Institute and division management

Director

Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Thomas Bauernhansl

  • Director of Fraunhofer IPA
  • Director of Institute of Industrial Manufacturing and Management (IFF) of University of Stuttgart
  • Division director »Networked Production«

Since September 2011, Professor Dr.-Ing. Thomas Bauernhansl is Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA in Stuttgart in Germany. He is also Director of the Institute of Industrial Manufacturing and Management (IFF), which belongs to the University of Stuttgart. His scientific focus is on production organization, factory planning, energy efficient production, surface engineering, automation and process engineering. From October 2012 till January 2015, he was also Director of the Institute for Energy Efficiency in Production EEP at the University of Stuttgart.

Bauernhansl studied mechanical engineering at RWTH Aachen University. After completing his PhD with honors, he embarked on his career with the Freudenberg concern in 2003, advancing to become Director of the Technology Center at Freudenberg Sealing Technologies. His key areas of work included site planning, factory planning, outsourcing, technology management and lean production. Lastly, Bauernhansl was responsible for the regions Europe, North and South America, optimizing the “global footprint” of the production network made up of over 50 production sites.

Bauernhansl is on diverse advisory boards and management committees in industry, associations, research and politics. He is a member of WGP, the German Academic Society for Production Engineering, as well as being a member of the strategy committee of the German government’s “Platform Industrie 4.0” and Vice Chairman of the Steering Committee Alliance Industrie 4.0 BW. He has written and edited numerous books on topics such as adaptability in manufacturing, Industrie 4.0 and production management.

Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dipl.-Kfm. Alexander Sauer

  • Director of Fraunhofer IPA
  • Director of the Institute for Energy Efficiency in Production (EEP) of the University of Stuttgart
  • Division director »Resource-efficient Production«

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Alexander Sauer completed a double degree in mechanical engineering and business administration from RWTH Aachen in 1997, where he also received his doctorate in 2005. After working as a research assistant at the WZL, Sauer joined Hoerbiger Automotive Komfortsysteme GmbH in 2006 as a member of the executive board.

In early 2011, he accepted the call to the Munich University of Applied Sciences as a professor for manufacturing technology. At the beginning of 2015, he was appointed as a professor at the Institute for Energy Efficiency in Production (EEP) of the University of Stuttgart and, in parallel, took on more and more management tasks at Fraunhofer IPA.

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Alexander Sauer is the inventor of the energy efficiency index of the industry, head of the Ultra-efficiency Factory and spokesman for the Kopernikus Project SynErgie, one of the largest scientific projects in the context of the energy transition.

Dr. rer. nat. Michael Hilt MBA

  • Deputy Director of Fraunhofer IPA
  • Division director »Surface Engineering and Materials Technology«
  • Head of department »Coating Systems and Painting Technology«

In October 2016, Dr. rer. nat. Michael Hilt MBA took over as Deputy Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA. The chemist with a doctoral degree is division director “Surface Engineering and Materials Technology“ and is also responsible for the department “Coating Systems and Painting Technology”.

Hilt obtained his doctoral degree in 1988 at the Institute of Polymer Chemistry at the University of Stuttgart and at the Research Institute for Pigments and Coatings (FPL e.V.) in Stuttgart. In the same year, he started his professional career at Daimler-Benz AG as a coating and corrosion specialist. After passing through various manufacturing engineering and materials science departments at Daimler with a focus on coating technology, Hilt returned to FPL in 2009, realigning the Research Society for Pigments and Coatings e.V in his new post as CEO. As part of the re-structuring process, he integrated the institute section of FPL into Fraunhofer IPA to create the “Coatings and Pigments” department. In 2012, a merger led to the birth of the “Coating Systems and Painting Technology” department, which Hilt has been running ever since. He is also General Manager of the Research Society for Pigments and Coatings e.V.

Hilt is an active member of numerous research societies and associations. He is currently chairman of the GDCh expert committee “Coatings Chemistry” and on the management board of GDCh e.V. (German Chemists Society). Since 2015, he is President of FATIPEC (Federation of Associations of Technicians for Industry of Paints in European Countries). He is also an expert in the polymer chemistry group at AiF (German Federation of Industrial Research Associations “Otto von Guericke” e.V.)

Commercial Management

Dipl.-Wi.-Ing. Volker Kübler

Volker Kübler joined the Fraunhofer IPA in 2017 as Commercial Director heading IPA’s Commercial Division with the two departments “Administration/Central Technology” and “Business Development”.

Graduating from the University of Karlsruhe with a diploma as industrial engineer Volker Kübler started his  professional career in the management consultancy division of DZ Bank and continued at  RölfsPartner Management Consultants (now Baker Tilly Unternehmensberatung), both located in Frankfurt am Main. 

Volker Kübler spent the following eleven years in various management positions at the Freudenberg Group in Weinheim, as Senior Manager M&A, as Director Corporate Restructuring and the most time as CFO of the subgroup Freudenberg Service.

He is specialized in performance-driven corporate management, restructuring, M&A and strategic realignment.

 

Divisional management

Dr.-Ing. Udo Gommel

Dr.-Ing. Udo Gommel is division director »Intelligent Automation and Clean manufacturing« and head of department »Ultraclean technology and micromanufacturing«.

Dr.-Ing. Marco Schneider

Dr.-Ing. Marco Schneider is division director »Manufacturing and Process Engineering». He is deputy head of business unit "Machinery and Equipment Industry» and head of department »Lightweight construction technologies«.

Dr. med. Urs Schneider

Dr. med. Urs Schneider is division director »Medical Engineering and Biotechnology«. He is deputy head of business unit »Medical Engineering and Biotechnology« and head of department »Biomechatronic Systems«.