The plant and mechanical engineering industry is the most important economic factor in the Neckar-Alb region. This area surrounding Reutlingen, Tübingen, and Zollernalb belongs to the state of Baden-Württemberg, the strongest mechanical engineering region in Europe according to the VDMA (Verband Deutscher Maschinen- und Anlagenbau, German Engineering Association). A quick look at the sales markets of regional companies only confirms it: Engineering achievements from Swabia's "Region of Inventors" are in global demand.
Mechanical Engineering Companies
A close proximity to the Metropolitan Region of Stuttgart and big car manufacturers like Porsche, Daimler, and Audi is the secret to a healthy, modern industry and the reason why the Neckar-Alb region can stand shoulder to shoulder with these well-known companies.
Although primarily dominated by mid-sized companies, our region is also home to many leaders on the global market. These include companies like Robert Bosch GmbH (automotive), Stoll GmbH & Co. KG (flat knitting machines), Groz-Beckert KG (needles for textile machinery), Walter GmbH (tool making), and Manz AG (solar technology). Regional machine manufacturers benefit from optimal site conditions and an excellent infrastructure with short distances in an environment where suppliers and service providers work hand-in-hand with the production industry on-site.
The international success of locally developed and manufactured products and the high level of dynamic innovation in Baden-Württemberg’s mechanical engineering sector isn’t just a happy coincidence; business-related research and development are pushed here more than in any other German state. According to the Baden-Württemberg International GmbH (bw-i), companies in Baden-Württemberg invest a third of all R&D expenditures in mechanical engineering.
Machine and tool manufacturers in the Neckar-Alb region work closely with local research institutions, e.g. with the Natural and Medical Sciences Institute (NMI) at the University of Tübingen in the field of "surface and interfacial technology". At the NMI, research focuses as much on nanotechnology and new materials as on sealing technologies.
The official inauguration of the Virtual Reality Lab at Albstadt-Sigmaringen University in June 2010 has allowed mechanical engineering students and companies to break boundaries and cross into new dimensions. This relatively new technology simulates machines, plants, and processes in a virtual environment, allowing the mechanical engineering industry to forgo the construction of prototypes and thus reduce costs. The Virtual Reality Lab works with companies in the region to conduct valuable research that brings R&D to a whole new level.