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Good Industrial IoT News For Small & Mid-Sized Companies!

Fraunhofer’s Technology Network “it’s OWL” Will Give You An Industry 4.0 Boost

Just recently we shared our vision on the incredible advantages of Industry 4.0, Smart Services and the impressive progress of Fraunhofer’s technology network it’s OWL together with Miele.

Now there are even more good news! The technology network it’s OWL which has the goal to help small and mid-sized businesses to implement and optimise industrial IoT technology (or in other words Industry 4.0 technology) into their production processes faster is part of one of the German competence centres “middle-class 4.0” initiated by the German Federal Minister of Economics Sigmar Gabriel.

The NRW (Nordrhein-Westfalen) centre will be realised using the locations OWL (Ostwestfalen-Lippe), Dortmund and Aachen and will receive €7.4 million of funding from the German government.

Besides this project there are four more which are quite similar and are located in Berlin/ Brandenburg, Hessen, Niedersachsen and Rheinland Pfalz.

The real news though is that this is great for mid-sized companies. With the new funding the it’s OWL project will be able to explore new research and technologies addressing the digitalisation of production processes specifically for small and mid-sized businesses according to Günter Korder, manager at it´s OWL.

The cooperation with Dortmund and Aachen will add great value to the network. While the Fraunhofer  Application Center Industrial Automation  (IOSB-INA) in Lemgo is a leader in mechatronics, human-machine-interaction and industrial automation, the now formed alliance will help to add know-how in the areas of logistics and production technologies, as Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jürgen Jasperneite from the Fraunhofer IOSB-INA explains.

There will be three hubs established in the three different regions which have their own thematic focus and form the new competence centre “middle-class 4.0 west”. Each hub will be funded with approx. €2.5 million over the next three years.

The “Hub OWL” will focus on intelligent automation of products and production processes. Involved in this hub are the Fraunhofer IOSB-INA, the Fraunhofer project group for mechatronic design tools, the universities of Paderborn and Bielefeld as well as the Institute Industrial IT (inIT) of the Ostwestfalen-Lippe University of Applied Sciences.

The “Hub Metropole Ruhr” will work on efficient, autonomous and convertible logistic systems. The “Hub Rheinland” will support the project with expertise in production technology.

All research areas will be adapted to mid-sized business cases and all information will be used to educate and qualify companies (e.g. through trainings and workshops). In addition they will receive support when developing strategies and during the implementation of new technologies. In transfer centres like the SmartFactoryOWL it is also possible to test new technologies.

Sounds like implementing Industry 4.0 technology might get easier and more affordable for a lot of companies over the next years! We’ll keep you up to date in this blog.

Cover image: it’s OWL (source: