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Research, Innovation & Technology
Dynamic changes in technologies and markets are opening up a wide range of new business opportunities for mechanical and plant engineering. Our analyses and, in particular, our activities in joint research help to identify relevant developments and trends at an early stage, build innovation networks and exploit existing opportunities through rapid knowledge transfer of current research findings.

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Biologicalization of Industry 2035

From bionics to biointelligence – Advances in biology and its fusion with technology and IT are opening up a whole new dimension for machine makers to solve the current challenges of our time. The Scenario Study shows how this can be achieved.

Tax-based research funding: How does the instrument work?

The Research Subsidy Act came into force on January 1, 2020. Find out here who benefits from the new tax subsidy, what you need to consider and how the VDMA supports you with this form of funding.

New startup search platform | explore now!

Discover startup contacts and trends for mechanical engineering worldwide?! The new digital startup search platform helps to find suitable partners.

Sustainable battery recycling: Market potential in Europe

What prospects does the topic of battery recycling offer for mechanical and plant engineering? A study by Fraunhofer ISI, commissioned by the IMPULS Foundation of the VDMA, sees good market potential for Europe.

Competencies for artificial intelligence: Research project launched

In the new IGF project VoBAKI of the FKM working group Research I40 and AI, FIR e.V. and IAW of RWTH Aachen University are investigating strategies for acquiring competencies for AI applications.

Photovoltaic production: Publication of ITRPV roadmap including readiness level

Discussion of the maturity level of different technologies in ITRPV implemented. Tendency to reduce poly-Si consumption in grams/Watt by reducing wafer thickness and kerf losses independent from the wafer sizes used. Reduction of silver consumption is on track and realistic by further reducing finger widths and having multibusbar/busbarless metallization designs. Increase of machine throughput values is projected with a faster increase for chemical and diffusion processes. Input ITRPV questionnaire possible.

Innovation Tour 2023 to the Startup Nation Israel

Israel is a source of innovation and startup hotbed for mechanical engineering. This was confirmed by the Innovation Tour Israel 2022 with VDMA members. Reason enough to continue the project in 2023.

Technology Transfer Program Lightweight Construction

The event held on November 24, 2022, showed which support options are offered at the federal level and by the VDMA in the field of lightweight construction.

New Questionnaire Online - Input possible until December 21, 2022

The questionnaire for the 14th edition of the ITRPV is online. We look forward to your input until December 21, 2022, to realize our publication date middle of March 2023.

LIGNA.FutureSquare offers suppliers and startups attractive presence at LIGNA 2023

VDMA Services will be hosting the so-called LIGNA.FutureSquare in Hall 12 at the upcoming LIGNA. It rounds out the LIGNA.Stage and LIGNA.Recruiting areas with startup companies and suppliers.

The VDMA at bauma 2022

The world's leading industry event for construction machinery, building materials machinery, mining machinery, construction vehicles and construction equipment was held at the Munich Exhibition Center from October 24 to 30, 2022.

Innovation funding for drone projects

In the northernmost tip of Germany, the UAM-InnoRegion-SH is emerging, dedicated to the use and development of unmanned aerial systems and propulsion technologies. This is intended to contribute to structural change in the region.

Industrial VISION Days 2022 - presentations on demand

If you could not see all the lectures at the Industrial VISION Days 2022, missed VISION 2022 altogether or would like to recapture a bit of the VISION feeling: VISION is once again offering all the lectures "on demand". Benefit from the bundled know-how of the machine vision industry. At any time. From anywhere in the world.

Startup solutions for zero emissions in the construction machinery sector

At bauma 2022, discover startups that are steering the construction equipment industry toward a greener future with their groundbreaking technological solutions. Here's an overview of our exhibitors.

Startups for the mining of the future

Discover startups that bring sustainability, efficiency and safety to the mining industry at bauma 2022. Here's an overview of our exhibitors.

Startups as enablers of the autonomous machine

Discover startups that deliver automation concepts for the construction machinery industry at bauma 2022. Here's an overview of our exhibitors.

Startups for new construction methods and materials of tomorrow

Discover startups at bauma 2022 that are presenting the construction processes and materials of tomorrow through their innovative deep-tech solutions. Here's an overview of our exhibitors.

Securing the future with research funding

The mechanical and plant engineering sector is constantly working on technical answers to the pressing questions of our time. These include digitally networked production and the mobility of the future, as well as climate protection and global nutrition. For this, companies need a framework that promotes innovation. This includes research funding that is open to a wide range of topics, strengthens German competitiveness and thus helps secure jobs in Germany.

Start-up Transfer.NRW" funding program

The Start-up Transfer.NRW program gives start-ups from educational and research institutions the opportunity to bring their innovative ideas, which have a high application potential and a convincing business concept, to market maturity.

Innovation made in NRW - Circular economy

"Innovations made in NRW" presents best practices from various branches of mechanical and plant engineering and shows how a Circular Economy can be implemented.

Storytelling at the Mechanical Engineering Summit: This is what "Future Services" in mechanical engineering look like

The VDMA future study "Future Services 2025" was also presented at the Mechanical Engineering Summit 2022. 3 speakers told their respective service stories.

Startup area at the world's leading trade fair for the construction machinery sector

Startup innovations for the construction equipment industry: in October 2022, there will be innovative startups to discover at bauma that are shaping the future of the industry with fresh innovations.

Startups for the digital construction site

Discover startups at bauma 2022 that are making the vision of a digitalized, networked and automated construction site a lived reality. Here's an overview of our exhibitors.

Alcemy receives startup award for sustainability innovation

Using AI-supported software to create cement and concrete with lower shares of CO2 economically - with this solution, the young company Alcemy has won the Startup Award Mechanical Engineering Summit 2022 for "Sustainability".

Surrogates for Aspergillus species

The joint industrial research project aims to identify suitable surrogates for Aspergillus species for the microbiological validation of UV-based disinfection processes.

Future Services 2035

Services in mechanical engineering: The focus is already on people, digitization and sustainability. Will everything be new, will everything be different in the next decade? Four scenarios in the 8th study of the future.

Startup award for sustainability solution

At the Mechanical Engineering Summit 2022, the prestigious Startup Award will for the first time explicitly focus on the topic of "sustainability". 5 startups with transformative potential enter the race on Oct. 12.

Industry must be supported unbureaucratically and quickly

Between digital awakening, start-up ideas, war and energy crisis: the Mechanical Engineering Summit will be a barometer of mood and a compass for the largest industrial sector in the country. In the "Industry Insights" podcast, VDMA Vice President Henrik Schunk describes his view of the current situation and what demands and expectations the VDMA has of politicians and member companies.

Research topics in medical technology

The Medical Technology Working Group provides information on trends and developments in medical technology, as well as information on research topics and the general framework.

Technology on the road

Reducing costs in technical service with Augmented Reality Remote Assistance in glass production – Oculavis, the young start-up will show how this is possible at the VDMA booth at glasstec.

Fusion Bionic introduces bio-inspired glass surfaces

How can lasers create multifunctional surfaces? Startup Fusion Bionic will answer this question with a live demonstration at the VDMA booth.

Automated gripping with a gecko effect

How does a robot transform into a gecko? The start-up INNOCISE knows how and will demonstrate the transformation live at glasstec at the VDMA stand.

Scientific VISION Days 2022

Scientific excellence - this is presented at the Scientific VISION Days. Once again, AIT and partners have prepared an exciting programme.

8th Future Business Summit - Results

Services in mechanical engineering: The focus is already on people, digitization and sustainability. Will everything be new, will everything be different in the next decade? Around 120 guests discussed future scenarios and received new impetus on applications, training and new business models at Campus Buschhütten.

Cleaning sensors - boundary conditions for industrial use

As part of the SensoRein research project, the industrial requirements for the installation of cleaning sensors within the industry consortium were queried and collected in table form.

Model-based motion control for pick&place applications

The RoboBag research project aims to increase the cycle rates of pick-and-place systems for film packaging. The focus is on the development of models for the vacuum gripper-packaging pairing.

"Future Services 2035" in mechanical engineering

What role will services play in mechanical engineering in the future? The VDMA scenario study "Future Services 2035" will be presented. Impulses, controversies and recommendations for action from experts.

“EU research programs miss industry's needs”

The EU research programs for industrial companies are an important building block for securing Europe's position in global competition. But the programs often come too late and the entry barriers are too high. The VDMA calls for better cooperation between EU authorities and industry.

BMWi funding for small and medium-sized enterprises: "ZIM

The Central Innovation Programme for SMEs (ZIM) is a nationwide funding programme that is open to all technologies and sectors.

Research into resource-saving cleaning of pipelines

The newly launched research project investigates the resource-saving cleaning of pipelines made of food base materials in the food industry.

Research into novel cleaning processes for complex geometries

This joint industrial research project aims to develop a novel cleaning process for the food, pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries and for industrial component cleaning.

The path to digital business models

"It's a privacy-compliant, sovereign response to U.S. or Asian cloud providers called hyperscalers," Markus Weber explains. On July 27, 2022 at 8:30 a.m., he will explain how to get around the data protection dilemma in the live webinar Let's Talk Science.

Our events

List of planned experience exchange events ("ERFA") of the VDMA National Association North and the AG Marine Equipment and Systems. Participation in these events is reserved for our members.

Accelerator program for technology start-ups

The program, endowed with 1.6 million euros by the state of NRW, connects innovative founders with universities, industry, companies and investors and, as a venture platform, builds bridges for a climate-friendly and competitive economy.

The challenge of securing skilled labor

Advancing digitization, the development of climate-friendly technologies and the mobility revolution - the mechanical and plant engineering sector is facing enormous challenges. Securing the availability of skilled workers is becoming a mammoth task.

6th meeting of the AK Foresight of the Productronics sector group

On 28.06. the working group Foresight met with exciting contributions and discussion on AI.

Changes in the board and office

Ralf Wagner is the new FLT board chairman. Dr. Alexander Schmeink succeeds Harald Gustmann.

VDMA Technology Forum at AMB 2022

Program and abstracts of the 44 presentations now available: Innovative solutions from industry - incl. 12 startups - and 5 research institutes from September 13 to 16 in Stuttgart

Securing the markets of the future with Market Intelligence?

Market Intelligence - is market data the key to keeping an eye on developments in mechanical engineering and making better strategic decisions? A VDMA-wide survey reveals.

The VDMA at glasstec 2022

As the conceptual sponsor and cooperation partner of Messe Düsseldorf, the VDMA Glass Technology Forum is responsible for key programme content at the glasstec conference and activities at its own stand in Hall 15B26.


Go For Green Tech!
Mechanical and plant engineering is an enabler for climate protection and resource efficiency. Only with green technologies and innovative strength can climate targets be achieved and transformation shaped.
Future Business
Trendscouting - Foresight - Startups: We are tracking the future of mechanical engineering. Well structured and across all sectors within VDMA, in the almost infinite variety of complex topics for the next 10-15 years. Our goal: to identify trends and disruptions relevant to machine makers at an early stage and make them usable, to point out new business opportunities and to build networks.
Research Funding
In order to support long-term and future-oriented research and development, innovative projects are granted financial backing. In addition to collaborative and joint research, companies may also benefit from tax-based research funding.
Startups transform trending topics into new technologies and products that will be of importance in the future of mechanical engineering. Startups employ novel work practices which mechanical engineers should be aware of.
Industrial collective research
Industrial Collective Research (IGF) serves as a unique innovation platform for small and medium-sized enterprises. Being a thematically open and industry-driven program, IGF represents an important building block in pre-competitive research for the mechanical and plant engineering sector.
Engineering education for the mechanical engineering sector
For many employees, working in a home office is a completely new situation that has caught them very unprepared due to the pandemic. This raises a host of practical and legal issues.
Artificial Intelligence
Everyone is talking about artificial intelligence and machine learning. At VDMA, there are already many organizational units that are examining the topic more closely. Here, you can gain some insight into all the activities that the VDMA is conducting on the topic of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence.
Corporate Foresight
Corporate Foresight means conducting futurology from a corporate perspective in order to „manage“ the future. It is a vision-building process which complements classical innovation management and prepares for all kinds of change – achieving resilience no matter what kind of trend or forecast will become real.
Innovation and transfer networks
Research, innovation and transfer networks allow us to reach a broad range of companies with offers suited for practical application. Key success factors include networking and maintaining a dialog with the parties involved, consolidating a wide range of competencies and quickly transferring research results to companies in the mechanical and plant engineering sector.
Technology Roadmaps & Studies
The goal is in sight - but the path is unclear and difficult, and every decision bears risks. The case is the same for all companies seeking to tap into new technologies or markets. Now, sherpas with experience and advice are needed: Our studies serve as guideposts, roadmaps present a vision of the industry's future, serve as investment guidelines and promote pre-competitive collaboration.
Quantum Technologies and Photonics
The Quantum Technologies and Photonics Forum was founded with the vision of showing members the potential of quantum technologies and photonics, paving the way for applications and thus improving the future and competitiveness of mechanical engineering.
Battery Production
Electromobility and battery production are gaining ground worldwide, and this is just the beginning. To make the right decisions early and be competitive, it is essential to have your finger on the pulse of innovative production solutions.
International Technology Roadmap for Photovoltaic (ITRPV)
The International Technology Roadmap for Photovoltaic (ITRPV) is developed by the PV industry for the PV industry. Twice a year, data is collected from the contributors and processed anonymously as well as evaluated by the VDMA. Participation is free of charge.
Modern intralogistics systems enable reliable and flexible production supply and efficient processes in the warehouse. Through increasing automation and digitalization, the systems are becoming more intelligent and will be able to optimize themselves in the future.
Commercial drone applications are also gaining importance in mechanical and plant engineering as well as adjacent B2B customer industries.
Wind Energy
Wind energy plays an important role in security of supply and will be crucial to achieve climate neutrality in the energy system. It ensures value creation and employment as well as energy independence. In addition, the availability of renewable energies is a decisive location factor for economic regions.

To the point

To the point

Auf den Punkt Zitat - Themenfeld Research, Innovation, Technology

"As a high-tech company, we not only have to pick up on the developments of the day, but ideally anticipate them. Close cooperation with startups is an important building block for this."

Dr. Niklas Hering, Trumpf Venture GmbH

Auf den Punkt Zahl - Themenfeld Forschung, Innovation, Technologie



of the German economy's expenditure on research and development comes from the mechanical engineering sector, according to the Stifterverband. In a European comparison, it is the most innovative: three out of four of its companies, according to the ZEW, are innovators. And every fifth patent application at the European Patent Office in the field of mechanical engineering comes from Germany.

Source: Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft / ZEW

Auf den Punkt Zusammenfassung - Themenfeld Forschung, Innovation, Technologie

Future Business: The key pillars for innovation
  • Trendscouting - We provide beacons that guide you through the seemingly endless ocean of trends.
  • Corporate Foresight - Thinking in Alternative Futures strengthens the resilience of your company
  • Startup-Machine - Learning from each other: We bring mechanical engineers and startups together

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Further VDMA Services
Series of Research events
We organize various events on the topic of research.
Knowledge transfer: Future studies, Future Business Summits
Complex topics, well-structured, easy to use: Scenario deep dives convey orientation knowledge to the point, key factors and recommendations for action, presented in top-class summits.
Facts and figures: Research and innovation in mechanical engineering
In our theme publication you will find facts and figures on research and development, innovations and patents in mechanical engineering.
Collection of I4.0 research at German research institutes
The collection provides an overview of the German research landscape around Industry 4.0. In the new edition 2019, around 40 universities and institutes present their current projects.
Online Library Digitalization & Industry 4.0
The VDMA accompanies and supports its members on their path to Industry 4.0. Here you will find an overview of the latest publications on this topic.
Working Group Research Industry 4.0 and Artificial Intelligence
The "Research I40 and AI" working group aims to initiate pre-competitive and cross-industry research projects in the field of Industry 4.0 and AI. VDMA members who are interested are very welcome to join.
MBI Events
The Mechanical Engineering Institute is offering a variety of continuing education courses in the field of digitalization and innovation. Learn more about our offer now and get in shape for the digital revolution!
VDMA Trendscouting: The Peacoq Foresight Support Platform
Trends and disruptions relevant for mechanical engineering compiled in our online tool. Use longlist, trend cards and radar graphic for research, presentation and individualization according to your needs.
Startup Radar Dashboard - Find startups for mechanical engineering online
Discover startup contacts and trends for mechanical engineering worldwide?! The new digital startup search platform helps to find suitable partners.
Startup Events
As a platform for mechanical engineering and startups, we bring both parties together: We create spaces to meet, establish networks and initiate partnerships.


Research, Innovation & Technology Committee
Research and Innovation Committee
The focus is on innovation policy, engineering and skilled worker training, and technology trends. At the same time, this VDMA top committee acts as a link in politics and science.


Dr. Stefan Rinck

Singulus Technologies AG


Hartmut Rauen

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VDMA partners

Industrielle Gemeinschaftsforschung, AiF Forschungsnetzwerk Mittelstand
Forschungskuratorium Maschinenbau e.V.
Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung ISI

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Benefits for you as a member

Largest industry network in Europe

Around 3,500 primarily medium-sized member companies in the capital goods industry make the VDMA the largest industrial association in Europe and the most important network organization in the industry.

Strong representation of interests

The VDMA is the most important voice of the mechanical and plant engineering industry. It represents the common economic, technical and scientific interests of the industry in Germany and around the world.

A wide range of services

More than 500 VDMA employees worldwide support you with practical services to make the right decisions in your company - along the entire value chain.