims to establish a training programme in additive manufacturing aimed at operators, specialists, engineers, managers and new professionals to address the current shortage of specialists able to use additive manufacturing across the entire value chain.

  • TESAT - RF

    In this ESA project, research is being carried out on HF components, which are produced additively. The aim is to increase the electrical power through new available geometries, to shorten the production and delivery time through higher integration and to reduce volume and mass through the integration of different functions (electrical, thermal, mechanical) in one part. The task of FOTEC is the revision of the design as well as the additive manufacturing of the components.

  • SpaceNDT

    The aim of this FFG project is to develop an error catalogue for additive polymer matrix composites and multi-material parts as well as to predict the influence of defects on service life by means of FEA simulation. FOTEC produces additive samples and supports the development of a simulation model.

  • NanoPPU100

    In this FFG-supported project, upgrade potential for the Indium Field Emission Electric Propulsion (FEEP) thruster developed by FOTEC and commercialised by ENPULSION will be investigated. A significant increase in power density necessitates development of modified electronics and thermal management solutions. Possibilities of manufacturing heat pipes with an additive manufacturing process will be investigated.

  • MFS

    The aim of this ESA project ist to develop and test concepts of integrating propellant storage functions into (primary) satellite structures exploitung advanced manufacturing techniques, such as additive manufacturing.


    The aim of this ESA project is to demonstrate the additive manufacturing process with a plasma arc and that this technology has the potential to produce metallic components with a size of more than one meter. The task of FOTEC is to develop suitable parameters for the necessary heat treatment and to characterize the component both ductile and optical.


    The objective of the FFG project is the development of complex heat exchangers and mirror structures. The heat exchangers should show a higher power density and the adaptation of the outer contour to the surrounding system. The task of FOTEC is the simulation of the flow in the heat exchangers by means of CFD simulation as well as additive manufacturing of individual demonstrators.

  • NEOSAT Phase C

    Through its NEOSAT project, ESA aims to help Europe's space industry become more competitive. The new communications satellite platform could reduce orbital operating costs by up to 30 percent compared to conventional satellites. FOTEC's task is to additively manufacture a bracket for a solar panel, whereby the focus is not only on additive manufacturing, but also on design and FEM-based simulation.

  • LBMcheck

    The aim of this FFG project is to develop a real quality assurance during the building process for laser beam melting (3D printing) of metals by a combined photodiode- and camera-based melt pool monitoring for the first time. The task of FOTEC is to create an error catalog and to develop evaluation algorithms based on it.

  • Mg-Bio ISOS

    The aim of this project, funded by the Province of Lower Austria, is to develop personalized implants that will enable rapid rehabilitation of the patient, while also taking health economics into account. The task of FOTEC is to additively manufacture demonstrators for the practical experiments regarding haptics.

  • AM4I

    The aim of this CORNET project is to improve the quality of additively manufactured products according to the requirements of the industry. The tasks of FOTEC are the additive manufacturing of demonstrators as well as the provocation and evaluation of realistic errors that can occur during the additive manufacturing process.


    In this EDA project, hydrogen storage solutions for submarine air-independent propulsion are being investigated.

  • SEfAM

    The aim of this ESA project is the development and evaluation of surface treatment methods for additively manufactured metal components. FOTEC produces additive demonstrators, which are characterized with respect to their surface depending on the different post-processing steps.


    The aim of this ESA project is the design and manufacture of antenna components on satellites using additive manufacturing. This allows the components to be manufactured much lighter, more compact and without the screw connections that are still necessary today.

  • MH

    This ESA project aims at developing a hydrogen storage solution for a regenerative fuel cell system for satellites in cooperation with Prototech (Norway) and Thales Alenia (France). FOTEC is responsible for the development of the hydrogen storage system.


Stelzer N., Sebald T., Hatzenbichler M., Bonvoisin B., Lubos B., Scheerer M. (2019): Properties of surface engineered metallic parts prepared by additive manufacturing. In: Proceedings of Metal Additive Manufacturing Conference (MAMC), SWE.
Buchmayr B., Panzl G., Walzl A., Wallis C., Hubmann R., Kitzmantel M. (2019): Results and Conclusions on Metallic Materials Made by AM within the Austrian Leader Project “addmanu”. In: BHM Berg- und Hüttenmännische Monatshefte.
Kilian M., Hartwanger C., Schneider M., Hatzenbichler M. (2017): Waveguide components for space applications manufactured by additive manufacturing technology, IET Microwaves. In: Antennas & Propagation Journal, ISSN 1751-8733, UK.
Mozdzen G., Tesch A., Hubmann R., Palm F., Bayer S. (2016): Microstructural Characteristics and Stress Corrosion Cracking Behaviour of Scalmalloy Manufactured by Selective Laser Melting. In: Presented at ECSSMET 2016, 27 to 30 September 2016, Toulouse, France.
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