About the Fraunhofer IFF


As a technology and research partner, we assist businesses that want to make Industrie 4.0 reality and play a role in this turning point toward digitalization and automation. We have made it our mission to contribute to sustainable development with our research, in the sense of ecologically intact, economically successful and socially equitable development.

© Fraunhofer IFF, Viktoria Kühne
Prof. Julia C. Arlinghaus, Institutsleiterin

Cutting-Edge Technology for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses

Our teams of research scientists have been researching such cutting-edge issues as the energy transition, climate change, augmented and virtual reality, safe robot use, digital twins, and artificial intelligence for many years and thus long before they caught on widely. Our clients come to us today to prepare themselves for future challenges and to develop efficient, humane and sustainable solutions together with us. We use custom and scalable technologies to bring businesses, whether they be major corporations or SMBs, on board wherever they are on their path to Industrie 4.0. We jointly analyze existing structures, find the right technology, develop the right software, and combine everything in integrated, intelligent solutions. This is how we make cutting-edge technology available to SMBs too.

In the process, we look at technologies and processes through our clients’ eyes and envision development ten or more years in advance. Our broad expertise in hardware is the foundation of our exceptional software and digitalization solutions. We analyze the entire product life cycle from ideation through development and maintenance processes down to the end of a product's life and recycling. Our technology sectors complement each other optimally and change dynamically with market demands.

We create value together in businesses and for regions rapidly, flexibly and always with an eye on the return on investment. Technology may be a means to an end for our clients. For us, it is our passion.


Implementing Research Faster

A new building under construction in Magdeburg’s Port of Science right on the Elbe will form a whole with the Fraunhofer IFF’s existing facility. As in the factory of the future, the boundaries between digital sectors and the sectors in which we work on and experiment with hardware will melt away there.

Industrie 4.0 will become reality there because we will be pooling expertise, developing cutting-edge technologies together with partners from universities, businesses and start-ups, and rapidly putting them into practice.

We will be working on every issue surrounding efficiency and flexibility in manufacturing. How can integrated sensors make machines even more efficient? How can robots perform complex and dynamic jobs right next to and hand in hand with humans? We will also be researching how we can generate digital twins in the future so inexpensively and linked with live events in a factory that even SMBs will be able to manufacture faster, more cost-effectively and with assured quality. How can we make the vision of maintenance-free manufacturing reality? We will repeatedly have to reenvision manufacturing and logistics in the future. We are able to do that because we build upon over twenty-five years of experience and extensive knowledge about the real causal relationships in factories.

We no longer treat resource and energy efficiency separately. The energy supply of the future will have to be economical and eco-friendly. We will be working on that in our factory of the future too – on new storage technologies, new hydrogen production technologies and new efficient energy supply technologies, and on the structure of distributed and intelligent energy systems.

We will be jointly envisioning and designing new energy and logistics systems together and exploring energy-centered planning and control systems too. Digital twins, the latest sensor systems, artificial intelligence and cognitive adaptive work systems will help make the control of the factory of the future completely different.

Boosting Competitiveness and Bolstering the Region

Industrie 4.0’s tremendous potentials for productivity and costs have not caught on widely in businesses yet. Growing globalized competition, custom products, customer demand that never materializes or is volatile, demographic change and skilled labor shortages are some of the challenges businesses are having to face. This is being compounded by competition from entirely different sectors with new business models that cut into their own business digitally savvy or simply render them obsolete by disruptive innovations.

We are meeting these challenges by developing solutions that boost flexibility and efficiency in industrial manufacturing, thus bolstering the value producing regions of Germany and Saxony-Anhalt.

Business Units

Our Business Units at a Glance.

Institute Management

Director: Prof. Julia C. Arlinghaus

Numbers, Data and Facts

The Fraunhofer IFF in Figures.

Research Network

Advisory Board

The advisory board support the institutes' management and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft's executive board in an advisory capacity.