Commitment to the technology location Aachen

Researchers at Fraunhofer IPT have been working on the precision molding of optical glass since about 1999. Even then, it was clear that there were many technological, and especially economic, limits to the conventional fabrication of precision optics - and not only in Asia. Replicative glass forming, on the other hand, provides the option of fabricating even complexly shaped optics in large lots on an extremely economical basis. However, the prerequisites for this include ultra-precision mold manufacturing and extensive knowledge of glass deformation behavior.

The historically strong branches of the Aachen Research Institute, tool manufacture and optics, were combined outstandingly well to address this range of topics.

Due to the lack of publications in this area, it was quickly apparent that the only possible path to an accelerated learning process in Europe would be a partnership - a joint venture with Asian technology leaders. In 2000, Fraunhofer IPT invested in an initial Toshiba GMP211 series molding machine, thus laying the foundation for fruitful exchange with Japanese experts.

In the years that followed, the entire working area at Fraunhofer IPT developed extremely dynamically. The phenomena involved in glass molding and the interactions with the shaping material were analyzed more and more thoroughly. The result was extensive and especially independent knowledge of the technology.

Although the industry already had an interest in precision glass molding even then, many potential users still hesitated. One reason was too great a dependency of the entire process chain on Asian supply structures. The crucial components were not available in Europe. This was the motivation for founding Aixtooling GmbH. Dr. Thomas Bergs, at the time Managing Chief Engineer at Fraunhofer IPT, had the vision of founding a technology company at the Aachen location to help close the technological gap. The ideal conditions were provided by the networking with RWTH Aachen and the Fraunhofer Society, as well as collaboration with numerous existing companies in and around Aachen.

In June 2005, together with his two partners Bernd Bresseler and Guido Pongs - also scientists at Fraunhofer IPT - and with the participation of shareholders Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr.-Ing. E.h. Dr. h.c. Fritz Klocke and WZL Aachen GmbH, Aixtooling GmbH was officially founded in Aachen.
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