Reinhart Poprawe: 3D printing reaches critical mass

The managing director of Fraunhofer's laser institute says that additive manufacturing is now achieving what has been dreamed about for decades.

25 April 2014

Reinhart Poprawe is managing director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology in Aachen, Germany. His research interests include all aspects of high-power lasers and laser manufacturing. He has authored or co-authored nearly 100 presentations at SPIE events, including plenary talks. He is a Fellow of SPIE.

Additive manufacturing in the age of digital photonic production utilizes selective laser melting (SLM), laser metal deposition (LMD) and controlled deposition of functional layers. Production without tools directly from digital design data is envisioned even in series production applications. Buildup rates for complex metal parts up to 3 cm3/min corresponding to approximately 1 kg/h have been demonstrated.Poprawe studied Physics at the University of Mainz, received a Master's degree from California State University/Fresno, and then went on to study Physics at the Technische Hochschule Darmstadt receiving a PhD in 1980. From 1985 to 1989, Poprawe was head of the Laser Process Development Department at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology.

Poprawe was CEO of Thyssen Laser-Technology GmbH Aachen from 1989 to 1996. He was appointed Professor of Laser Technology at the RWTH University Aachen and has been head of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology since 1996.

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