The demand for customized, intelligent and multifunctional components is constantly growing. Additive manufacturing techniques such as 3D printing are suitable for producing specialized components in small quantities. Economical, technical and quality-defining factors still prevent their use on a large scale. The research project aims to change this situation.


The space technology sector is one pioneer in the industrialization of metallic 3D printing. One reason for this is that cost is not a decisive factor here. The production of customer-specific, intelligent components at marketable prices is still a dream of the future.

The goal of HILP4D is a novel production process to be developed by combining laser beam melting (LBM) and laser metal deposition (LMD). LBM involves building up a component layer by layer by melting a metal powder locally, using a laser beam. While this permits great shaping freedom, the temperature gradient inherent in the process leads to deformations or residual stresses. LMD is applied to adapt existing materials to new requirements by metallurgically joining an additive in the form of a powder to the material using a laser.

Research for a new class of components

The new manufacturing process is mainly about increasing efficiency. In a next step, components can be functionalized, for example with lubricants or by integrating intelligent sensors. "Directly integrating sensors is the key to intelligently monitoring machines or even components in order to ensure failure and damage free production," says Prof. Dr. Hubert Brückl, explaining the research objective. This would create a new class of components enlarged by the dimension "sensor intelligence digitization". In cooperation with Attophotonics, the Department of Integrated Sensor Systems at Danube University Krems is researching sensor fusion and the associated data transmission and processing. Sensors should enable components to detect local brittleness caused by hydrogen. This requires developing a new sensor technology that can detect components’ wear and tear. In this way, components could feel their "state of health" in the future and indicate well in advance that they need to be replaced. The project aims at three prototypes with increasing complexity: a component for lightweight construction (e.g. elevator), a multifunctional forming tool as used for machining metal, and an intelligent friction bearing (drilling, grinding, milling, etc.).


Project: HILP4D – Hybrider Integrierter Laser-Produktionsprozess for the  production 4D components
Duration: 1 April 2019 – 31 March 2022
Funding: Federal States (incl. their foundation and institution)
Head of Project: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Hubert Brückl
Project Lead: AC2T research GmbH - COMET K2-Centre for Tribologie as Leadpartner
Partners: Aerospace and Advanced Composites GmbH, Attophotonics GmbH, Fachhochschule Wiener Neustadt, FOTEC – Forschungs- und Technologietransfer GmbH


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