Mechanical Engineering Industry in Thuringia

Mechanical engineering is the fastest-growing industry in Thuringia despite ever intensifying competition. This clearly shows that the state offers excellent conditions for generating innovations and launching internationally successful products. Implementing automation strategies enables local companies to assert their leading position in the global market place.


Thuringia offers outstanding innovation and growth opportunities for firms working in special machine construction and robotics. This is clearly demonstrated by the following companies that have successfully implemented Automation concepts.Thuringia offers outstanding innovation and growth opportunities
for firms working in special machine construction and robotics. This is clearly demonstrated by the following companies that have successfully implemented automation concepts.

Facts & Figures

  • More than 400 companies
  • Around 18,000 employees
  • 3.1 billion Euros sales
  • 42.8 percent export quota
  • 50,000 students, including 19,000 on engineering courses
  • Attractive customers, suppliers and cooperation partners of the metalworking industry are located nearby

Main production areas

Core competences:

  • Laser Technology, Rapid Tooling, Robotics, Additive Manufacturing, Machining, Metal Processing, Materials Technology and Textile Processing

Special machine engeneering focused on:

  • Automation Technology, Modern Tool and Mold Making, Software and Hardware

Specialist Areas:

  • Fine- and Micromechanics, Precision Parts, Mechatronics, Automation/Machine Learning, Assisted Robotics, Service Robotics, MSR and Sensor Technology
  • Workforce

    Thuringia offers mechanical engineering firms a pool of qualified personnel of outstanding quality – from excellently skilled workers in all the necessary technical professions to highly qualified graduate engineers and software developers.

    University education

    Thuringia‘s technically oriented universities are continuing the state‘s long engineering traditions. In the 2018/2019 winter semester alone, not less than 1,200 students were enrolled on mechanical engineering courses. Ilmenau University of Technology and Schmalkalden University of Applied Sciences have repeatedly achieved leading positions in the university rankings of the German weekly newspaper “DIE ZEIT” and the Centre for University Development (CHE).

    Selected degree programs:

    Ilmenau University of Technology

    Ernst Abbe University of Applied Sciences Jena

    University of Applied Sciences Schmalkalden

    University of Cooperative Education Gera-Eisenach

    • Construction
    • Kunststofftechnik
    • Mechatronics und Automation 

    University of Applied Science Nordhausen

    Mehnert Lab Erfurt

    The idea of the Mehnert Lab is to gain practical experience in handling the machines. That‘s why, in addition to new media, the Mehnert Lab primarily uses their customers‘ original machines. During training, the participants learn how to deal with challenges they will face on the job – but under expert guidance andwithout the time pressure of an ongoing production process. This is how we combine theory and practice under real-world conditions to create a lasting experience.

    Basic and further training

    To ensure that the mechanical Engineering sector continues to have a sufficient pool of skilled labor in the future, Thuringia places a strong focus on qualification. Young people can train for skills, for example, in the fields of metal cutting, mechanical and plant Engineering and tool and mold making.

    Selected training vocations:

    • Cutting machine operator
    • Industrial mechanic
    • Metalworker

    Thuringia also specifically promotes and supports training cooperations in the metalworking sector. For example, businesses and vocational Training institutes have formed alliances at regional and local level to be able to train more young people and retrainees. The Chambers of Industry and Commerce (CIC’s) and Chambers of Craft Trades also offer further training programs.

    WIS – the further training informationsystem of the CIC

    Further training activities offered by the Erfurt Chamber of Craft Trades

  • Research and Development

    Thuringian Center for Mechanical Engineering (ThZM)

    The Thuringia Center for Mechanical Engineering (ThZM) acts as an innovation partner for modern mechanical engineering technologies. It supports industrial companies in all stages of their process and production chain and finds expert cooperation partners for solving their research and development projects.

    Areas of Expertise:

    • Versatile production methods and manufacturing chains
    • Interactive assistance systems for production
    • Adaptive process and versatile quality control

    Research institutions participating in the ThZM:

    These bodies support companies in all phases – from the initial idea to market readyness.

    FerMeTh - Cluster for Production Engineering and Metal Processing in Thuringia

    FerMeTh serves as a cooperation platform for firms operating in the Thuringian metalworking industry. It helps them sustain their competitiveness and so secure their long-term market opportunities. It also assists in overcoming the structural disadvantages of SME businesses. Its activities lie especially in the fields of R&D, production cooperation, marketing and sales, and ensuring the availability of qualified Labor.

    Mittelstand 4.0 - Competence Center Ilmenau
    The concept of „Mittelstand 4.0“ stands for „Industrial IoT for medium-sized businesses“. The competence
    center in Ilmenau Showcases real-life demonstration and implementation projects, thus offering a hands-on approach to digitalization. It supports local companies to set up automated solutions in response to the practical challenges they are facing. Five model factories located in Ilmenau, Jena, Schmalkalden and Sondershausen show examples of digital production solutions and invite other Entrepreneurs to try them out.

  • Selected companies

    3D-Schilling GmbH
    For more than 20 years, 3D-Schilling from Sondershausen has been offering rapid prototyping and rapid anufacturing using various technologies like stereo lithography, aser sintering, vacuum casting as well as prototypes from original materials, tool making and Engineering services.

    Bystronic Maschinenbau GmbH
    Bystronic is a Swiss company with worldwide operations, supplying application-compliant systems and  services for laser and water jet cutting processes and bending technology. Every consumer comes into indirect contact with the bending machines produced by about 200 employees at the production and development center in Gotha. It is here that, among many other things, aircraft components, automobile parts and even washing machine panels are formed.

    HORSCH Maschinen GmbH
    In Ronneburg near Gera, HORSCH operates one of the most modern production facilities for agricultural machinery in Europe. Located directly adjacent to the A4 motorway, the plant displays great potential for further growth and and additional production expansion.

    MetraLabs GmbH
    MetraLabs are specialists in mobile service robotics with long-term experience. In 2007, the company launched the first interactive shopping robot in the world. Since then, MetraLabs has developed over 250 robots for various applications worldwide. Collectively, their robots have accumulated more than 70,000 km of driving experience.

    Schuler Pressen GmbH, branch “Umformtechnik Erfurt”
    Umformtechnik Erfurt is a subsidiary of the Schuler Group in Europe devoted exclusively to production and service. It manufactures systems for the automotive, supplier, electrical and domestic appliance industries. Its products range from welding components of up to 230 tonnes in weight to mechanical machining and installations involving a variety of mechanically driven presses as well as complex plants and machinery.

    Further selected companies:

Successfull in Thuringia


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Downloads and information


  • Factsheet Mechanical Engineering

    One of the key industries of Thuringia s̓ economy. (Not barrier-free file)

    Download[pdf, 1 MB]


Sebastian Scheit

Sebastian Scheit Director Mechanical Engineering/Electrical Engineering/Electronics and Optics

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