Wednesday, 20. March 2013 20.03.13 09:18 Age: 5 Jahre

it's OWL – There’s Always a Next Game
A Leading Cluster Steps up Production

it's OWL - Cluster partners in the region (source: © OstWestfalenLippe GmbH)

it's OWL – Intelligent Technical Systems East Westphalia-Lippe – is the catchphrase that will be shaping the region in the years to come. 127 local companies, 6 universities, 10 university-related competence centers and 30 business-oriented organizations from the mechanical engineering field, the electrical/electronics industries, and the automotive supply industry have joined forces with the goal of reaching a leading position in information and communications technology in the global market in the next five years. it's OWL stands for a high concentration of strong partners from the industry and research. As the only cluster in production sector, it immediately convinced the German federal government – and was granted 40 million euro for the development of new technologies.

The goal is to further develop mechatronics into systems with inherent intelligence,, adaptive and robust, foresighted and user-friendly: Intelligent technical systems react to changing conditions in their environment on-the-fly and adapt to them independently. They deal with unexpected situations and, with knowledge from previous experiences, can identify risks early and develop strategies to handle these risks. While doing this, they factor in specific user behavior. In addition, they network themselves dynamically with other systems, forming what are called "cyber-physical systems" to handle highly-complicated tasks together.

It’s OWL has planned a lot for the next five years: In five major cross-sectional projects the cluster partners are teaming up to develop fundamental technologies in the fields of self-optimization, human-computer interaction, intelligent networks, energy efficiency and systems engineering, thereby establishing a basis for innovations and technology transfer. In 34 further outstanding innovative projects, the industry and university partners are continuously working together. Eight sophisticated measures secure the sustainability of these projects.

Several research institutes in Paderborn will be participating in the developments and contributing to the innovations: the Mechatronics Design Engineering project team at the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology (IPT); the Advanced System Engineering Department at the Fraunhofer Institute for Electronic Nano Systems (ENAS); and the University of Paderborn with the Heinz Nixdorf Institute (HNI), Direct Manufacturing Research Center (DMRC) and Electrical Engineering Department with its fields of power electronics, electrical drive engineering, and sensor technology. The Paderborn Department of Computer Science is also present, represented by C-LAB and s-lab, and by Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Schäfer and Dr. Matthias Meyer with their Department of Software Engineering in the Fraunhofer Project Group Mechatronic Systems Design.

One of the challenges facing a leading cluster is the communication between the numerous participants from the industry and research. Under the conceptual and strategic leadership of Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jürgen Gausemeier from the Heinz Nixdorf Institute and with the support from the University of Paderborn in cluster management, the many various ideas, innovations and plans are being united.

After success, there’s always a next game – the first research proposals are being submitted to the German federal government. The projects are planned to start in July, the cross-sectional projects with the highest priority. The first major milestone is expected to be reached in two years: The first prototypes have to be present and will be reassessed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

it's OWL has big plans for the future: Attracting more top researchers into the region, securing 80,000 jobs and creating 10,000 new jobs – reaching a portion of these goals during the 5-year project term. 50 innovative start-up companies are envisioned plus 5 new research institutes. In the region, the plans are to employ 500 further scientists and set up 4 respective courses of studies with 500 students per year.

This will strengthen and secure the region’s leading international position, and more attractive plans are being made for the future.


Dr. Matthias Meyer
Department Head Software Technology
Project Group Mechatronics Design Engineering
Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT
Zukunftsmeile 1
33102 Paderborn
Tel: 05251 5465-122

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