Fraunhofer IFF in Saxony-Anhalt
Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation IFF
1990 to 1991: Fraunhofer Comes to Saxony-Anhalt
Early on when Germany was reunified, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft espoused a policy that envisioned developing an applied research scene with ties to industry in the eastern German states. Its strategy was to build upon already existing entities and to create new ones while allowing for the regional conditions of economic structures.
- Schwermaschinenbaukombinat SKET’s booth in Hall 7 of the 1983 Leipzig Spring Trade Fair.
© Thomas Lehmann, Deutsches Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-1983-0316-104, CC-BY-SA
The presence of an established research center, FER Ingenieurgesellschaft für Automatisierung GmbH Magdeburg, as well as Otto von Guericke Technical University with its influential school of mechanical engineering predestined Magdeburg, a center of heavy machinery and plant manufacturing, for Fraunhofer Institute geared toward production engineering.
Prof. Eberhard Gottschalk is a well-known researcher and professor in the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. Dr. Hieckmann, Director of FER, and, Prof. Thessmer, President of Otto von Guericke Technical University, and he jointly formulated a sustainable concept for the development of a Fraunhofer Institute located in Magdeburg.
In 1991, Prof. Gottschalk successfully presented the working group's concept to the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft.
1992 to 1996: The Fraunhofer IFF Establishes Itself in the Research Scene
The successful presentation of the concept resulted in the establishment of the Fraunhofer Institution for Factory Operation and Automation IFF in Magdeburg on January 1, 1992. Under Prof. Gottschalk's leadership, the institution, initially with a time limit, commenced its work.
The time limit – originally until June 30, 1994 – is lifted ahead of schedule in 1993. The Fraunhofer Institution becomes the autonomous Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation IFF.
Prof. Gottschalk transferred the management of the young institute to Prof. Hermann Kühnle, Executive Director, and Prof. Michael Schenk, Director, in 1994.
The Fraunhofer IFF's Departments of Information, Logistics and Automation Systems expanded between 2000 and 2001 to several locations in Magdeburg (Rogätzer Strasse, Listemannstrasse und Breitscheidstrase) and in Braunschweig (Hermann-Blenk-Strasse).
2002 to 2006: Magdeburg Grows as a Center of Research – the VDTC Opens
The Fraunhofer IFF celebrated its ten year anniversary in 2002.
Ground had not yet been broken for the Virtual Development and Training Centre VDTC before the researchers were earning international accolades for their work. The received the European Commission's important European Regional Innovation Award for their model project VDTC-ProDiMA. The jury recognized the exemplary transfer of the latest research findings to small and medium-sized enterprises in the region.
Ground for the Virtual Development and Training Centre VDTC was broken on November 15, 2004 by Dr. Horst Rehberger, Saxony-Anhalt Minister of Economics and Labor, Prof. Michael Schenk, Director of the Fraunhofer IFF, Dr. Lutz Trümper, Mayor of Magdeburg, and Dr. Joachim Welz, Head of the Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs' Department of Academia, Institutions of Higher Education and Research.
In 2006, the newly opened Virtual Development and Training Centre VDTC was a "Landmark" in the campaign "Germany – Land of Ideas".
In addition to the main Fraunhofer IFF building at Sandtorstrasse 22., the Virtual Development and Training Centre VDTC at Joseph-von-Fraunhofer-Strasse 1 brings a plot of 8,975 m². The researchers at the VDTC have 2.755 m² of office and laboratory space. The heart of the addition to the institute is the Elbe Dom, a 360 degree laser projection system.
2007 to 2011
The Fraunhofer IFF celebrated its fifteen year anniversary in 2007.
In 2009, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft celebrated its founding in Munich sixty years earlier on March 26, 1949. Its namesake is the scholar Joseph von Fraunhofer (1787–1826), a native of Munich who enjoyed equal success as a researcher, inventor and entrepreneur.
The Fraunhofer IFF has collaborated with business, research, academic and government partners in Asia for over a decade. Our Asian partners are interested in our expertise in logistics, renewable energies and sustainability management. Magdeburg's Fraunhofer Institute intensified these activities and opened a branch office in Bangkok, Thailand, managed by Ralf Opierzynski, on August 25, 2009.
The Saxony-Anhalt Galileo Test Bed's development laboratory was opened at Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg on March 10, 2010. It is the only laboratory in Germany for the development of positioning, navigation and communication systems for transportation and logistics. In the future, state-of-the-art satellite applications for the transportation and logistics industries and mass transit as well as telematic and radio communication systems will be tested and refined here. Otto von Guericke University's regional partners in teh test bed’s operation include the Fraunhofer IFF, the Institut für Automation und Kommunikation ifak, the Hallesche Verkehrs-AG HAVAG, the city of Magdeburg and Magdeburger Hafen GmbH.
Staff involved in the Fraunhofer IFF's joint projects ViERforES and the staff from Otto von Guericke University's Center for Digital Engineering jointly created the Master's program in digital engineering. Students with a Bachelor's in engineering or computer science were able to start applying to this program for summer semester of 2011. They learn to develop, engineer and operate complex technical products and systems by means of virtual and augmented reality.
The Fraunhofer IFF is celebrating its twentieth anniversary in 2012.