Networks and cooperation

Networks and cooperation

Festo research partners  

The trusting collaboration with strategic partners has a high significance for Festo: By maintaining active network activities and dialogue with partners from business, science and politics, Festo can quickly pick up on impetus from the global research environment.

In targeted research collaborations and joint projects, Festo develops future-oriented technologies together with its partners and thus makes a key contribution to securing its top technological position over the long term.

The dynamic developments in the different areas of technology enable new, future-oriented solution methods. In this respect, complex technological questions require an effective interplay between various specialists beyond professional and organisational boundaries.

Festo practises a research and innovation culture based on partnership. Together with network partners, Festo develops future perspectives and intelligent approaches and thus contributes to securing Germany as a technology location.

Open Innovation

Opening up the innovation process beyond company boundaries (open innovation) expands a company's own technological perspectives. Festo uses research collaboration as well as nationally and internationally funded joint projects for this purpose. By transferring scientific knowledge to industrial applications, Festo manages to bring about landmark innovations.

As a partner in joint projects, besides its technical expertise and project management competence, Festo also contributes its many years of experience in putting together project consortia as well as applying for and administrating funding projects.

Research networks

Here is a selection of the regional, national and international networks Festo is involved in:

Industry 4.0 platform

Industry 4.0 platform

In the platform, representatives from politics, associations and trade unions as well as from business and science, together shape the digital structural change in industry. Festo is involved in the platform's steering committee and in working committees.

About the Industry 4.0 platform

Fluid engineering in the VDMA

Fluid engineering specialist association in the VDMA

The fluid engineering specialist association in the VDMA supports the interests of 200 German hydraulics, pneumatics and sealing technology manufacturers and thus represents over 85 per cent of the German market. It is also an important platform for the mutual exchange of information. Festo is on the board of the fluid engineering specialist association and is also active in the pre-competitive joint research in the fluid engineering research fund.

Fluid engineering in the VDMA


Baden-Württemberg innovation alliance

innBW, the innovation alliance of Baden-Württemberg, is an association of 12 non-profit, business-related research institutes, which work in important fields of the future. They are institutionally funded by the state and make a considerable contribution to the transfer of technology. The innovation alliance thus plays a key role for the research and technology policy of the State of Baden-Württemberg. Festo is an innovation partner and on the board of the institutes involved.

More about innBW

microTEC South-West

microTEC South-West

The cross-sectoral technology cluster in the south-west of Germany was honoured in 2010 as a national cutting-edge cluster. In the field of microsystem technology, it is one of the largest networks in Europe with over 360 partners. Festo is a network partner and represented on the board of the association.

More about microTEC South-West

European technology platform, ManuFuture


ManuFuture is an important industrial platform for exchanging information about all topics in the field of production and it is used as an instrument of EU innovation policy.  The members – companies, associations, research institutes and universities – formulate strategic research agendas for European industry. Festo is represented in the International Support Group (preparation of strategies) and the High Level Group (decision-making body).

All you need to know about ManuFuture

EFFRA – European Factories of the Future Research Association


EFFRA is an industrial association founded by Manufuture and leading industrial associations, which pools private and public resources to back market-oriented projects in the European Union. Festo is respresented on the board and works on the Public Private Partnership Board together with the European commission on the formulation of new funding tenders.

More about EFFRA

ARENA 2036 research campus

ARENA 2036 research campus

The ARENA2036 research campus (“Active Research Environment for the Next Generation of Automobiles”) is a new form of cooperation, in which partners from science and business research future topics under one roof together relating to production and lightweight construction on the premises of Stuttgart University The main emphasis of the new research factory is on developing intelligent, multi-material lightweight construction for the automotive production of the future with the focus on Industry 4.0.

Go to the Arena2036 website

Start-up cooperations

As a leader in innovation, we have our eyes on the future and are always on the lookout for good ideas. Partnerships and cooperation are an integral part of our corporate philosophy. For this reason, we support and foster start-ups and accompany them on their way towards industrial practice. Since 2014 we have been working together with several promising start-ups that benefit from Festo’s industry expertise.


Festo is a partner in the TechFounders Accelerator programme

The TechFounders Accelerator is a 20-week-long programme in which technology start-ups and established partners from the industry are put together. With the help of various mentors and their networks, the start-ups prepare their business idea with the aim of producing initial applications in the form of pilot projects. Besides Festo, BMW, Bosch, Linde and Miele are involved in the Accelerator programme.

Go to the TechFounders website

M.Tech Accelerator

Festo is a partner in the M.Tech Accelerator – Engineering the Future of Mobility

The M.Tech Accelerator is a key platform for technology start-ups in the south of Germany, providing new impetus for the development of the engineering and mobility region of Stuttgart. The programme is supported by the state capital, Stuttgart, as well as by bwcon GmbH, TTI GmbH, wizemann space and the business development agency for the region of Stuttgart. After the application phase, 25 start-ups are taken into the accelerator programme all year round and looked after for 12 months. The M.Tech Accelerator supports individuals and founding teams with innovative products or business models from the fields of mobility, manufacturing and engineering which are in the (pre-)formation phase.

Go to the M.Tech Accelerator website


Festo is a partner of the innovation platform

Peakzone networks medium-sized companies with start-ups and aims to support them in the industrial environment when facing challenges posed by digital transformation. The key task of the accelerator programme based in Munich is to bring companies together with start-ups from the fields of robotics and Internet of Things for an 18-week pilot project. Besides Festo, Wacker Chemie is one of the first partners to join the programme.

Go to the peakzone website



The Munich start-up Soley specialises in innovative analysis solutions. At the heart of the business model is a range of software in the field of smart data analyses. Large volumes of data, for example as part of product portfolio analyses, can be systematically evaluated in this way. This ensures quick and reliable results. The four-person founding team is made up of mechanical engineers and software developers.

Pilot project at Festo

Festo is currently trying out the Soley smart data solution in the planning of product discontinuation.Until now, parts lists for products being removed from the range had to be put together manually, dependencies identified and the effects on modules and single parts deduced. Once this had been done, the lists were prepared.Now it is possible to make these steps more efficient; with the help of the tool, effects can be identified quicker and all dependencies looked at as a whole. As a result, even large projects can be carried out more practically in the future. The project team is currently working on a planning tool that can be used to simulate the effects of new products on component stocks and requirements at an early stage.

More about Soley
Go to the article on technology in 60 seconds




ProGlove develops wearables for the industry, such as computer technologies which are worn on the body. After winning the Intel ‘Make it wearable’ competition, the company was founded by engineers and innovation consultants in Munich in December 2014. The first product made by the start-up is ‘Mark’ – an intelligent glove with an integrated scanner, which improves and simplifies production and logistics processes.

Pilot project at Festo

The ‘Mark’ glove is being used in the logistics department at the Festo Technology Plant in Scharnhausen. Tugger train drivers use the glove at the assembly workstations to scan the goods to be transported away and thus work much faster than with a handheld scanner. The working process is more ergonomic and gives the users a greater freedom of movement.

More about ProGlove
Go to the article on technology in 60 seconds
Go to the how-to video




Simple networking of various interfaces, appliances and machines – this is the objective pursued by the Stuttgart start-up aucobo. The two-person founder team started its work at the beginning of 2016. Their smart systems, for example a smartwatch, enable information to be easily exchanged between employees and machines. Processes in production are thereby optimally networked with each other.

Pilot project at Festo

The mobile machine operation is already being used at the Scharnhausen Technology Plant. The production workers can use the smartwatches to make adjustments in a flexible manner. Status changes and machine faults are sent directly to the employees on their smartwatch. It is also possible to ask for support from other facilities. The solutions increase machine availability and reduces unnecessary walking by the employees in production.

More about aucobo




The Austrian software developer, Holo-Light, focuses on Industry 4.0 solutions with augmented reality devices such as the Microsoft HoloLens. The user of such devices can enhance their real surroundings with additional information digitally. Holo-Light develops intuitively usable mixed reality software products for a wide range of industry applications, such as data glasses during production or at trade fairs. The start-up was founded in April 2015.

Pilot project at Festo

The HoloLens data glasses are being tried for the first time in a pilot project at the Festo plant in Rohrbach. The technology helps with typical, repetitive processes, for example during employee orientation processes. Instead of working directly on the machine in the factory, the assembly process is projected in a training room via the data glasses.

With the help of holographic images and voice instructions, the operating procedures, including all the necessary details, can now be learnt virtually step by step. Practising assembly processes, getting to know products and providing important conduct and safety training courses: with the data glasses, these training stages can take place without interrupting the production flow. The HoloLens application thus helps to save costs and time as well as to produce well-trained employees.

More about Holo-Light




The aim of inveox is to develop a fully automated pathology laboratory. The focus here is on standardising the preparation of human tissue samples for cancer diagnosis purposes. The start-up also deals with approaches to increase efficiency in the laboratory and at the same time guarantee error-free processes. For this purpose, inveox is developing both an intelligent sample container as well as a facility with which the handling of tissue samples in the laboratory can be automated.

Pilot project at Festo

In the pilot project at Festo, an automated system for pathological applications is being tested which can be used to handle containers with patient tissue samples. The vessels needed as consumables in the laboratory process are produced using injection-moulding technology.

More about inveox


Contact us!

Team Start-ups

Are you developing a promising technology from the automation field and looking for partners to put it into practice? Please get in touch. We will help you to implement your idea.

The Festo start-up team.

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