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How are companies in Upper Franconia preparing for the future?
Characterised by one of the highest industrial densities in Europe and a large number of hidden champions, Upper Franconia's economy has proved extremely robust during the economic and financial crisis.
The Fraunhofer Prozessinnovation project group has conducted a study to analyse how Upper Franconian companies can remain successful and competitive in the future. The results of the “Technology Roadmap for Upper Franconia” were presented at the 3rd Upper Franconian Technology Symposium.
The aim of the “Technology Roadmap for Upper Franconia” is to strengthen the innovative power, flexibility and thus the competitiveness of companies in Upper Franconia. To do this, the Fraunhofer project group first determined the starting position for each sector, analysed strengths and weaknesses and identified future opportunities and risks. In connection with mega trends and their specific manifestations, roadmaps were developed to allow decision-makers to forecast the development paths for future products, manufacturing processes and services.
Funded by the Bavarian State Ministry of Economic Affairs and Media, Energy and Technology, the project was officially launched in July 2011 and ran for a period of three years. Close cooperation with the companies of Upper Franconia was essential for the study's success. Over 100 Upper Franconian companies from the five largest sectors of the processing industry were included in the study. The sectors examined were the metal processing industry (incl. mechanical engineering); the plastic processing industry; the glass, ceramic, stone and soil processing industry (incl. furniture production); and the textile processing industry.
Interconnection between business and science is a key element in the study's conclusion. Upper Franconia is in a good position here, for example with the “TechnologieAllianz Oberfranken (TAO)”, which links all universities in the region. TAO brings together regional expertise in teaching and research from academia and business.
The addition of the Fraunhofer Prozessinnovation project group to the Manufacturing and Remanufacturing Technology chair at the University of Bayreuth in 2006 was the starting gun for Fraunhofer's first project in Upper Franconia. The Fraunhofer project group chiefly works for companies in eastern Bavaria and offers them support in fields such as factory planning and simulation, product and production innovation, manufacturing and remanufacturing technology, production optimisation methods, logistics and supply chain management.