LAPIX 3D – Leading Market Contest NRW

The individualization of products is becoming an increasingly important factor for the market success of all types of goods. Individual design, a personalized surface finish or user-friendly operating elements are decisive selection criteria for end consumers.

As a part of flexible manufacturing strategies in terms of batch sizes and design variants with a combined technological and organizational approach in line with the “Industrie 4.0” concept, an individualization of products and production processes is becoming an important trend.

For bulk commodities and packaging products, individualized and customized series have already been in demand for a long time for selected products, for example for the World Soccer Cup or for Christmas editions. In the automotive sector, the option of individualization in the form of special design variants with a limited scope for alterations is already available today. However, there is still a lack of technologies for an individual design of specific product features based on a uniform, mass-produced component with a subsequent functionalization. Processes available today for individualization on a limited scale have the drawback of being restricted to 2D surfaces.

By an innovative process technology, the drawbacks mentioned above are to be avoided, enabling individualization of complex 3D components. With our common project, we are developing a new process for the technological implementation of photorealistic pictures on three-dimensional parts. For this purpose, we use a special laser ablation process to create extremely fine color pixels. With easy-to-operate, low-priced laser modules, we are able to integrate individualizations decentrally into various production plants and manufacturing steps, thus opening up opportunities for new logistic concepts.

LAPIX 3D is a joint project of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology Aachen, LINDEN GmbH and Kunststoff-Institut Lüdenscheid.

This project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).