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Thüringer Clustermanagement (ThCM)

Landesentwicklungs­gesellschaft Thüringen mbH (LEG Thüringen)

Mainzerhofstraße 12
99084 Erfurt
Telefon: +49 (0) 361 5603-470
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Industrial Production and Systems

The field of specialisation "Industrial Production and Systems" is a mainstay of the Thuringian economy. With growing markets and numerous activities in different sectors, this field contributes to about half of the turnover in Thuringia's manufacturing sector.

The Free State has a strong entrepreneurial base in the fields of manufacturing technology, the plastics processing industry, mechanical engineering and toolmaking, measurement and control technology, micro and nanotechnology, optics/photonics, sensor technology and robotics, as well as materials and material systems.

The scientific expertise of the seven Thuringian universities and 15 research facilities is particularly strong. It is closely interlinked with the Thuringian economy and is being increasingly expanded – currently through two growth cores, one WIR! and three RUBIN consortia in the implementation phase. Three other RUBIN projects have been positively approved and are in the concept phase.

The economy in the field of specialisation in figures

14.8 Turnover in billion euros
3300 Companies
100000 Employees subject to social security contributions

Data source: own calculation based on TLS data, as of 2020 (figures rounded)


The factory of the future will be more flexible, more efficient, faster and more sustainable. The adaptability of manufacturing processes in particular will be a decisive factor for future competitiveness. If they become flexibly configurable, small local sites with correspondingly in-depth manufacturing know-how are possible. Increasing digitalisation will allow processes to be linked even more strongly, even across factories, and thus optimise supply chains. Many local and smart value creation networks will emerge. Through sensor technology, analytics and artificial intelligence, productivity is increased and downtimes and maintenance are reduced.

The digitalisation of production and the systemic networking of value chains into value networks in the sense of "Industry 4.0" is of central importance for Thuringia as a location for innovation. The production world of tomorrow will be accompanied by an increasing linking of the real and the digital world. On the one hand, intelligent information, communication and management systems can be used to link internal company processes and resources more closely, and on the other hand, complete value chains are networked from the supplier to other producers and all the way to the customer. New automation solutions, intelligent robotics and autonomous systems will support skilled workers specifically in routine work. Nevertheless, humans also widely play the central role: Safe and ergonomic human-machine interaction results in skilled workers being able to concentrate on their core competencies. The image of a factory floor will change into an interactive, digitalised place, not least due to the European "Green Deal".

That is why we are driving the following issues forward sustainably in a four-pronged approach:

  • Assistance systems for safe and ergonomic human-machine interaction
  • Functional integration for innovative products
  • Photonics and sensor technology for the world of tomorrow
  • Smart manufacturing systems for efficient, flexible and precise production


Fast reactions are crucial for us – both to changes in the market and to technological developments. That is why we ensure that the existing Thuringian competencies in the various technology segments are optimally utilised, continuously expanded and efficiently interlinked. Thuringia is well-prepared for the path into the digitally networked future thanks to its innovative companies, its deep research and education landscape, its excellent R&D expertise and its strong networks and cluster structures.

Vision and goals

Thuringia is a high-tech and internationally visible production region. Their success is based above all on interdisciplinarity, competitive infrastructure, rapid market response and innovative strength. In addition, there are other central guiding principles:

  • In Thuringia, we make use of the opportunities arising from technical progress, demographic change, scarcity of resources and increasing globalisation.
  • We are systematically expanding growing markets, existing lighthouses and top positions in optics/photonics, plastics processing, manufacturing technology, measurement and sensor technology and in the use of innovative material systems, thereby providing radiance for further interdisciplinarity.
  • Thuringian companies are developing into system suppliers and generating innovations by intelligently linking subject areas.
  • Thuringian companies are strengthening and expanding their position in the world market through progressive internationalisation.
  • Manufacturing companies increase their system competence in a targeted manner and thus strengthen their international competitiveness.
  • Product development times are significantly reduced, while at the same time market and customer proximity are sustainably increased.
  • Special machinery and tooling companies strive for technology leadership through smarter and more powerful system solutions and product complementary services.
  • The creative industries provide impulses for interdisciplinary cooperation in innovation processes and the development of user-oriented products.

Cluster and network organisations

  • Networks


    ELMUG eG

    The ELMUG industry cluster brings together developers, manufacturers, suppliers, service providers and research facilities in the field of electronic measurement and instrumentation technology in Thuringia. The aim is to expand and consistently develop one of Thuringia's core industries on a national and international scale.

    Against the background of the increasing intensity of cooperation between the cluster members and the increased need to develop independent, economic activities, the cluster initiative was transformed into a legal entity on 25.02.2009 with the founding of Elektronische Mess- und Gerätetechnik Thüringen (ELMUG) eG.

    The purpose of the cooperative is the economic promotion and support of the members through joint business operations. The declared aim is to expand joint economic action in order to consolidate the market success of the members individually and collectively and thus open up new market opportunities.


    FerMeTh Cluster for Manufacturing Technology and Metal Processing in Thuringia

    This cluster brings together companies from the entire value chain of metalworking and mechanical engineering, as well as research and educational institutions active in the field of manufacturing technology. Currently 18 members (as of 08/15) are organised together.
    FerMeTh sees itself as a platform for comprehensive cooperation between companies, particularly in the area of research and development, in order to sustainably secure and further expand market opportunities and competitiveness – both in the regional and increasingly in the international environment.


    OptoNet e.V.

    OptoNet bundles the interests of more than 90 players in the Thuringian optics cluster. The association promotes their networking and encourages cooperation with the aim of advancing the development of optical technologies in the region. At the same time, competitiveness is to be increased in order to expand the national and international visibility of the cluster. OptoNet sees itself as a service provider for its members, creates a common communication and cooperation platform and is actively involved in location marketing. Particular importance is attached to cooperation with regional, national and international networks in adjacent fields of technology and with market-relevant partners.

    In cooperation with OptoNet CoOPTICS GmbH, a 100 per cent subsidiary of OptoNet e.V., a division of labour is taking place in the area of cooperation. The limited liability company (GmbH) is increasingly dedicated to initiating, applying for and supporting research and development projects, actively monitors trends and technologies and advises on financing options.


    PolymerMat e.V. Plastics Cluster Thuringia

    PolymerMat e.V. bundles the interests of companies in the plastics industry in Thuringia and works closely with regional networks. It provides a platform for communication and cooperation among companies in the plastics industry in innovation, product development and implementation of new technological excellence. All stages of the value chain from plastics preparation, processing, integration and refinement to recycling, including toolmaking and mechanical engineering, are mapped.
    The cluster maintains a lively exchange in specialist groups and at events. In addition, the association is involved in public relations, business cooperation, promotion of science, research and education and the associated challenges of the need for skilled workers. As an interface between companies in the plastics industry and politics, the association contributes to the promotion of science, research, education and innovation. It also supports the development of the economic region of Thuringia and the companies in the diverse application sectors of the plastics industry in the Free State.


    SmartTex Network Thuringia

    Electrode shirts for measuring bodily functions, textile solar cells, smart aids for people with disabilities – the SmartTex Network Thuringia promotes new ideas, initiates cooperation projects and organises knowledge transfer between research and industry, e.g. through cross-sector workshops, seminars and symposia. With the help of the network, existing research and development competencies are bundled so that good ideas for smart textiles can be turned into marketable products more quickly.



    The SpectroNet network connects players in the field of visual quality assurance, based on digital colour image processing and spectral imaging, in the various sectors and industries. SpectroNet offers both the transfer of knowledge and cooperation between research and industry, as well as the creation of system solutions for demanding image processing tasks and the development of market reserves. Another goal is to harmonise education and training in this field and to define standards.

  • Interest groups


    Cross-Cluster Initiative Thuringia

    The Cross-Cluster Initiative Thuringia is an association of active networks from different sectors.

    The cooperation between the cluster and network organisations is intended to ensure a regular exchange of experience between the networks, to provide up-to-date information for the management of the individual networks and to transfer research results more quickly into applications, products and services.


    MiT - Material innovativ Thüringen

    The platform "MiT – Material innovativ THÜRINGEN" – bundles and moderates a wide range of activities to further strengthen Thuringia as a competence region in the field of material development, production and application. Supported by the voluntary, committed cooperation of many partners, the implementation process of the Thuringian Innovation Strategy (RIS Thüringen) is flanked, a topic-related discussion and collaboration platform is provided, material-related activities are initiated/moderated and competencies are bundled, and an objective representation of interests is ensured.

  • Research groups

    Ten universities and more than 40 research facilities make Thuringia an outstanding location for science and innovation. With the help of research group profiles, lighthouses of Thuringian research are now to be presented even better to the public in order to further expand cooperation with industry.

    The Thuringian Ministry of Economics, Science and Digital Society, in cooperation with the Thüringer Aufbaubank, has launched more than 60 research groups at institutes and universities since 2015. The research topics are broad and strengthen the competencies in the innovation fields of the regional innovation strategy "RIS3 Thuringia".

    You can currently view and download the profiles of the Thuringian research groups from the RIS3 innovation field "Industrial Production and Systems" on this page. Further profiles from the other innovation fields are currently being compiled and will be published here in due course.

    • "Membrane reactor" – development of stable, selective, inorganic membranes and their combination with high-performance catalysts for efficient conversion of materials and energy

      Dr. Norman Reger-Wagner "Development of inorganic membranes for efficient material and energy conversion" (Not barrier-free file)

      Download[pdf, 956 KB]
    • Fibre technology for researching the performance limits of laser fibres + Microstructure technology for overcoming performance limits of fibre-based laser systems

      Dr. Johannes Nold Development of new designs and microstructuring processes to overcome performance limits of laser fibres (Not barrier-free file)

      Download[pdf, 971 KB]
    • Highly efficient simultaneous spectral sensors with large bandwidth and high resolution – HiSPEK

      Prof. Michael Rüb Development of simultaneously broadband and high-resolution spectral sensors with compact installation space and high detection efficiency (Not barrier-free file)

      Download[pdf, 930 KB]
    • Tempered large tools "TemGro"

      Dr. Jörg Hildebrand Development and optimisation of tempered large and mould tools (Not barrier-free file)

      Download[pdf, 2 MB]
    • Achromatic Diffractive Optics on Non-Planar Substrate Surfaces (ADONIS)

      Dr. Dmitriy Mitin Using the fundamentals to develop structured surfaces on curved substrates (Not barrier-free file)

      Download[pdf, 943 KB]
    • DIADEM: 3D image acquisition and processing with highest continuous data throughput for human-machine interaction and adaptive manufacturing

      Dr. Christoph Munkelt Development of a system for adaptive 3D acquisition with heterogeneous sensor network (Not barrier-free file)

      Download[pdf, 1 MB]
    • Green-ISAS: Basic technologies for autonomous Industrie 4.0-compliant sensor/actuator systems

      Wolfram Kattanek Research and demonstration of a technology kit for autonomous Industrie 4.0-compliant sensor/actuator systems (Not barrier-free file)

      Download[pdf, 1 MB]
    • SpaceOptics: Space-qualified joining processes of optical assemblies and their application in hyperspectral imaging and laser technology

      Dr. Sylvio Klose Development of a space-qualified plasma-activated joining technology for spectrometer applications in miniature satellites (Not barrier-free file)

      Download[pdf, 878 KB]
    • Ultrasensitive magnetic field sensor technology with resonant magnetoelectronic MEMS – MAGSENS

      Prof. Hannes Töpfer Development of magnetoelectric MEMS for ultrasensitive detection of the weakest magnetic fields (Not barrier-free file)

      Download[pdf, 891 KB]
    • High-performance optics for (coherent) soft X-rays – HOROS

      Dr. Jan Kinast Development and research of novel efficient high-performance optics in the XUV and X-ray range (Not barrier-free file)

      Download[pdf, 951 KB]
    • XUV-Life – Technologies and methods for imaging and spectroscopy in the water window

      Prof. Thomas Stöhlker Research into laser-based water window XUV sources, methods and detectors for imaging (Not barrier-free file)

      Download[pdf, 779 KB]
    • Ultrasensitive energy-efficient gas sensors made of 2D materials (2D-Sens)

      Dr. Frank Schwierz Research into novel atomically thin 2D materials with special properties for gas detection and development of innovative concepts for gas sensors made from these materials (Not barrier-free file)

      Download[pdf, 866 KB]
    • IntelligEnt: Artificial intelligence and machine learning for the design and verification of complex systems

      Georg Gläser Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning for Microelectronics System Design (Not barrier-free file)

      Download[pdf, 781 KB]
    • Research into novel manufacturing processes for microstructured fibres

      Dr. Katrin Wondraczek New manufacturing process for ytterbium- and thulium-doped special fibres with laser-active properties (Not barrier-free file)

      Download[pdf, 963 KB]
    • Smart object takeover and handover for user-oriented mobile assistance robotics (SONARO)

      Prof. Horst-Michael Groß Research into fundamental methods and technologies for user-centred human-robot collaboration for safe object transfer and takeover (Not barrier-free file)

      Download[pdf, 780 KB]
    • 3DWÄRME – 3D detection by means of thermal image projection and robot handling of transparent complex objects

      Henri Speck Capturing the surface shape of transparent complex objects using thermal image projection and robot handling (Not barrier-free file)

      Download[pdf, 1,007 KB]
    • Low-emission machines and processes EMiMasch

      Prof. Jean-Pierre Bergmann Reducing emissions and increasing energy efficiency in manufacturing technology for mechanical engineering (Not barrier-free file)

      Download[pdf, 572 KB]
    • Innovative methods for high-resolution X-ray imaging

      Prof. Matt Zepf Exploring high-resolution compact X-ray imaging systems and methods through more compact precision X-ray sources (Not barrier-free file)

      Download[pdf, 444 KB]
    • KERBESEN – Ceramic multilayer components for high-temperature sensor technology and electronics

      Prof. Jörg Töpfer Ceramic materials and multilayer devices with applications in high-temperature sensors and electronics (Not barrier-free file)

      Download[pdf, 562 KB]
    • Quantum optical imaging with entangled photons

      Dr. Frank Setzpfandt Fundamental research and investigation of quantum optical imaging with entangled photons (Not barrier-free file)

      Download[pdf, 969 KB]
    • UKPflex - Ultrashort pulsed laser radiation for flexible manufacturing of customised optical components for individualised production

      Michael Seiler Flexible manufacturing of customised optical components using UKP laser radiation (Not barrier-free file)

      Download[pdf, 542 KB]
    • XUV - Technology and methods for imaging with nano-scale resolution

      Prof. Gerhard Paulus Combination of established methods for 3D XUV measurement with nanoscale resolution (Not barrier-free file)

      Download[pdf, 519 KB]

Your contact persons

Kay Sawatzky

Kay Sawatzky Field of specialisation – Industrial production and systems

Michel Reichardt

Michel Reichardt Field of specialisation – ICT, innovative and production-related services

Alexander Dieser

Alexander Dieser Field of specialisation – Industrial production and systems

Get in touch with us.