80 years of Fraunhofer LBF

More than 100 guests from politics, business and science were welcomed by the LBF Fraunhofer Institute for Structural Durability and System Reliability on June 21 in Darmstadt.

Workshops and the opportunity to gain insight into the otherwise closed off laboratories attracted project partners and companions from all over Germany. In welcoming addresses and ceremonial speeches on the occasion of the 80th anniversary, various speakers acknowledged the institute's achievements in research as well as promotion of young talent for Germany, for the state of Hesse and the city of Darmstadt, as well as for the universities and the economy at large.

The anniversary celebration also included a makeathon with participants from various research institutions on the subject of “intelligent sensors in cars”. Early in the evening, the anniversary concluded with a party for LBF members and guests.

New Challenges

In addition to lightweight construction, which has been the central idea throughout the long history of Fraunhofer LBF, digitalization is another key topic of the institute. In all industrial sectors, this trend opens up exciting, brand new perspectives and product solutions at breakneck speed. This makes products increasingly complex in their functions and design. Nevertheless, one thing is paramount for users:
The product must work reliably and safely. The research topics of Fraunhofer LBF are derived from questions surrounding how and by what means this can be achieved.


Director Prof. Tobias Melz.

Future mobility: lightweight vehicle ”epsilon”.

Estimation of lightweight casting structures.

Congratulations of the Bundesminsterium für Bildung und Forschung.

Smart materials for smart tools.

Integrated functionalities for lightweight and safe aircraft stuctures.

Young scientists match at a makeathon.

Existing competences – new solutions

How these challenges increasingly blur the boundaries between physical and virtual reality and how this affects product development are questions we ask ourselves and discuss with our customers and partners in workshops and work through them in projects. Related key topics concern the creation as well as opportunities and limitations of ”digital twins” in the process of product development.

However, digitalization is not only leading to a paradigm shift in product development, but also in reliable operation of equipment and systems: Maintenance and repair intervals are increasingly no longer carried out based on empirical knowledge and at defined time intervals nor reactively in the event of failure or malfunction of a machine. Rather, sensor networks and predictive maintenance approaches use continuous, in-service status detection and algorithmic data interpretation to facilitate prediction of potential defects before they actually occur. But how can individual sensor data be combined to provide a meaningful overall picture? What are the implications of ”alerts”? Among other things, we discussed these and similar topics with our guests from both the industry and science sector during the anniversary celebration.

Together into the future

The development and evaluation of safe and reliable lightweight structures, especially in the mobility sector, have been the core competences of Fraunhofer LBF since its founding. Building on this experience, the scientists of Fraunhofer LBF continuously work on the refinement and new development of methods involving “experimental, virtual reliability simulation”, “intelligent, adaptive lightweight structures”, as well as the integration of sensors and actuators in components, structures and machines for condition monitoring and process control. For several years, the scientists have also been working intensively on the topics of “sustainability and resource efficiency”, for example in the field of “plastic recycling”, but also in the use of “biocomposites”.

Fraunhofer LBF cannot only look back on a long-standing tradition, but also continues to keep their finger on the pulse! We look forward to the opportunity to continue to shape the coming years together with you and eagerly await the next anniversary so we can reflect on the newest accomplishments.

“Bei all dieser Komplexität bleibt es für den Nutzer selbstverständlich, dass die neuen Produkte zuverlässig und sicher funktionieren. Dafür steht das Fraunhofer LBF mit seiner Zuverlässigkeitsforschung.” Professor Reimund Neugebauer, Präsident der Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft