Digital Innovation Hubs

DIH Profile

VDTC of the Fraunhofer IFF

Hub Information

Hub Name
VDTC of the Fraunhofer IFF
Local Name
VDTC des Fraunhofer IFF
Evolutionary Stage
Fully operational
Geographical Scope


The mission of the VDTC is to explore and promote the role of human operators in an ever-increasing digitized and automated production and work environment. Following an approach coined as “Digital Engineering and Operation”, the VDTC postulates the consistent and consequent use of digital data throughout the life cycle of a production and/or work system. Being able to fully retain and exploit data from and within all steps in the life cycle, from design, to testing, documentation, factory planning, training, operation to dismantling, offers the opportunity to radically change human machine interaction. The VDTC offers solutions for embedding human operators in a digitized and automated environment by providing assistance systems, which fully benefit from a virtual knowledge base established through the approach of digital engineering and operation.
Within this mission, the VDTC offers its services to companies of varying sizes from SME and Mid-Caps to large companies and international corporations. The VDTC’s solutions, moreover, provide for different customized approaches addressing companies on different innovation stages, from awareness raising and maturity level identification for newcomers to digitization, to insular solutions and services for starter companies, to full systems solutions for advanced companies.

Die Mission des VDTC ist die Erforschung und Förderung der Rolle von menschlichen Akteuren in einer zunehmend digitalisierten und automatisierten Produktions- und Arbeitsumgebung. Dabei folgt das VDTC dem Ansatz des „Digital Engineering and Operation“ und setzt auf die konsistente und konsequente Nutzung digitaler Daten im kompletten Lebenszyklus eines Produktions- bzw. Arbeitssystems. Dieser Ansatz ändert die Interaktion zwischen Mensch und Maschine radikal, da digitale Daten aus jedem Schritt des Lebenszyklus gesichert und genutzt werden kann, von der Entwicklung über das Testen, die Dokumentation, der Fabrikplanung, dem Training, den Betrieb bis hin zum Rückbau. Das VDTC bietet Lösungen menschliche Akteure, durch die Nutzung von Assistenzsystemen, in digitalisierte und automatisierte Arbeitswelt einzubetten. Diese Assistenzsysteme profitieren von der virtuellen Wissensbasis, die der Ansatz des Digital Engineering and Operation bietet.
Innerhalb seiner Mission, bietet das VDTC seine Dienstleistungen Unternehmen aller Größen an; von KMU zu Großunternehmen und internationalen Konzernen. Die Lösungen, die im VDTC entwickelt werden bieten darüber hinaus kundenindividuelle Ansätze, welche interessant für Unternehmen auf verschiedenen Innovationsstufen sind; von der Sensibilisierung und Reifegradbestimmung für Unternehmen die am Anfang ihrer Digitalisierungsbemühungen stehen, über individuelle- und Insellösungen und Dienstleistungen für Unternehmen die erste Schritte auf dem Gebiet nehmen bis hin zu Systemlösungen für fortgeschrittene Unternehmen.

Contact Data

Coordinator (Research & Technology organization)
Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation IFF
Year Established
Joseph-von-Fraunhofer Str., 1, 39106, Magdeburg (Germany)
Social Media
Contact information
Mr. Christian Blobner
+49 391 4090 371


Organizational form
(part of) Public organization (part of RTO, or university)
Number of employees


  • Micro/nano electronics
  • Sensory systems
  • Communication networks
  • Cyber physical systems
  • Robotics
  • Internet of things
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Mobility & Location based technologies
  • Interaction technologies
  • Big data, data analytics, data handling
  • Virtual, augmented and extended reality
  • Simulation, modelling and digital twins
  • Gamification
  • Software as a service and service architectures
  • Cloud computing
  • Logistics

The VDTC of the Fraunhofer IFF was envisaged as a beacon for digitalization in Saxony-Anhalt and beyond from its early planning stages in 2001. Before there was any talk about Industrie 4.0 and Digitalization the concepts for the VDTC reflected the vision of a highly connected and data-oriented production and manufacturing environment. The promotion of this approach was especially important in the federal state of Saxony-Anhalt to support the ongoing structural change and modernization of the economy after the German reunification. This was also recognized by the European Commission, awarding it the Regional Innovation Award in 2004. 

The promotion of digitalization among SME through applied oriented research cooperation is at the center of the institute’s efforts. To this end, the VDTC of the Fraunhofer IFF acts as a central hub in a regional network of stakeholders bringing together companies, industrial associations, academic and research actors as well as the policy level.

the VDTC of the Fraunhofer IFF actively supports three ongoing initiatives for promoting digitalization of regional enterprises. The “Partnernetzwerk Wirtschaft 4.0” is funded through the Saxony-Anhalt Ministry of Economy, Science and Digitalization. It brings together regional multipliers in the field of digitalization for raising awareness for specific topics in digitalization and developing concepts for knowledge transfer. The network’s administrative offices are situated in the VDTC of the Fraunhofer IFF and the institute supports the network thematically. The “Mittelstand 4.0 Competence Center Magdeburg” is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is supporting digitization in SMEs and the skilled trades. It is part of a national network of approx. 20 SME competence centers all over Germany. The SME 4.0 Competence Center Magdeburg helps SME with expert knowledge, demonstration centers, networks for the exchange of experience and practical examples, and inform SME about the opportunities and challenges of digitization. The VDTC of the Fraunhofer IFF is the main demonstrator site for the competence center and works on topics such as the promotion of digital business models.

Also the “Mittelstand 4.0 Competence Center Planning and Construction” is part of the above mentioned network of competence centers funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. Here, the focus of support is on the construction sector and the promotion of digitalization and innovative business models, e.g. through Building Information Modelling (BIM). The VDTC of the Fraunhofer IFF acts as a demonstration site for the network especially with respect to innovative visualization of data and data-based assistance systems.

Market and Services


  • Agriculture and food
  • Energy and utilities
  • Construction
  • Wholesale and retail
  • Transport and logistics
  • Education
  • Manufacture of food products, beverages and tobacco
  • Manufacture of textiles and textile products
  • Manufacture of wood and wood products
  • Manufacture of pulp, paper and paper products; publishing and printing
  • Manufacture of chemicals, chemical products and man-made fibres
  • Manufacture of rubber and plastic products
  • Manufacture of machinery and equipment
  • Manufacture of electrical and optical equipment
  • Manufacture of transport equipment
  • Other Manufacturing

TRL Focus

  • TRL2 - Technology concept and/or application formulated
  • TRL3 - Analytical and experimental critical function and/or characteristic proof of concept
  • TRL4 - Component and/or breadboard validation in laboratory environment
  • TRL5 - Component and/or breadboard validation in relevant environment
  • TRL6 - System/subsystem model or prototype demonstration in a relevant environment
  • TRL7 - System prototype demonstration in an operational environment
  • TRL8 - Actual system completed and qualified through test and demonstration
  • TRL9 - Actual system proven through successful mission operations

Services provided

  • Awareness creation
  • Ecosystem building, scouting, brokerage, networking
  • Visioning and Strategy Development for Businesses
  • Collaborative Research
  • Concept validation and prototyping
  • Testing and validation
  • Pre-competitive series production
  • Digital Maturity Assessment
  • Incubator/accelerator support
  • Market intelligence
  • Mentoring
  • Education and skills development

Service Examples

Industrie 4.0 Check-Up

There is an increased need for companies, especially among SME and Mid-Caps, to identify what digitization means to them on the individual company level, beyond the marketing hype of Industrie 4.0. We developed the  “Industrie 4.0 Check-Up” a customizable service for companies to assess their maturity level with respect to digitization in order to define a roadmap and implementation plan for the next evolutionary steps towards the digitization .

The “Industrie 4.0 Check-Up” was implemented in multiple companies of differing sizes in manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, textile, construction, mining, etc.. Internationally, we completed assessments in different companies in Spain, Thailand, China and Kazakhstan.

Flexible Model-based Assembly Inspection

Airplane manufacturers mostly already work within a lot-size 1 paradigm, customized to the specifications of individual airlines. This, makes automation difficult, while aiming to . On the other hand  increase output.

We developed a system for quality inspection in the fuselage assembly using a robot with 7 degrees of freedom and a visual identification system. The system was developed and commissioned successfully at AIRBUS. The benefit of the system is providing quick and reliable methods for quality inspections, which helps to increase the production volume of highly customized productions. Additionaly, providing for the efficient use of  digital data. It also allows for the more efficient use of high-skilled personnel.


Digital Engineering In Machinery Manufacturing

For the chemical company LANXESS we developed and commissioned a production system for their water filtration units using a fully digital and virtual workflow, establishing a virtual prototype, complete with safety and security testing and controller programming. The digital workflow also allowed for the parallelization of engineering workflows, cutting development time by more than 30 percent.

The digital development workflow also allows for the continuing use of the digital system’s data in combination with ICT components (sensors, motors, actuators, etc.) within the actual production systems. This true cyber-physical-system works as a functioning digital twin in a prduction environment, supporting e.g. for simulation of production runs, predictive maintenance, error detection, etc.

Company Contact:
LANXESS IAB Ionenaustauscher GmbH
Salegaster Chaussee 1
06803 Bitterfeld-Wolfen

The Galileo Test Bed Saxony-Anhalt

The Galileo Test Bed Saxony-Anhalt is one of the most modern research laboratories for digital infrastructure, mobility and logistics. The areas of application for the test bed adapt to the current requirements of industry and academia, ensuring its profile as a strong applied research partner. It is under the organizational direction of the Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg. The participating research institutions include the Fraunhofer IFF in Magdeburg, the Institute for Automation and Communication e. V. (ifak), the Hallesche Verkehrs-AG, the Magdeburger Hafen GmbH, the Satellite Navigation Saxony-Anhalt e.V. (SANASA eV) and the ITS mobility North e.V. (ITS - Intelligent Transport Systems). Furthermore, the Galileo Test Bed belongs to the national network of testing labs for the promotion of the European satellite navigation system GALILEO.


  • European Regional Development Fund
  • National basic research funding
  • Regional funding
  • Private funding
  • Partner resources


Number of customers annually
Type of customers
  • SMEs (<250 employees)
  • MidCaps (between €2-10 billion turnover)
  • Large companies, multi-nationals
  • Partners

    Last updated: 24/08/18 12:08