The VDWF’s research association

Tool and mold making is a key industry. Its unique tools allow for the serial production of industrial goods. The industry in the German-speaking region is characterized by many small and medium-sized companies – many of whom do not have their own research and development departments. The VDWF research association supports these companies with the aim of ensuring the competitiveness of tool and mold making.

Among the 400 members of the association, there are about 20 universities, institutes, and research institutions at which practice-oriented questions are considered scientifically, and the results presented to the industry. The future of technological development is based on research and development of new processes for creating viable tools and molds for the efficient processing of a wide variety of materials. These many institutions are all brought together by the VDWF. With its locations at the Kunststoff-Institut Lüdenscheid and the Schmalkalden University of Applied Sciences complementing the branch in Schwendi, the VDWF forms an interface between basic academic research and industrial applications. The VDWF connects science and industry.

In addition, the VDWF is involved in various technical committees, scientific working groups, and advisory boards such as for VDI guidelines or DIN standard committees.


Ongoing research projects of Our Cooperation Partners

  • Replicated Metal Molds (ZIM)
    A new process for the production of metallic tool inserts for optical plastic components
  • GasMold (ZIM)
    Development of a gas-based temperature control for injection molding tools
  • KeraIn (ZIM)
    Integration of thermally insulating ceramics for selective manipulation of the temperature balance in the injection molding process
  • CAP-TBC (BMBF)
    Development of innovative thermally insulating layers and coating processes for injection molding tools
  • 3D OptiCool (ZIM)
    Improvement of component properties during injection molding with 3D-printed plastic tool inserts
  • DiffMold (ZIM)
    Development of diffusion welded tool inserts for medium and large injection molds
  • 3D FlameMold (ZIM)
    3D-conforming coatings of injection molding tools by means of plasma spraying
  • DynaHEAT (EFRE-NRW)
    Development of a process-integrated thin-film heating system using chemical vapor deposition for dynamic mold temperature control
  • WASABI (KIT, BMBF)
    Tool-integrated assistance system for production control in the injection molding of highly complex and demanding component specifications
  • NextMould (Cornet, AIF, BMWI, FFG)
    Development of hybrid energy-efficient aluminum injection molds with additive arc and friction stir welding, and a deposition of thick diamond-like carbon layers


Completed Projects

  • HybridTemp (ZIM)
    Development of tool cores with hybrid material properties for homogeneous surface temperature control of injection molding tools
  • ProPumpe (BMBF)
    Development of a new type of disposal technology for injection molding tools for the single-piece production of injection molded 3D pump wheels
  • ImPro (ZIM)
    Implementation of digital storage solutions in production tools for tamper-proof documentation purposes
  • InTrance (ZIM)
    Component marking and control of the propulsion
  • Powermoulds (ThZM)
    Use of embedded diagnostic systems in injection molds
  • TemGro (TAB)
    Tempered large tools
  • TransML (BMBF)
    Transfer of machine learning methods to teaching, further education, research, and industry

Any questions?

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Thomas Seul
Professor at Schmalkalden University of Applied Sciences

Write an e-mailto the contact form



The VDWF research network

  • DHBW Stuttgart Campus Horb
  • Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences
  • Fachverband Werkzeugindustrie e.V.
  • GFE - Society for Manufacturing Technology and Development Schmalkalden
  • Reutlingen University
  • Schmalkalden University of Applied Sciences
  • Institute for Plastics- and Development Technology (IKET), Horb
  • Institute for Plastics Technology at the University of Stuttgart
  • Innonet Plastic Technology Center Horb
  • Kunststoff-Institut Lüdenscheid
  • Kunststoff-Institut Südwest, Villingen-Schwenningen
  • Tool Making Market Mirror
  • Institute of Medical and Polymer Engineering at the TU Munich
  • Deggendorf Institute of Technology
  • Technical University of Munich
  • WBA Tooling Academy Aachen
  • Toolmaking Institute of South Westphalia, Halver