The electrical industry is one of the largest industrial sectors in Germany and has a wide-ranging, very dynamic and innovative portfolio. The largest proportion of total sales is realized with 55% in automation, 23% in the field of building panels and 14% in power engineering. Employing 890,000 people (more than 20% of whom are engineers), the sector is the second largest employer in Germany's processing industry. Thanks to high investments in research and development, seven out of ten companies regularly launch product or process innovations.
The German electrical industry benefits particularly from future trends such as the increasing fusion of production and information technology (Industry 4.0). In order to drive the digitization of production forward, the sector associations of German IT (BITKOM), mechanical engineering (VDMA) and electrical engineering (ZVEI) have come together to set up a platform for the promotion of Industry 4.0.
Bavaria is home to companies from a wide range of different fields of electrical engineering and electronics, such as Infineon Technologies and SEMIKRON in power semiconductors; Rogers Germany (formerly curamik), CeramTec and Kunze Folien in substrate technology; and Siemens in drive technology. Other fields include vehicle electronics from companies such as Robert Bosch, Continental, Liebherr Elektronik and Transtechnik, and the energy storage field in which BMZ is one of many active companies. This segment is benefiting from the growing trend towards connection of things - according to "(Industrial) Internet of Things" and the increasing interest in resource efficiency worldwide.
Five Bavarian universities and fourteen universities of applied sciences are training the next generation of qualified academics in electronics and electrical engineering. The range of programmes on offer is supplemented by a wide range of further training courses from providers such as ECPE, OTTI, Bayern Innovativ, VDE and VDI. As well as high quality teaching, the universities also demonstrate excellent expertise in research for this R&D-intensive sector. Companies in the electrical industry/electronics spent a total of EUR 24.5 billion on research and development in Germany in 2018. This is a sixth of all R&D expenditure in Germany's processing industry.
Bavarian clusters including Power Electronics, Mechatronics and Automation, Sensor Technology and Microsystems Technology bring together actors in the sector from the various specialist areas of electronics and electrical engineering. These are predominantly aimed at small and medium-sized companies and universities of applied sciences, but global players from business and science also enhance the networks.
The aims of the clusters include promoting research activities in Bavaria by networking business and science, supporting Bavarian companies in strategic market development, and bringing forward the next generation of qualified specialist staff. Bavarian employers in metal and electrical work are organised into the sister associations Bayme and vbm.
At a national level, the Zentralverband Elektrotechnik- und Elektronikindustrie e.V. (Central Association of the Electrical Engineering and Electrical Industry, ZVEI) represents the sector's interests. ZVEI has a state office in Bavaria. Exclusively in the field of 5G there has been founded the task force 5G Alliance for Connected Industries and Automation (5G-ACIA). Several members of this working group are located in Bavaria with either their headquarter or an important establishment. Founded in 2003, the industry-led European research network the European Center for Power Electronics e.V. (ECPE) in Nuremberg offers international networking.
Accelerators, incubators and start-up centres have also developed in recent years alongside traditional networks. In the field of electronics & electrical engineering, for example, the start-up centre LINK in Landshut provides support in matters of financing, sponsorship and applications. At the Gründerzentrum Digitalisierung Niederbayern in Deggendorf, start-ups and young entrepreneurs meet established companies in the industry. The Amberg Technology Campus, Stellwerk18 in Rosenheim and TechBase Regensburg also offer links in the field of electrical engineering.
The accelerator FASTTRACK is a support programme that accelerates the implementation of ideas and products of innovative start-ups by offering access to technical expertise, production systems, know-how, international markets and a large customer base. Industrial SMEs Hirschvogel, Hoerbiger and Max Aicher are involved in this.
Trade fairs also allow access to new business contacts and sometimes offer young companies more favourable conditions. These include Embedded World, SMT Connect and PCIM in Nuremberg as well as electronica and productronica in Munich, which offer a support programme for start-ups called Fast Forward. You will find more information on these and other events in our event calendar.