Project formats

With the following project formats, our experts at the Fraunhofer IST address specific problems:

Development Projects

  • Your requirements:

    You would like to identify technological trends at an early stage and need a compilation as well as an initial assessment of your technological options?

    You are looking for concrete suggestions for innovative processes in your production or would like to sound out the patent situation?

    Then commissioning a study or technology scouting is a good option.

    Our approach:

    Experts from the Fraunhofer IST visit you at your premises.

    Your needs are mutually identified and search areas agreed upon.

    Technology scouting: Through research, interviews with experts and technology monitoring, possible new production concepts and processes are identified.

    The ideas are collected and compared with your requirements.

    Process study: For the specific application, the possible innovative production processes are identified, the property rights situation is analyzed and market potentials are estimated.


    You benefit from our experts' trained eye regarding innovation content and future viability.

    You receive a customized report on the availability, feasibility and prospects of new technologies, or a report identifying the processes and estimating the potential for your application.

    A patent search helps to build up your own IP and to increase legal security.

    These approaches enable more security and lower costs in the introduction process as well as a faster ROI.

    Typically, this is followed by concept & process development. Depending on the situation, a potential analysis can precede this.


  • Your requirements:

    You want to introduce new technologies into your company, be it in a single process step or in a complete process chain?

    You want to improve production processes, for example, or enable your employees to manufacture improved or new products with innovative operator support?

    Or are you considering the introduction of automation technology and have many unanswered questions?

    Our approach:

    Our experts develop for you the technical concept and the innovative process, refine these in collaboration with the users in your production, and compile both the technological potential and the economic aspects for you.

    Depending on the application, it may be necessary to verify a concept through a feasibility study and to complete the process development based on this.

    The result:

    Your company receives an evaluation of the analysis as well as a sound concept as a basis for decision-making and is consequently optimally prepared for the implementation of new technologies and processes.

  • Your requirements:

    A technical concept or a process has been developed in advance and now needs to be examined regarding its feasibility?

    For this purpose, we offer you the conception and execution of feasibility studies.

    Our approach:

    The feasibility study illuminates all aspects of the targeted production process, such as the technology, its integration into production processes, costs and future viability.

    Feasibility studies are an integral part of process and workflow automation.

    They minimize the risk of technical developments and provide you with security when deciding on upcoming investments.

    The result:

    You receive a report on the feasibility of the process as well as the boundary conditions.

    We list necessary measures and provide recommendations for successful implementation.


    Your requirements:

    You are seeking the first practical implementation of preliminary developments or innovative approaches in the form of technical prototypes or an MVP (minimum viable product)?

    Then please do not hesitate to contact us.

    Our approach:

    In collaboration with your company, experts from the Fraunhofer IST define the start, goal and requirements for the prototype.

    The prototype is mutually designed and constructed and subsequently tested with regard to fulfillment of the requirements and the need for further development.

    This can take place in the laboratories and test fields of the Fraunhofer IST or on your premises.

     You thereby benefit from the broad-based expertise of the Fraunhofer IST and, if desired, also from the existing infrastructure, e.g. measuring equipment.

    The result:

    You receive the functional prototype as well as an evaluation report on the tests carried out.

    Experience gained from other research and transfer projects automatically flows into the project and minimizes your development risk.



  • Your requirements:

    The concept for your new technologies and processes is established and the feasibility is fundamentally confirmed.

    You need support in order to procure the necessary innovative components such as machine parts, hardware and software - right through to complete systems on the market?

    Then please do not hesitate to contact us.

    Our approach:

    Our experts compile the product specifications for you, which describe and define in detail the technically correct function in a neutral manner and independent of potential suppliers.

    Our special focus is on the components with an innovative character and their integration into a functioning overall system.

    We also support you in evaluating the offers in order to ensure the representation of innovative topics.

    The result:

    You receive a specification sheet which – supplemented by company-specific standards and requirements – ensures that your company can obtain reliable and comparable offers on the market.

    Our support in evaluating the offers enables you, for example, to reduce your risk at technological interfaces and to ensure the representation of innovative topics.

  • Your requirements:

    You are looking for neutral and expert support in the practical implementation of innovation projects in your value-creation processes?

    Our approach:

    Our experts supervise the introduction of innovations during the installation or commissioning phases at your premises, e.g. the installation of new systems, the commissioning of complex automation solutions or similar.

    Furthermore, we support your employees during the familiarization phase with appropriate training measures tailored specifically to your requirements.

    Together with you, we ensure that the purchased services meet your requirements, both in terms of innovation level and function.

    You thereby benefit from our toolbox and our experience.

    The result:

    With us, you are able to implement innovations in your production environment quickly and reliably.

Optimization Projects

  • Your requirements:

    You are determined to improve processes or introduce new production methods?

    To do so, it is necessary to specifically identify and assess potentials, e.g. if an increase in productivity is to be achieved through automation or the implementation of digitization concepts.

    We would be happy to support you in this potential analysis.

    Our approach:

    We examine your production environment, identify technologies and analyze their potential in terms of applicability and cost-benefit.

    The analysis is broad-based, meaning that aspects such as the integrability and future viability of the technology are also examined.

    The result:

    You receive an analysis with statements on technology, applicability and the targeted technical potential.

    The analysis includes, for example, a list of measures, an assessment of the benefits, possible quick wins, complexity, risk, and an estimate of investment and operating costs.

  • Your requirements:

    You already have an idea of how you would like to utilize technologies, e.g. to implement wear- or corrosion-protection for your company?

    You are looking for dedicated experts, now and in the future, to help you with the implementation?

    With the Quick Check, we offer you a short and compact project format.

    Our approach:

    The Quick Check serves as a proof-of-concept or feasibility analysis - a short form of the feasibility study. Determining feasibility is an integral part of automating processes and workflows.

    It minimizes the risk of technical developments and provides you with security when deciding on upcoming investments.

    The result:

    After our Quick Check, you can assess the extent to which the problem can be solved with the technology under consideration, e.g. coating technology.

    This provides the prerequisites for testing your application ideas together with the experts at the Fraunhofer IST within the framework of an Exploring Project.

  • Your requirements:

    You would like to implement the ideas elaborated in a feasibility study or a Quick Check and test them in a prototypical application?

    Then you should start an Exploring Project with us.

    Our approach:

    The basis for an Exploring Project are the results of the feasibility analysis or from the Quick Check.

    Within the framework of the project, an implementation strategy is developed within a short period of time and an initial prototype solution – for example, from the area of digitization or surface finishing – is realized. In a further step, these strategies are analyzed and scaled for transfer.

    The result:

    You can use the project results directly in your company or intensify them in a further collaboration with the Fraunhofer IST.

  • Your requirements:

    You would like to increase the productivity and quality of your production and reduce waste?

    The methods of production planning are to be brought up to date and production optimized?

    Then please do not hesitate to contact us.

    Our approach:

    In production, our experts analyze the current state and elaborate an ideal picture.

    According to the boundary conditions, a target picture is derived and an implementation plan with individual measures is drawn up.

    In assembly, specific solutions are determined on site and necessary measures are described.

    If required, the implementation can be supervised by our experts.


    You receive comprehensive support based on the latest scientific findings at all levels of production planning and manufacturing optimization.

    In this way, you secure the basis of your economic success.

  • Your requirements:

    You want to reduce costs for warehousing, production, logistics, organization, quality and maintenance through digital networking?

    You want to set up a new line or production which is completely digitized from the beginning? You are not sure how to approach the project methodically so that it remains economical?

    Then please do not hesitate to contact us.

    Our approach:

    First of all, we determine the current state of digitization in your company in a maturity assessment in order to derive potential fields tailored to your needs.

    Concept development includes workshops as an introduction, the development of use cases, the definition of a roadmap for the introduction of digitization measures, the selection of projects according to costs and benefits, and communication within the company.

    Examples of measures which could be planned and implemented within the scope of such a project are the upgrading of existing automation technology, the integration of sensor technology, the generation and use of production data, and the development of approaches for networked and autonomous production.

    We will accompany you during the subsequent implementation of your digitization measures.

    The result:

    The maturity level of your company is determined in a substantiated manner. You receive a clear roadmap for the digitization of your company, including the potential for improvement and the necessary measures.

    We provide you with the support you need to set up your company in a future-oriented manner and to smoothly manage your transformation towards digitization.


  • Your requirements:

    Your company has implemented a technology project at a production facility or plant and you are planning to transfer the results to other facilities or other sites?

    We would be happy to support you in this roll-out.

    Our approach:

    Together with you, we analyze the implemented measures from a scientific and technical perspective and systematically optimize them for further roll-out, for example by defining company-specific site roles, improving product design, structuring process planning, all the way through to the transfer of automation solutions or digital infrastructure concepts.

    A site or project could conceivably be proclaimed as a “lighthouse”.

    The result:

    You achieve a consistent and economically successful transfer or multiplication of innovations within your organization.

    A lighthouse develops radiance and serves as a motivation and good example within and, if desired, also outside of your company.

Specific Project Formats

  • Your requirements:

    You need a partner who takes responsibility for the implementation of sensitive technology projects with a high degree of innovation, such as the introduction of automation solutions or complex projects in the field of surface finishing, and leads them to success - together with you?

    Then please do not hesitate to contact us.

    Our approach:

    As a reliable partner, we master the complexity of your new technology and even incorporate elements of it into your project. We carry out technology-relevant subsections for you or operate your new technology for you.

    In this context, we also take over the coordination and project management for other directly related subsections.

    Furthermore, we take responsibility for the commissioning and the training for your employees.

    The result:

    Your investment will be transferred into operation in a precise manner, your employees will be enthusiastic about the innovations, and all participants will be involved in the accompanying changes.

  • Your requirements:

    You are facing a challenge which you cannot handle alone at the current time?

    You are looking for like-minded partners with whom you can drive forward innovations for your company and exchange ideas?

    You want to always be at the cutting edge of technology?

    You want to strengthen your market position and improve the cooperation with your customers and suppliers?

    Then become part of our network.

    Our approach:

    In a network managed by the Fraunhofer IST, you, as a member, will be provided with the opportunity to establish partnerships with technology providers and developers.

    You will learn first-hand about the latest trends and future-relevant technology fields.

    Together with other partners, we identify innovative concepts, implement them in pilot applications, and document each step so that a smooth transfer into your products or production is possible.

    Consortia are set up in three forms: as a development in working groups, as a consortium project in a round of similar partners, or as consortia among partners in a supply chain.

    The result:

    You benefit from a powerful network in which you have the opportunity to actively shape, test and adapt technologies and innovations to your requirements.

    You achieve the consolidation of your market position and the introduction of new technologies into your company.

  • Your requirements:

    You have a need for innovation and are looking for a reliable partner for a long-term development partnership?

    Do you want to be seen as an innovation driver on the market and by your employees?

    Then we recommend our Enterprise Lab.

    Our approach:

    The Enterprise Lab is a long-term collaboration in which, as a rule, several R&D issues are investigated in parallel.

    Findings from current research are transferred directly into practice.

    You have the opportunity to work systematically on strategic topics outside your own corporate structures.

    The focus is on the future requirements for your value creation.

    A steering committee consisting of representatives from your company and the Fraunhofer IST monitors the progress of the projects in terms of content and financial framework.

    In the steering committee, agile measures are defined or new projects are initialized.

    The cooperation lasts 3 to 5 years, whereby the annual investment volume is typically defined at the beginning of the cooperation.

    The result:

    The projects in the Enterprise Lab benefit from the long-term and trusting cooperation in the well-attuned project team, consisting of the experts of the Fraunhofer IST and your employees.

    Expenses for contract modalities and training are reduced by the fixed contract framework.

    Your company benefits from a continuous infusion of expertise and therefore achieves a sustainably good positioning for the future.

  • Your requirements:

    You have a need for innovation and would like to apply for a funded project due to the development risk?

    You need R&D competences of companies or institutes, not only from Germany but also from abroad?

    You are from a small or medium-sized company outside Germany and would like to benefit from the extensive special funding opportunities for SMEs?

    Then please do not hesitate to contact us.

    Our approach:

    European projects within the framework of funding programs are an excellent opportunity for accessing competencies of foreign partners and developing them into innovative solutions in collaboration with the IST.

    Funding programs for European projects are extremely diverse and can be selected by us to precisely suit the topic, duration, form of cooperation and funding requirements.

    Funding bodies are the European Commission or alliances of national funding bodies.

    European funding programs cover all stages of the required technology maturity: from basic research, through laboratory scale, prototypes and demonstrators, and on to production technology ready for series production and market launch.

    We have a wide range of relationships with foreign R&D partners and can therefore help you find the missing competencies for your project, be it research institutions or companies.

    We consider the interests of all partners regarding their individual business plans and IP situations.

    We have extensive experience in the selection, application and conclusion of grant agreements and consortium agreements as well as in the management of European projects.

    The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft headquarters and the Fraunhofer internal EU network provide us with support in all administrative matters.

    We involve external consulting institutions such as the National Contact Points for the highest possible chances of success for the funding applications.

    The result:

    You receive competent support in the selection, application and implementation of European funding projects.

    Together with competent partners from abroad, you develop R&D results that advance your innovations - for every stage of the development process.

    Subsequently, follow-up projects or direct technology transfers enable the timely implementation of your innovation strategy.

    Project examples:

    ·    Drinking-water treatment with diamond electrodes - SafeWaterAfrica

    ·    Patient-individualized bone-replacement products for regenerative medicine - FAST

    ·    Ultrahard optical diamond coatings - ULTRAHARD

  • Your requirements:

    You are looking for support in your own material and process development?

    In your quality assurance, you want to take random samples beyond your standard procedures and analyze them in depth?

    You have a damage case in the material area and need a fast damage analysis?

    You have unknown material or layer systems and require reverse engineering?

    Our approach:

    Individual contracts: You explain your problem to us and we try to understand everything relevant for the analysis. Needless to say, absolute confidentiality is a matter of course.

    We advise you on the use and optimal combination of analysis methods and explain what results we will deliver.

    You will receive a fixed-price offer, which precisely defines the planned work.

    Our team of experienced scientists, engineers and technicians will usually process your samples within a few days or 1-2 weeks.

    You will receive a qualified report with graphs, pictures and explanations. Thereafter, we are still available to answer any questions or provide further advice.

    In addition to individual orders, many customers also take advantage of the opportunity to conclude framework agreements with us, which guarantee preferential processing and reduced administrative work. We also grant reduced hourly rates (quantity discount) for correspondingly large volumes.

    Finally, there is also the possibility of mutually performing a bilateral or externally funded scientific project, in which you can draw on our equipment park and analytical expertise.

    The result:

    You receive a comprehensible analytical report which you can also forward to your customers.

    Once the order has been completed, we are still available to explain the analysis results and provide further advice.

    You benefit from our 30 years of experience in material and surface analysis for industrial customers.

    In addition, the concentrated expertise of our Institute for Surface Engineering and Thin Films is available in the background with specialists for all questions regarding PVD, CVD, electrochemical or atmospheric pressure plasma coating processes.


    Project examples:

    ·         Comprehensive characterization of hard coatings: hardness testing, wear testing, chemical composition, crystal structure, layer thicknesses, layer structure.

    ·         Analysis of optical coating systems, e.g. low-E coatings, optical filters, optical mirrors, etc.: characterization of layer structure, determination of layer thicknesses in the nanometer range, chemical depth-profile analysis, crystal structure of individual layers, optical properties such as refractive index, transmission, reflection, absorption as a function of wavelength, etc.

    ·         Damage analysis: characterization of discolorations, point defects, corrosion phenomena, particle inclusions, residues, coating-adhesion problems, material abrasion, efflorescence or non-compliance of coating properties.