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  • Joachim Lentes
    Joachim Lentes

    Digital Engineering

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    Fraunhofer IAO
    Nobelstraße 12
    70569 Stuttgart, Germany

    • Phone +49 711 970-2285
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Key focus on the challenges of digitalization for industrial enterprises

Fraunhofer IAO and the Chinese State Key Lab for Intelligent Manufacturing Systems Technology will be working together in the future on key topics including virtual product development and smart factories. The two research institutes signed a cooperation agreement at the 8th Chinese-German Forum for Economic and Technological Cooperation.

Digitalization is radically changing the business landscape in both Germany and China, though the underlying conditions and manifestations of this change are different in each case. Fraunhofer IAO and the Chinese State Key Lab for Intelligent Manufacturing Systems Technology have announced a deal to work together on the challenges of digitalization for industrial companies and investigate how to fully exploit the potential it offers. The two partners signed a cooperation agreement at the 8th Chinese-German Forum for Economic and Technological Cooperation.

The forum was inaugurated by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. Following a podium discussion between representatives of major industrial concerns and the two heads of state, 48 selected projects and cooperation agreements were signed in a special ceremony.

Digitalization in the context of virtual product development and smart factories

The two partners will initially work together on the topics of virtual product development and smart factories. In the long term, this cooperation could extend to cloud computing and service engineering, to name just two examples.

In the context of virtual product development, the researchers will be examining the digitalization of the entire process from the concept for a product right through to its production. The joint project will seek to develop a number of areas including product conceptual design and construction, production, assembly and factory planning with digital tools, and virtual and augmented reality.

The design and implementation of smart factories is a key aspect of Germany’s industry 4.0 strategy and plays an equally important role in the Chinese “Made in China 2025” initiative. To kick off the cooperation project, researchers will be examining issues such as smart production and assembly, with a key focus on the role played by humans as workers. Each of the partners will develop new approaches, methods and tools, taking into account the differences and similarities of characteristics on the German and Chinese sides.

Long-term commitment to China

Fraunhofer IAO’s cooperation with the State Key Lab for Intelligent Manufacturing Systems further strengthens its long-term ties with China. The institute carried out its first projects for industrial enterprises in China back in the 1980s. Fraunhofer IAO has also been involved for many years in a double degree program in technology management, which is offered by the Institute of Human Factors and Technology Management IAT at the University of Stuttgart – a key partner of Fraunhofer IAO – in collaboration with Hangzhou Dianzi University. This long-standing involvement in China enables Fraunhofer IAO to better address the needs of its corporate customers and project partners in a globalized world while simultaneously focusing on China’s importance for the German economy.

Further information

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