Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dieter Weidlich: A region well-equipped for the future

Mechanical engineering has a long tradition in Saxony. The territory is commonly believed to be the cradle of the industrial sector. Already in 1703, Johann Esche founded the first German factory for specialized machinery for the textile industry in Limbach. The German machine tool manu­­facturing industry also has its roots in Saxony. The first mechanical cloth weaving loom in the world, the first German high-speed colour press and sewing mech­­­­anism technology – all stem from Saxony.
Today, more than 38,000 people are employed in mechanical engineering in Saxony and the organizations in the sector transact business of more than six billion euros.


The Dresden region
In the Dresden region in eastern Saxony, there is a genuine focus, especially on the fields of research and development. From the Dresden University of Tech­­no­­l­­ogy and the University of Applied Sci­­enc­­es in Dresden to the Zittau/Görlitz Uni­­ver­­sity of Applied Sciences right up to the na­­tion-wide unique concentration of diverse research institutions of the Fraun­­hofer Society, the Max Planck Society and the Leibniz Association – in combination with the existing economy, this research and development landscape in the Dres­­den region proves itself to be ab­­solutely sustainable also in the long term.
In the Dresden and East Saxony region, the organizational landscape for mech­­anical and plant engineering distinguishes itself, in addition to research
– in Dresden in the following specialized areas:
• specialized machinery
• automation technology
• printing presses
• plant engineering as well as
• foodstuff- and
• packaging machines

– in Görlitz/Zittau in the following specialized areas:
• specialized machinery
• automation technology as well as
• machine tools and forming technology.
Excellent examples of market-leading organizations can be found in many of the modern mechanical and plant engineering spheres.

For instance, Trumpf Sachsen GmbH with its 400 employees produces high per­­for­­m­­ance laser cutting machines. The or­­ga­­ni­zation is one of the most prestigious machine tool producers in Saxony and stands for automated components and laser cutting machines.



On the other hand, in the specialized machine engineering and automation technology combination, the Siemens AG is the most well-known producer. Siemens Görlitz is a worldwide deliverer of and market-leader in steam turbines up to 150 megawatts.
In addition, the group’s competence centre of medium-capacity transformers is found in Dresden.

Beyond that, specialized machinery for the automation sector is produced in Dresden by the company XENON Auto­­ma­­ti­­sierungstechnik GmbH. In the area of plant engineering, the organizations Linde-­­KCA-Dres­­den and von Ardenne are to be mentioned.

In the printing press domain, the Koenig & Bauer AG, with its registered office in Radebeul, is the technological leader for waterless offset printing presses.
As exemplary specialists for foodstuff- and packaging machines, the Glatt Sys­­tem­­­­tech­­nik GmbH and the Thee­­garten-Pactec GmbH & Co. KG, both with registered of­­fices in Dresden, are to be men­­tioned. The economic sector is varied at the location and is able – across all political systems – to refer to a long operating experience



International competition
In order for market opportunities to be recognized and utilized, innovations in products and processes to be offered and economic reserves be made available, the Free State of Saxony has founded the Ver­­­bundinitiative Maschinen­­bau Sachsen (VEMAS – Saxony mechanical enigineering network initiative). VEMAS consolidates specialized areas into orga­­nizational networks and technological projects. In this way, research and devel­­opment can be promoted and innovative system solutions can be offered on the global market.
Since 2003, VEMAS has been operating on behalf of the Saxon State Ministry for Economic Affairs and Labour and it is administered by the Fraunhofer Insti­­tu­­te for Machine Tools and Forming Techno­­logy (IWU). The initiative finds industrial support through the competence centre of the Maschi­nenbau Chemnitz/Sachsen eV (mechanical engineering association).
The core tasks of the network initiative are the improvement of organizational innovation through technology transfer, the initiation of cooperation projects, sup­­porting the development of new markets as well as the acquisition and assurance of highly qualified skilled personnel. For the development of innovation and efficiency of Saxon SMEs, the activities of VEMAS are aimed at sustainable colla­­boration between science and economy.
For this purpose, in 2009 VEMAS already for the second time organized a joint par­­ticipation stand at the intec trade fair in Leipzig under the topic “Meeting Point for Industry and Science”. The im­­­ple­­men­­ta­­tion of topic-specific workshops and the initiation and attendance of cooperation pro­­jects in this year lead to a further strengthening of the technological capacity of organizations.
The focus of the development of new markets is primarily aimed at Russia and India. In addition to the support of Saxon organizations in the target markets on location, the attendance of foreign delegations in Saxony also contributes to­­wards the initiation of concrete cooperation pro­­jects.


The global financial market crisis may afflict many economic sectors. Long-term success is however granted to those who focus on innovation. The research-in­­ten­­sive environment in the Dresden region is a guarantor of mechanical engineering in the region and the whole of Saxony for entrepreneurial success and therewith also for growth and employment in the long term.
Investors are well-advised in and together with Saxony. Engineering – of course in Saxo­­ny!


WeidlichThe author was born in 1952 and studied mechanical engineering at the Chemnitz University of Tech­­no­­logy (TU). In 1982 he was awarded his doctorate and in 2002, was ap­­point­­ed extracurricular professor at the TU Chemnitz. He work­ed as chief engineer at the Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology. Since April 2009, Prof. Weidlich has been the project manager at the Ver­­­­­bund­ini­tia­tive Maschinenbau Sach­­­­sen VEMAS.