New inquisitive mind for digital product development

Neuer Forschergeist für digitale Produktentstehung
Foto: Ludmilla Parsyak © Fraunhofer IAO

The institute’s management team consists of Prof. Dieter Spath, Prof. Oliver Riedel, Prof. Anette Weisbecker and Prof. Wilhelm Bauer (from left to right).

Prof. Oliver Riedel joins management team at Fraunhofer IAO

Fraunhofer IAO has expanded its management team to include Prof. Oliver Riedel. Focusing on research into digital product development, he brings 25 years of research and industry experience in digital product creation and product lifecycle management to the existing leadership trio of Prof. Wilhelm Bauer, Prof. Dieter Spath and Prof. Anette Weisbecker.

Ever since doing his doctoral studies at the University of Stuttgart, Oliver Riedel has been intrigued by the possibility of conducting research across departmental boundaries. That’s why, in 2016 – after 18 years in the automotive and IT industry – he returned to his old university and took over as joint Head of the Institute for Control Engineering of Machine Tools and Manufacturing Units (ISW) with Prof. Verl. He also became holder of the newly established IT for Production chair. At the same time, he began working at Fraunhofer IAO, bolstering its research in digital product development. This dual function allowed Riedel to couple the computer-assisted methods in product development with those in production planning and control to create a unique combination.

Interdisciplinary research fosters consistent digital product development

”I’ve long been aware of the great need for companies to speed up their product development and permanently lower their engineering costs. With its outstanding research teams and facilities, I have an enormous opportunity here at Fraunhofer IAO to advance completely new concepts for interaction between humans and digitalized product models,” Riedel says. Changes in real objects and processes could be managed in real time with a digital twin – a virtual mirror image of a software solution. In the “Future Work Lab” and the “Digital Engineering Lab,” Riedel plans to advance research relating to IT in product development, production planning and production control, including implementing Industrie 4.0 principles, all with a focus on practical application. His many years of experience in the automotive industry will serve him well in this endeavor. At the ISW, he is investigating the connectivity and digitalization of production, and hardware/software co-simulation for designing means of production, supporting virtual commissioning and as a real-time simulation of production facilities for monitoring and preliminary evaluation of production processes. Riedel also conducts research into closed digital process chains for product and process development with the goal of enabling software defined manufacturing for maximum flexibility in production facilities.

Oliver Riedel combines an inquisitive mind and management experience

As the new member of the institute’s management team, Prof. Riedel brings an inquisitive mind and management experience to the existing leadership trio. With Riedel’s expertise in matters that are quite pressing for the automotive industry, such as digital product development, mobility concepts and production systems, Fraunhofer IAO is now ideally positioned to address the many-faceted issues surrounding the digital transformation of the worlds of work and mobility.

Personal portrait

Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Oliver Riedel
Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Oliver Riedel

Prof. Oliver Riedel has been investigating the fundamentals and the practical application of virtual protection methods in product development and production for more than 25 years. He studied engineering cybernetics at the University of Stuttgart, where he also did his doctoral studies in the Faculty of Design and Production Technology. He subsequently headed numerous projects to introduce virtual methods in major international automotive companies and in the energy sector. After working at Fraunhofer IAO, he took on management positions at CENIT AG Systemhaus and Silicon Graphics Inc. in the area of professional services for virtual product development. He subsequently joined AUDI AG, where he was responsible for process integration and for information management in the product process before moving on to the Volkswagen Group in 2010 as director of information technology and product process integration. In 2012, he assumed responsibility for managing the planning processes and coordinating production-related IT at AUDI AG. Prof. Riedel has been Head of the Institute for Control Engineering of Machine Tools and Manufacturing Units (ISW) at the University of Stuttgart and holder of the IT for Production chair since November 2016. At the same time, he returned to Fraunhofer IAO as a member of the steering committee. He has now been appointed to the institute’s management team.

Further information


Institute’s management team


Oliver Riedel

Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Oliver Riedel is since 1.6.2018 Director of Fraunhofer IAO.