AUTOHEAT: Towards high performance and individual heat exchangers, produced with additive technology

Additive manufacturing processes are becoming increasingly important and represent an interesting alternative to conventional manufacturing technologies, many of which work by subtracting material. Conversely, additive manufacturing processes add material layer by layer to produce parts with complex geometries, hence obtaining material savings.

Heat exchangers are components with complex geometries and are subject of interest for “AutoHeat”, a two-year project supported by the German innovation program AGENT-3D for the development and affirmation of additive technologies, otherwise known as 3D printing.

The project, led by the Fraunhofer IWU Research Institute in Dresden, Germany, aims to create miniature heat exchangers with additive manufacturing and has the following objectives:

  • Create highly efficient, space-saving, scalable 3D-printed heat exchanger modules with innovative channel structure and flexible final shape
  • Speed up construction time by +50% with an autonomous software add-on to the existing CAD to create variations of the basic HEX module
  • Identify business cases for multi-functional HEX systems, across applications and industries
  • Create partner networks and training formats

For this purpose, dialogue with industry is fundamental and AutoHeat invites industrial partners – designers, producers, researchers and users of small and medium-sized heat exchangers (micro-channel; plate; shell and tube, compact; condensers; especially also for cryogenic, special or high temperature applications), in any heating or cooling application – to participate in a short survey. The survey can be found HERE in English and HERE in German. The survey takes approximately 10 minutes to complete.

Autoheat is a cutting-edge project: Additive manufacturing is not yet fully established in many sectors but research is very active on this front and the technology is indicated by many as one of the technologies for the future manufacturing industry. The MADE Competence Center in Milan also dedicates a lot of attention to it. Taking an interest in this technology today and participating directly or indirectly in its development means looking forward to the future of manufacturing.