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Robotics in Southern Germany

The Danish Trade Council

Robotics in Southern germany

About this website

Innovation Centre Denmark in Munich has created this site to improve awareness about the robotics cluster in Southern Germany for Danish stakeholders.

On this site you will find information on the current state of the robotics and automation ecosystem and the Southern German economy. We have also mapped some of the biggest players within the industry, including companies, research institutions and clusters. 

Check out our learnings and recommendations for Danish robotics companies and startups and how we can help you to succeed in Germany.

The German Robotics hub

Get the newest facts and information about one of the fastest growing robotics regions in the world.

Meet the ecosystem

We have mapped some of the most interesting stakeholders in the region, including companies, research institutions and clusters.

Check out our learnings and recommendations

Insights and recommendations on how to conquer Germany. Let us help you!

How can we help?

We have developed a number of exciting tailor-made offers for Danish robotics companies in collaboration with our local network. Check them out!


Southern Germany
a world class hub for robotics companies

How can your Danish robotics company leverage its strategic advantages when entering the German market? How can you tap into a wealth of knowledge, without a huge investment of time and money? We’ve got you covered! 

Why southern germany?

Germany is the world’s third most important hub for robotics and the first in Europe. With 10% annual growth rate, over the past decade, and a doubling in turnover from 2010 to 2017, the robotics sector in Germany is seeing success unlike any other country. When it comes to implementation, it not only has the highest density of robots per person, but likewise the fastest rate of incorporating new robots.

When it comes to production, the country is making full use of its potential, besides its historical strength in industrial robotics, it positioned itself strategically within key-growth sectors such as Human-robot collaboration (HRC) and machine vision (MV) technologies. The rise of AI and machine learning is further propelling the importance of these two fields. The 2018 turnover for robotics, Integrated Assembly Solutions and MV Technologies was 14.2 billion Euros, an 11% increase from 2017.

Rest of Germany
Number of Robotics clusters in Germany

Southern Germany and the Munich area in particular are spearheading this development due to the many clusters, academic networks, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), mobility providers and tech companies in the region. For tech, it is by far the Silicon Valley of Germany. 

The Environment

The economies in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg are Germany’s strongest. With its 12 Million people, if Bavaria were to be a country it would claim the title as Europe’s sixth wealthiest. Low unemployment, stability, high level of production and innovation drive the tech sector.

The country’s automotive industry is where the most innovative production processes are currently established. This is due to new electric car models and hybrids, but also simply due to the high volume. Bavaria hosts BMW and Audi whilst Baden-Württemberg has Mercedes. Germans believe in tight quality control, keeping their production close and in this regard, BMW even has a gigantic assembly line in Munich city, building more than 1000 cars a day.

The entire country is a great place for business to thrive, both in terms of productivity and investment. Low growth rates in wages, highly flexible work-contracts, and round-the-clock work production permits make it very EU-competitive. On top of that, any company, no matter from which country, is eligible for a wide range of financial incentives such as reimbursement of direct investment cost, and support for R&D and labour. Germany is repeatedly voted at the top for “Best for doing Business” and has since 2016 held the highest marks for “Quality of Infrastructure”. Besides world-class robotics companies and other important stakeholders, Southern Germany is also rich on automation-hungry industries.

Automotive Industry

In the country’s thriving auto industry, 60-100 extra robots were installed per thousand workers in 2014, compared to 1994. The industry is such a big player it accounts for 20% of the total domestic industry revenue generated, with 1/3 of all global autototive R&D spending made by German OEMs.

BMW has since 2017 topped up on their 40 large light-build robots with 20 new ones. These are typically the KUKA arms, with high precision and flexibility, relieving workers from highly repetitive small-movement tasks.

Augmented reality and exoskeletons are also increasingly being used in supporting BMWs middle-skilled workers. In general, robotics and human work still very much goes hand-in-hand, and automotive industry in Southern Germany is looking for solutions in this field.

It’s not only the production side which is becoming more automated, most of the suppliers of the automotive industry are likewise in Southern Germany (15/21), and they’re very much in demand of heightened efficiency.

Other industries

Besides the car industry, next in line in terms of importance are the electrical and electronics industries (including semiconductors). Other sectors worth mentioning include metal, food, and packaging, just as are non-manufacturing industries, for example intelligent traffic technology, medical diagnostic equipment and surgical technologies. Common for all is that MV tech is weighing heavier each year.


A major reason for the success of robotics in Germany is the vast amount of investment being pumped into R&D every year. Germany offers up nearly 3% of it’s GDP, the 4th largest share in the world. To seal it off, number of industrial robot patents is very high. For the cause of especially Human-Tech interaction, the German government is issuing 70 million Euros a year to companies and research institutions up until 2020. Academics at LSE laud Munich as a model of “institutional thickness”, meaning there is a more speedy process of economic transformation taking place, as everyone from voluntary agencies to local elites is closely knit, more strongly affecting things such as local policy and shared standpoints.

Top tier universities in Bavaria
invested yearly in research by the Bavarian state government

The heavy scientific basis is what is pulling the ICT, BioTech and Environmental Tech industries up in Southern Germany. There’s highly educated people, and a large exchange between research and application that no other area of Germany can compete with.

focus on technology

Tradition and innovation go together in Bavaria: the state stole the limelight for large industry from Berlin during the occupation, and now hosts many of the top tech companies’ HQs. Besides large companies, the famous ’Mittelstand’ is contributing to the High Tech developments – worth a mention are the 550 US IT small to medium-sized firms have settled here in the past decades.

 Robotics & Cobots 29,6%

Integrated Assembly Solutions 52,1%

■ Machine Vision technologies 18,3%

Breakdown of Robotics & Automation Turnover in Germany 2017


With the shift to industry, 4.0 collaborative robots (cobots) hold a lot of promise. As the name indicates, these robots can collaborate with human workers; they are more manageable, and assist a person at different times, not necessarily fixated in a certain position. Together with this development, of course, follow the platforms through which the Human-Robot interactions are managed. Cobots are expected to take a 34% share of the robotics market up to 2025.

The Service and Assistance Robots Industry (SARI) is likewise booming. Once again, Germany is a frontrunner, producing a large proportion of the medical robots and logistics systems, and having a predicted growth potential in the next years of over 10%. With such a development, SARI could reach the sales level of industrial robots by 2025.

  • 61
  • 66
  • 126
  • 242
  • 353
  • 508
  • 637
  • 735

Projected sales of collaborative robots worldwide from 2018 to 2025 (in 1,000 units)

Machine Vison (MV) Technologies

The application ranges from component-identification to quality control and data collection. This also includes image processing, in which Germany has the largest share (30 percent) of the total European industry turnover. In less than a decade, the domestic turnover for image processing has doubled. Also areas of metal, food, packaging, and other sectors such as traffic technology or medical diagnostic equipment alike are seeing a surge in MV-utility. Especially in concurrence with industry 4.0 goals of the Government, MV is the cornerstone of future data extraction and analysis of data-driven production.

The Service and Assistance Robots Industry (SARI) is likewise booming. Once again, Germany is a frontrunner, producing a large proportion of the medical robots and logistics systems, and having a predicted growth potential in the next years of over 10%. With such a development, SARI could reach the sales level of industrial robots by 2025.

The versatility of machine vision technology shows no limits. Always striving for higher quality, efficiency and product safety.

The Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA)

Integrated Assembly Solutions

IAS is the biggest sector within the robotics industry, employing 25 out of the total 53 thousand people working in robotics. Germany mainly specialises in the development of new hardware and the required parts for processes like forming, measuring, and testing. Biggest export markets for this sector are Northern America (US, Canada and Mexico) followed by Central and Eastern Europe, and then thirdly China. Exports to China have been decreasing since 2015 as China has started challenging Japan’s robotics domination in Asia.

Employed within Germany's integrated assembly and handling technology industry
Within Germany's Integrated Assembly Solutions industry

Like what you read?

We hope that our introduction to the Southern German robotics hub has peaked your interest. in the following section, we will introduce you to the some of the most interesting stakeholders within the region’s ecosystem.

The result is an interactive map of Southern Germany comprising of almost 100 entities within commercial and academic aspects of robotics, manufacturing and automation.


Explore the wealth of companies, clusters, networks, Research Institutions and Universities that make up the Robotics ecosystem in Southern Germany. We have mapped some of the most interesting stakeholders in the region.

Check out the full list here

A searchable list of robotics stakeholders in Southern Germany

Insights & Recommendations

on how to conquer Germany

Based on our market study, we have listed a series of insights and recommendations relevant for Danish robotics companies to follow when entering the German market. By drawing on our analysis and in-depth experience, Innovation Centre Denmark & The Danish Trade Council can help you to realize your full potential when accessing Denmark’s biggest trade partner country.

Robotics Insights
  • Third party collaborators are what most major robotics developers are interested in. When finding partners of good match, it can be beneficial to look at what products they are currently developing and offering specific technical expertise.
  • Keep industry 4.0 in mind. Germany is on a government-led mission to interconnect all electronic systems as much as possible – and be a world leader for this transformation. This accounts for everything from conveyor belts to the installation of new assisted service robots. The smarter and more flexible the process the better.
  • Korbinian Nottensteiner, from Institute fir Robotics and Mechatronics, of the German National Research Centre for Air-and Space travel predicts that what will weight heavy in future is the consciousness of robots, so they can themselves judge the process going forward: “especially SMEs need a reduction in time and cost during the installation process, and flexible use of space. Likewise, medical fields would need robots that can see / adjust / navigate efficiently.”
  • Human-robot interactions will only be strengthened. What is needed are robots that allow the human worker to focus on special cases, to act as a decider, and have an overlook over the entire process of production. Systems that can inform about the process as much as possible through data collection and feedback will be increasingly important.
  • Niche robotics products are in high demand – both for investors and big OEMs. If your product is highly specialized, Germany should be priority no. 1.
Germany’s hidden champions – your gateway to success
  • Germany has a vast amount of SMEs championing their specific niche, spread around Germany seamlessly defying any cluster theory are the backbone of the German economy and responsible for the heft behind the term “Made in Germany”.
  • The term Hidden Champions is coined as they are often family owned companies with close ties to local sub-suppliers and the surrounding society, making huge yearly turnovers and exports whilst remaining unknown to players outside of Germany.
  • This is changing in recent and coming years. Hardware competitors from the east, software giants redefining what competition means from the vest and changes in consumer behaviour and demand structures force the hidden champions out in the light. Pressure to innovate and digitize opens up these companies, as they get ever more aware of the fact they need to have communication channels directed at target groups, and more contact with what’s new.
Recommendations when entering the German market
  • Denmark as a country is perceived to be successfully digitally transformed not only when it comes the private but likewise the public sector – make as much use of this “frontrunner”-position

  • Make the dialogue with the German actors active, and do not come from too much of a sales-perspective. Germans have a very predictive style of negotiation, and do not like too much additional talk or charming.  

  • Germans stick to the expected agenda as they keep as close to the truth as possible. Expect a lot of clarifying questions, and for this reason always have all details ready. It is not going to be a ‘conversation’ but rather an inquisition where you have to defend your case in a factual manner. The Danish version passes through an “apparent agreement” – that is not common in Germany. An agreement is only formulated when one has been reached.

  • Precisely explain why your product can make a difference: have a very strong business case ready, with all it entails, and which provides evidence and efficiency. Consider working together with other actors (consortium). It is more powerful to sell a solution than singular products.

  • Germany is large and federal. Try to understand the logic behind the system – stay focused and patient.

  • There is a large step from being a market leader in Denmark to becoming it in Germany. Decision-processes, incentives and best-practices are different. Decisions usually have to be made by one, top-level executive – also seemingly insignificant ones. This can lead to a prolonged process as the extended arm of these decision-actors adjust their position according to you. Once, however, the position is established a very transparent, trustful, and much quicker process takes over. No reversion to old manners happen, and business relations often become permanent.

  • Just as any place else, network is very important in Germany. Go to relevant showcases and conferences. Especially the more local ones.

  • It is recommendable to speak German. “If you want to buy from Germany, English is enough. If you want to sell, you need German” is not entirely a joke. It is very important to begin the conversation with a potential partner/customer in German. Additionally, it can be difficult to find all the relevant information online or anywhere else (by calling) without knowing the language. Top-level management obviously speak proficient English, but again, it takes a while to get there.

  • Consultation and guidance from advisors with knowledge and experience could be a good idea. We can help you achieve a more direct and effective course of action.

Our services

Within robotics, The Danish Trade Council has the ambition to play a vital part in this industrial transformation. The Danish Trade Council will be the intermediary connecting German startups with established Danish OEMs and manufacturers and reversed help the Danish startups to get access to the hidden champions in Germany.

Suggestion 1

In recent years German machine manufacturers have been looking at new ways to generate income and push innovation. To do this they have created platforms. Exemplified by KUKA with the creation of Connyun and Trumpf with the opening of Axoom the two key-players in the german industries have reinvented themselves.

The idea is following the dynamic of the app-store by Apple. It was not only the iPhone which was new in 2008. The truly revolutionary, border breaking idea was the App-store. Pushing the innovation out in the ecosystem by enabling a third party developers companies, individuals, etc. co create use-cases with interfaces made the iPhone a game changing technology platforms. This is what robot manufacturer KUKA and Laser Cutter world market leader Trumpf have set out to do.

By creating software platforms “on top” of their hardware it enables an infinite number of new use-cases for the application of their machines. To get traction on these platforms however, software and new solutions need to be added. Thus, the machine industry is looking for startups able to add these new solutions.

We want to invite Danish startups to become part of these new platforms through means of workshops, hackathons, pitch nights, company visits and learning tours in Southern Germany.

Facilitated by The Danish Trade Council

suggestion 1

Concretely, we will be the connecting Danish startups with relevant, hidden, industry through organised hackathons and workshops. The outcomes of these will be for the companies to increase rate of innovation and you to explore new markets together. With a strong foothold in the Germany, you quite automatically gain access to the global market. Ultimately, you get a chance to grow, whether that is financially or through a longer partnership.

Suggestion 2

In Denmark Universal Robots is following the same idea with the establishment of the UR+ program. The program is aimed at inventors of solutions that build on the robot-arms by Universal robots. As co-creation is an especially pronounced trend at the moment and the UR arms are considerably cheap, many startups not only from Denmark but also the DACH region, have chosen these arms for the creation of their special-purpose end-of-arm tool.

The Danish Trade Council  has come up with a model for UR to get a hold of these startups from the German speaking region of Europe.

Phase I

Combining established university contact, mapping and screening of clusters and networks and tech-scouting The Innovation Centre will contact the potential UR+ startups and invite them to Denmark for a German startups day at UR HQ.

Services by The Danish Trade Council

suggestion 2, phase I

Phase II 

Having created attention for the concept, ICDK will further act as a funnel between UR and German startups. Alongside, ICDK will effectively market the UR+ program and make German end-customers aware of the variety of use cases existing on the platform – some of which are “Made in Germany”.

suggestion 2, phase II

Our services

  • Marketing of the UR+ platform
  • continuous startup scouting in Germany
  • workshop sessions
  • automated matchmaking for Danish & german robotics companies, OEMs, industry suppliers etc. on our website

Suggestion 3

Robotics are not confined to the site of production, their realm stretching into society and the public sector too. Governments in Denmark and Germany alike have a stake in bettering research opportunities at universities in order to increase chance of possible use cases or spinouts.

German universities, clusters, and Academies such as Acatech are propelling the collaboration between technological research and its commercial use through neutrally managed projects. Similarly, Danish Open Entrepreneurship Initiative matches up top researchers, university startups and investors in order to engage in common topics more effectively. Something akin to circular economy for knowledge, funding and utility, these players increase the profitability for both industry and public research institutions.


research players

Facilitated by The Danish Trade Council

suggestion 3

Together with Acatech and the Open Entrepreneurship Initiative, or any other institutions of their kind, we would co-host a roundtable for representatives from within Danish robotics research and German counterparts. Sponsored by industry, universities, or clusters that have an interest in furthering robotics research and applicability in Denmark, we give them an opportunity to learn from the German system of close institutional collaboration with the view to facilitate and speed up the commercialization of research

overall impact

Our role in the process is independent, informed consulting and matchmaking with both countries’ welfare in mind. Concerned with the long-term perspective on our societies, the aim is to generate benefits, both financial and social whilst increasing the international prospects of the actors taking part.

This seed project offers us the opportunity to build even more connections and synergies between highly specialised sectors, learning about them in the process. We are convinced Southern Germany is the perfect fit for Danish companies and institutions who are serious about internationalisation, and that the above introduction will be the first step in that direction.

Thank you for your time


Team Munich

meet the team in Munich


Lina Gandløse

Team Lead

Jon Pers

Team Lead
Research Attaché

Ulrik Kjøldsen

Research Attaché

Lotte Lundø


Jesper Christrup


Camilla Rønde Vestergaard


Where to find us


The Danish Trade Council
Innovation Centre Denmark
Royal Danish Consulate General
Türkenstr. 7
DE-80333 Munich

Contact Us

Interested in the German Market? Want to be part of the next batch of #goB2B_Munich startups or participate in other programs in the future? Send us an email or give us a call.

Through a number of different platforms we help Danish technology companies to enter the German market, Our advisors are ready to guide you on every aspect of innovation and high-tech activities in Germany.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Next steps

we continuously improve our offerings and new solutions within robotics for the German market.


Stay tuned for 2019.

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website by Jesper Christrup Jensen – jesjen