it's OWL – Intelligent Technical Systems OstWestfalenLippe

In the technology network “it's OWL – Intelligent Technical Systems OstWestfalenLippe,” around 200 companies and research institutions are jointly developing solutions for intelligent products and production processes across 47 projects. it's OWL is one of the largest Industrie 4.0 initiatives and was recognized in the Leading-Edge Cluster Competition of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The Fraunhofer IEM is involved in many of the projects as a research partner, for example in the Systems Engineering and Work 4.0 projects. In addition, the Fraunhofer IEM advises the cluster management on the content-related and strategic direction of the cluster.

Dual strategy for industry 4.0 in practice

The region of Ostwestfalen-Lippe is aiming to be a lead supplier and lead market for industry 4.0. In particular, the world market leaders in automation and drive technology are developing practical solutions for industry 4.0 that are easy to integrate and deliver significant improvements. The Fraunhofer IEM works with companies to help them integrate new technologies into their systems in order to develop Industrie 4.0 solutions. Examples of this are self-optimizing punching-bending processes, resource-saving large-scale wash houses or intelligent separators.

Effective technology transfer to small and medium-sized enterprises

In transfer projects, companies can use new technologies from the leading-edge cluster to meet specific operational challenges in cooperation with a research institution. Areas of application include intuitive user interfaces, networking of machines, intelligent control processes and improved energy management. A total of 170 transfer projects are being implemented, 73 have already been successfully completed. The projects have been met with a very positive response and feedback from the companies. For many, a transfer project is their entry point into industry 4.0. The Fraunhofer IEM developed and implemented the transfer concept and is responsible for managing the ongoing transfer projects.

Approaches for the future of work

The impact that industry 4.0 will have on the world of work is also an important topic. With this in mind, model projects were launched at six companies in which top management, production management, the HR department, employees, the works council and trade unions work together. The companies involved are Hettich, Miele, Phoenix Contact, Weidmüller and Wincor Nixdorf. In terms of content, the model projects are looking, for example, at the use of assistance systems, interactive robotics and technology acceptance. In addition to production, changes are also taking place in the area of development, which the Fraunhofer IEM is exploring.

Catalyst for regional development

it's OWL is providing a major boost to the competitiveness of the manufacturing sector in the region of Ostwestfalen-Lippe, thereby safeguarding value creation and employment. One indicator of the region’s innovative capacity is the establishment of six new research institutions. The founding of the Fraunhofer IEM as the first non-university research institution in OWL is an important milestone for the region. The region’s universities are also gaining a strong reputation for their focus on intelligent technical systems. For example, in the STEM field, student enrollment in the field has increased by 50% in the last 5 years and 29 new degree programs have been created. The profile of OWL as a technological powerhouse continues to grow. The region is becoming more appealing to specialists and managers.


Roman Dumitrescu

Contact Press / Media

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Roman Dumitrescu

Director of the Product Development research area

Fraunhofer Institute for Mechatronic Systems Design IEM
Zukunftsmeile 1
33102 Paderborn

Phone +49 5251 5465-269