German Minister announces plan to take the lead in the new digital era of manufacturing

Germany’s Federal Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI), Alexander Dobrindt, has called for a new government department that will focus on leading the country in the digital era. The proposed “Bundesdigitalministeriums” or Federal Ministry of Digital will be responsible for areas including Industry 4.0, digital education and start-ups.

Speaking to German newspaper Bild am Sonntag Dobrindt said, “With this we can significantly increase our impact and join forces with the economy to reach the top in the new digital world.”

Currently, the responsibility for projects that can be categorized as digitalization is spread across several government departments, the Federal Ministries of the Interior, of Transport, of Economy and the Ministry of Education. The call to bring these projects together comes as the country enters an election year with the vote to elect members of the federal parliament taking place later this year.

Germany taking the lead in 3D printing

Speaking as a senior politician it is unlikely that these plans for a Digital Ministry do not have the backing of his party, the CSU. Germany has traditionally been a manufacturing powerhouse and this latest announcement is in line with other initiatives focused on ensuring the country maintains this position. The principles of “Industrie 4.0” have been at the heart of Germany’s advanced manufacturing strategy for the past 5 years and include initiatives to increase automation and further mass customization, this naturally includes 3D printing.

More recently high-level projects such as Deutsche Bahn’s Mobility goes Additive demonstrate commerce’s commitment to using 3D printing. This particular initiative is focused on digitizing logistics for the billion dollar rail transport company.

3yourmind prototype for Deutsche Bahn. Photo by Michael Petch
3yourmind prototype for Deutsche Bahn. Photo by Michael Petch

3D printing show to double in size

Further evidence of Germany’s commitment to advanced manufacturing can be seen in the resources deployed in staging last year’s trade show and expo, Formnext. The event is set to double in size for 2017.

In the United States, America Makes is the national accelerator for additive manufacturing and 3D printing while in the UK, Innovate UK serve a similar purpose. Both agencies provide funding for projects aligned with their goals and the UK agency is expected to publish its roadmap later this year. The results of British government sponsored initiatives have already yielded some interesting results, one of which is a 1,000 mph car enabled by 3D printing.

The Bloodhound SSC. Image via Bloodhound.
The Bloodhound SSC. Image via Bloodhound.

Let us know if these projects, or others, are your nomination for a 3D Printing Industry Award.