Fraunhofer IAF does research in the field of natural sciences. Which role does precision mechanics play here?
We manufacture prototypes for our researchers. Depending on the project or challenge, our colleagues ask us to produce certain precision components or modules or sometimes simply to solve a problem. We receive technical drawings and manufacture the corresponding parts with our machines.
What are your specific tasks as team leader and trainer?
I am the link between the scientists and the machines. Our researchers often have an idea without exactly knowing how to solve it technically. This is where I come into play. I confirm the technical feasibility and support the development. Apart from technical advice, I make sure that material is available, that the machine park is in good shape, and I am also in charge of the vocational training of industrial mechanics.
How does the collaboration with the researchers proceed—what is the process from an idea to a finished piece?
There are several ways. Ideally, the research departments approach us with a technical drawing; mostly a 3D construction model. On the basis of the drawing, I confirm the feasibility—whether, the component can be produced at all and whether it would then function. Often, my colleagues also approach me with a tangible problem or simply an idea of which they do not know how to realize it. Then we sit together, construct the single parts and create a solution together. As soon as we are presented with the final CAD data, we set up our CNC programs and manufacture the parts. If we are unable to manufacture particular pieces ourselves, due to the size or the production method required, we cooperate with external companies to find the ideal solution.