Mechatronics is a kind of paradigm and can therefore be used as an umbrella term for all sectors whose products involve efficient interplay between mechanics, electronics and software. This now includes many traditional and future-orientated sectors such as automotive engineering, machine tool building, the electrical and electronics industry, medical and environmental technology, and aerospace. Many key industrial branches in Bavaria are therefore potential customers, employing around 50 per cent of all those working in industry in the state. The market for mechatronics companies in Bavaria is huge.
As well as the market opportunities, Bavaria's excellent research environment with its many Fraunhofer and DLR institutes, a well-appointed sensor technology sector and its large numbers of outstandingly educated mechatronics specialists all speak for Bavaria as a location. There are also competence centres and business incubators such as the "gate" technology centre and business incubator in Garching, near Munich, which offers support and services to new companies in establishing international relations, as well as attractive premises. The perfect start for a business to take flight.
A research environment has been developed in Bavaria, with many universities and institutes in which research relevant to mechatronics is conducted.
As well as universities and universities of applied sciences such as the Technische Universität München, this research environment includes renowned institutions such as the Micromechatronics Centre (MMZ) at the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration IZM, and the Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Oberpfaffenhofen. There are also many institutes covering sub-fields of mechatronics, such as the Institute of Software & Systems Engineering (ISSE) at the University of Augsburg; the “fortiss” research facility as an independent institute at the TUM, which prepares the transfer of research and technology into software-intensive systems and services; Institute for Power Electronic Systems (ELSYS) at the Georg Simon Ohm University of Applied Sciences in Nuremberg and the Institute for Factory Automation and Production Systems (FAPS) at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg.
Bavaria's Mechatronics and Automation cluster supports companies from all sectors in conception, development and production in almost all fields of mechatronics, ensuring that expertise is transferred quickly from research to business. Because mechatronics involves interaction between various disciplines in almost every technical sector, the cluster sees itself as a cross-sector cluster. The cluster also maintains its own section for searching for specialist staff who are either studying for a degree in one of the many courses in Bavaria relevant to mechatronics, or who are doing a professional apprenticeship as part of the dual system. The production locations of Munich and Nuremberg are two regions in which the work of these specialists is concentrated today.
The Mechatronics & Automation cluster provides a network for mechatronics companies orientated towards all of Bavaria. In over 50 projects so far, the members of the cluster have gained new mechatronic expertise which benefits all members, as well as developing new mechatronic products. Members of the cluster benefit from possible synergies and from the cluster's international focus. Among other projects, the network organises the Internationales Forum Mechatronik together with partner networks from Austria and Switzerland. The Bavaria-wide cluster is supplemented by a whole series of regional networks which work together with the cluster. These include the "Automation Valley Nordbayern", the Kompetenznetz Mechatronik & Automation of the Bavarian Lower Main region, and the Kompetenz-Netzwerk Mechatronik in eastern Bavaria. These networks do on a regional level what the cluster does across Bavaria. They provide consultancy, organise the transfer of expertise from research and ensure the success of cooperation. Regionally, in Bavaria, Germany and internationally: For Bavaria's mechatronics companies, it is easy to join networks in a profitable way.