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Industrie 4.0

Invest with the best – Industrie 4.0 made in Germany

The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy Mittelstand 4.0 - Digitale Produktions und Arbeitsprozesse (“SME 4.0 – Digital Production and Work Processes”) initiative supports SMEs and craft trade companies in the digitalization, networking and implementation of Industrie 4.0 applications.

Mittelstand 4.0 – Digital Production and Work Processes

Mittelstand 4.0 Competence Centers raise awareness about digitalization among companies and provide help like information, training, and the opportunity to view and test new solutions in practice across the country. To give you an overview of how Industrie 4.0 is done in Germany here are a few examples. Find out why Industrie 4.0 works best in Germany by checking out these companies (more below):

  • It's OWL
  • Research Fab Microelectronics Germany

Industrie 4.0 Actors, Associations and Initiatives

Plattform Industrie 4.0 is the central network to advance digital transformation in production in Germany. The initiative seeks to consolidate Germany’s leading Industrie 4.0 role by engaging in ongoing dialogue with partners and developing action recommendations for all stakeholders that serve as the basis for a common framework.

Plattform Industrie 4.0

Plattform Industrie 4.0 brings together more than 300 stakeholders from over 150 companies, associations, trade unions and academic and political institutions so that all stakeholders can drive their mission at many levels. Five working groups set up to address the central challenges of Industrie 4.0 draw up basic concepts, recommendations for action and guidelines in the areas of standardization, security, legal framework, and work and business models.
The Compass Industrie 4.0 serves as a platform for more than 100 cost-free Industrie 4.0 support services available in Germany. A number of online tools

  • provide optimal orientation for small and medium-sized enterprises looking to identify potential Industrie 4.0 partners and opportunities
  • showcase more than 340 Industrie 4.0 innovations already in practice across Germany as resource to companies seeking information, advisory services and access to national testbed sites
  • provides access to all results produced by the Plattform Industrie 4.0 and its partners

Find out more about Plattform Industrie 4.0 and among all actors, associations and initiatives linked to Industrie 4.0 there are a few more we would like to point out (more below):

Best Practice - It's OWL

How do we process data from machines to increase productivity and efficiency? How do we develop new services and business models? And how do we use new technology to improve working conditions? At the it’s OWL (Intelligent Technical Systems OstWestfalenLippe) technology network, more than 200 companies and research institutes are working to develop solutions for SMEs to meet these challenges.
Awarded Leading-Edge Cluster status by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, it’s OWL is regarded as one of the most significant Industrie 4.0 initiatives in Germany.
Solutions for intelligent products and production processes have been developed in 47 projects. New projects focus on artificial intelligence processes as well as digital platforms and designing the modern workplace. Located in the OstWestfalenLippe (OWL) region in northern Germany, it’s OWL belongs to the strongest production clusters in Europe. Four hundred companies in the mechanical engineering and electrical and automotive supply industries generate annual turnover of EUR 17 billion.
Family-owned companies and a broad mediumsized industry form the core of the cluster. These include world market leaders (Benteler, Claas, DMG Mori, Hella, Miele, and Diebold Nixdorf) and many hidden champions. In the field of industrial electronics, Beckhoff, Harting, Lenze, Phoenix Contact, Wago, and Weidmüller are setting world standards. Local universities stand for interdisciplinary top-level research in the fields of selfoptimization, cognition and industrial automation.

Find out more about it's OWL on their website.

Best Practice - Research Fab Microelectronics Germany

Eleven institutes within the Fraunhofer Group for Microelectronics and two institutes from the Leibniz Association have developed a concept for a cross-location micro- and nanoelectronics research factory.
The “Research Fab Microelectronics Germany” initiative will consolidate the country’s global position in semiconductors and electronics in four future-relevant technology areas:

  1. silicon-based technologies
  2. compound semiconductors and special substrates
  3. heterointegration
  4. design, testing and reliability

Industry clients, SMEs and research institutes alike will enjoy access to the complete micro- and nanoelectronics value chain from a single source. As the world’s largest pool for smart system technologies and intellectual property rights, the initiative will strengthen German and European competitiveness in the field. The research fab concept was designed jointly by Fraunhofer and Leibniz to combine their respective competences in a pool for technologies. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research has made total funding of EUR 350 million through to 2020 available for the project.

Find out more about the Research Fab on their Fraunhofer website.


acatech – the National Academy of Science and Engineering – represents the interests of the German scientific and technological communities, at home and abroad. It is autonomous, independent and a non-profit organization. As a working academy, acatech supports policy-makers and society, providing qualified technical evaluations and forward looking recommendations.

Moreover, acatech is determined to support knowledge transfer between science and industry, and encourage the next generation of engineers. acatech works to promote sustainable growth through innovation. Its work focuses on four core areas of

  1. scientific recommendations
  2. transfer of expertise
  3. promotion of young scientists and engineers
  4. providing a voice for science and engineering

Find out more about acatech on their website.

Labs Network

The Labs Network Industrie 4.0 e.V. association was founded as a one-stop shop for the coordination of different Industrie 4.0 approaches:

  1. It supports companies in the initiation of Industry 4.0 projects,
  2. pools results from the testbeds and
  3. forwards them to relevant competitive structures

e.g. in the field of standardization and international cooperation. Government policy actions are accompanied by an initiative created by companies and associations from Plattform Industrie 4.0 to provide appropriate information to interested parties in as many industries and manufacturing technology fields as possible.

Find out more about the Labs Network Industrie 4.0 e.V. on their website.

SCI 4.0

The Standardization Council Industrie 4.0 (SCI 4.0) was established in 2016 from Plattform Industrie 4.0. It pursues the goal of initiating digital production standards in Germany and of coordinating these nationally and internationally. The initiative accelerates standardization processes and organizes and shapes the German standardization roadmap Industrie 4.0. The SCI 4.0 also identifies the need for new projects and organizes their international implementation.

Find out more about the SCI 4.0 on their website.

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