Key areas

© Fraunhofer IPA, Rainer Bez

The machinery and equipment industry is Germany’s largest employer with medium-sized structures and has a leading power to innovate. For over 50 years, Fraunhofer IPA has been collaborating with companies from the industry.

The business unit “Machinery and Equipment Industry” at Fraunhofer IPA comprises a business unit manager and an almost 20-strong core team, which bundles the expertise of Fraunhofer IPA for our customers. In the business unit, project teams are tailored to customer requirements and contain specialists from the various technical areas of Fraunhofer IPA.

The business unit focuses on the following areas:

  • Factory and manufacturing management: Fraunhofer IPA assists companies from the machinery and equipment sector with factory, production planning and technology projects related to manufacturing, order management and IT.
  • Manufacturing engineering and automation: to develop innovative machinery and integrate it into a production plant, Fraunhofer IPA offers solutions ranging from prototypes right through to complete production systems.
  • Process development: Fraunhofer IPA develops new, custom processes for machines, equipment and components, or optimizes existing systems.
  • Digitization and personalization: these days, mechanical engineers are being put under more and more pressure to trim manufacturing systems to produce single components. Digitization is one of the most important tools used to achieve this target. Besides modifying production processes, Fraunhofer IPA develops the necessary IT architecture and application solutions for a secure cloud IT.  

The industry is faced with challenges such as high market dynamics, new technologies and an increasing scarcity of resources. We view four strategic development areas paving the way for a “smart factory”:

  • Developing new manufacturing technologies means creating new materials, exploiting automation potential and automating new applications. Production facilities and workers are increasingly being aided by technical assistive systems.
  • Thanks to Industrie 4.0, manufacturing systems are becoming more intelligent and products and their production processes optimized. This calls for new IT architectures and services, as well as new organizational methods and processes. Through the networking of physical and digital production processes, as well as the comprehensive (IT) integration of the value chain, the vision of Industrie 4.0 is becoming reality.
  • Production can become resource-efficient through the systematic management of energy and materials. This not only cuts costs but also improves performance.
  • Adaptability is needed wherever a high degree of market flexibility is required. With adaptable factories, modular manufacturing systems and modular IT architectures, companies can launch their product developments onto the market faster.  

The business unit “Machinery and Equipment Industry” offers custom solutions to promote the modernization of production facilities.