Competence Center Forest and Wood 4.0

  A harvester in the forest © Stephan Wein  

The importance of the forestry and wood industry cluster in North Rhine-Westphalia is considerable - and often underestimated. More than a quarter of NRW is covered by forest, and the forestry and timber industry is a considerable economic factor with around 18,000 companies, 38 billion Euros in sales, 165,000 employees, 7 percent of sales or 9 percent of employment in the manufacturing sector, and 152,000 private forest owners. The diversity and the number of actors/stakeholders involved, the complexity of structures and processes as well as the manifold and often conflicting demands on forest management can only be insufficiently mastered with the current (information) technical and business management approaches.

In the manufacturing industry, the answer to the increasing complexity of products and production systems is Industry 4.0. Expert workshops and preliminary conceptual work based on them show that Industry 4.0 concepts provide urgently needed new approaches to lead the forest and wood cluster into the future by optimizing existing processes but also with new business models. The transfer of the Forest and Wood 4.0 vision into practice cannot be achieved by individual manufacturers of machines and software. Rather, existing competencies from business, science and administration must be bundled in an overarching approach. This is precisely what the Forest and Wood 4.0 Competence Center is intended to do. The main objective of this project is therefore to create the conditions for the initial establishment of a Forest and Wood 4.0 Competence Center and its establishment in the Forest and Wood Cluster. Within the framework of the project, the necessary organizational and infrastructures are to be created, the necessary critical mass of know-how is to be built up and implemented in concrete forest and wood 4.0 components in new Smart Forest Labs.

The work of the WZL focuses on the transfer of Industry 4.0 concepts and methods to the forest and wood cluster as well as the development of a communication infrastructure for the application in the forest and wood cluster.

This project is funded by the European Union and the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.