Digital in NRW: Competence for SMEs



Dipl.-Betriebsw. Kerstin Hartmann

Marketing & Public Relations of Digital in NRW Location Rhineland


+49 241 80 26992



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Since the beginning of 2016, "Digital in NRW - Competence for SMEs" has been successfully supported medium-sized companies on the subject of digitalization. The Federal Ministry of Economics - BMWi - has approved an extension of the competence center, which is part of the funding initiative "Mittelstand 4.0 - Digital Production and Work Processes", until 2020.

The digitalization experts will thus receive funding for a further two years. Events, workshops, project implementations and lab tours can be organised in accordance with The first phase of funding will be seamlessly continued at the end of 2018.

„The extension of our funding by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, not only enables us to continue working, but also to develop exciting new formats, and innovative topics. We are pleased that our work in the project has been honoured in this way. and thus trust us for the future. “

Prof. Robert Schmitt, Director at the Laboratory for Machine Tools and Production Engineering (WZL) of RWTH Aachen University

Under the direction of its Chair of Production Metrology and Quality Management at the WZL of RWTH Aachen University, the Competence Center Digital in NRW, together with its partners, has been offering SMEs in the region a competent contact point for the digitalization and networking of their products, production and processes as well as for the development of new business fields in industry 4.0 for four years. It supports the transfer of technology to SMEs along the industrial value chain. The WZL provides an excellently developed infrastructure in the form of excellent scientific capacities, demonstration and experimental environments.

Since its launch in 2016, the project has held more than 550 business talks and organized around 280 specialist events in demo centers and at companies. Digital in NRW was represented at over 300 events with information presentations and exhibits and is now working with a network of over 60 cooperation partners. In the first funding phase, companies developed concrete solutions in 30 transfer and implementation projects. The WZL and the project partners initially support the companies in creating a manageable timetable for the major topic of industry 4.0. The first step was to create a clear timetable for the project. The first steps will then be implemented. For example, the polishing wheel factory Gustav Adolf Späth e. K. worked together with the WZL on the requirement-compliant collection of its operating data with sensor technology and at the MVG-Metallverarbeitungsgesellschaft mbH a continuous, order-accompanying, digitalized data collection was implemented with the aim of paperless production.

Through the digitalization of the order processing process at My Junior GmbH, the now realized delivery time forecast contributes to a more efficient internal company processes. In the project with the company Eifelbrennholz e.K. the development of a robot-supported solution for the palletizing of firewood in order to increase of sales in the focus. Together with Übermorgen Innovations GmbH, the WZL developed an architectural concept and the implementation of an Internet of Things (IOT) connection for industrial terminals. The WZL supports many more companies in the implementation of projects, among others:

  • Ortlinghaus-Werke GmbH - digitally networked assembly line
  • GIFAS ELECTRIC GmbH - man-machine collaboration - support system for the manual assembly of complex power distribution systems
  • ProCom GmbH - Development of a system for the creation of RAMI-compliant information models
  • accurapuls GmbH - cross-linked mechanical surface hammering
  • RNA GmbH - automated order tracking for small load carriers
  • Schiele Maschinenbau GmbH - digitally supported production organization - development of an industry 4.0 roadmap

During the two-year funding period, innovative topics of digitization are notified: Medium-sized companies can participate in the next two years of workshops, expert groups and lab tours on Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning or Blockchain profit. Proven formats from Digital in NRW will continue to be offered. A comprehensive cross-section of the free offer and concrete results and successes from ongoing implementation and transfer projects is demonstrated by the Competence Center on the website.

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Digital in NRW - Digitisation for small and medium-sized businesses in the Smart Automation Lab of RWTH Aachen University