Southwest Germany – including the region in and around Saarland and Rhineland-Palatinate – is characterized by strong industrial production. In no other Region, the percentage of industrial jobs in the automotive industry, mechanical and plant engineering, steel production and machining is so high. While large companies, like car manufacturers and their suppliers, have already put themselves in a good position for the necessary digitization, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and craft enterprises are in danger of being left behind unless the necessary support is provided by demand-oriented digitization. In order to enable these companies to keep up with the developments and requirements of the market regarding networking and digitization and also for the reason to secure their competitiveness, additional digital competencies are needed.
However, there is often no know-how as to where, in which case and how digitisation and industrial 4.0 technologies can be used economically. In order to support specifically affected companies in the region, it is necessary to have a central contact and key personnel who can assist in the conception and practical transfer of new digitization concepts. For this purpose, the new “Mittelstand 4.0” Competence CenterSaarbrücken was launched on 1 September 2017 as a part of the BMWi’s funding initiative “Mittelstand 4.0 – DigitaleProduktions- und Arbeitsprozesse”.
The aim of the Mittelstand 4.0 Competence Center Saarbrücken is to build up the digitization capability in SMEs and craft enterprises and consequently strengthen the regional economic structure and competitiveness. Existing competencies in production and information technology from the Saarland research environment are bundled and offered for operational use in cooperation with transfer partners. Innovative, cross-value chain potentials for digitization and digital services are presented in the labs of the competence center as well as transferred and implemented in the companies.
Employees from different business areas will find competent contacts for problems along the value chain as well as specialized training measures for their problems in context of digitization. In order to offer an extended social exchange of experience in dealing with new digital technologies and to support their introduction, informing and raising awareness is one of the pillars in the activities of the competence centre. In addition, many associated partners, business associations, employee representatives and chambers are involved and the exchange of all audiences is specifically promoted through innovative event formats such as Co-Working Spaces.
The Mittelstand 4.0 Competence Center Saarbrücken offers a wide range of services that are geared to the industry 4.0 maturity level of companies and the digital affinity of their employees. The offers are designed for both companies which are just entering the field and the companies with proven expertise in industry 4.0. Both cross-industry and industry-specific offers will be available. These include:
- Central consultation hours and personal support
- Informative and awareness-raising events on the potential of digitization and the possibilities of its use.
- Lecture Series – Basics of Industry 4.0 SMEs and Craft Industries
- In-depth qualification events for specialists and experts
- Workshops on digital business model development and profitability assessment
- Direct exchange of experience between companies within the framework of networking events, mentoring and co-working events
- A visit and demonstration of the Open Lab and the Mittelstand 4.0 Competence Center for state-of-the-art technology tests, staff qualification and inspiration.
- Implementation of flagship projects in regional companies as pioneering examples
- Knowledge transfer of best practices and state-of-the-art research to companies
If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch with our contact person.
At the Mittelstand 4.0 Competence Center, the AWS Institute is primarily responsible for the digital offerings of the center. This includes, for example, digital qualification offers, such as webinars, the development of the digital company networking platform, the annual technology report and the digital self-service offers of the centre. The last-mentioned allow companies to determine their own digitization level through online assistance systems and to uncover existing needs both for their employees and the company. In addition to the digital determination of needs, the AWSi also manages the determination of local needs of regional companies and the orientation of the demonstration and qualification offers according to the needs.
Another focus of AWSi’s work is digital business model innovation for SMEs and craft businesses. For this purpose, we provide holistic support for companies from the conceptual design of innovative ideas to the implementation of the goal-oriented re-orientation of their business models. The companies are specifically examined for the applicability of the diverse, new paradigms of business model innovation. Examples of this are, the servicification of product marketing, the creation of new product-service systems or the holistic IT-based cross-value chain networking.
The AWSi shows precisely this potential of corporate digitization through its demonstrator landscape. In scenarios such as, predictive analytics of water pumps, virtual remote maintenance or inspection using digital reality solutions or virtual product design. For this purpose, AWSi is significantly involved in the design of the Open Lab and the mobile demonstrators of the Mittelstand 4.0 Competence Center Saarbrücken.
In addition to the AWSi mentoring programs, AWSi also carries out two regional flagship projects that are currently still open for companies to apply for. In this projects, the latest technologies and industry 4.0 concepts will be piloted in companies and accompanied to their practical application.
Excerpt of the addressed topics by the AWSi in the Mittelstand 4.0 Competence Center:
- Digital business model development in SMEs and crafts businesses
- Industry 4.0 – Technology scouting in business practice
- Data integration and cyberphysical systems
- Product Service Systems and networking
- Data &Predictive Analytics in production
- Servicing and 3D printing
The Mittelstand 4.0 Competence Center Saarbrücken project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
The Mittelstand 4.0 Competence Center Saarbrücken project is funded by Mittelstand – Digital.