Enterprise Labs

Scope for cutting-edge technology

Innovative technologies and new business models drive growth, enable adaptability in dynamic markets and ensure competitive advantages. If companies want to set new standards in logistics, we develop forward-looking solutions with and for them in an Enterprise Lab.

Companies can no longer meet the current challenges in logistics with established methods and existing technologies. Innovations are crucial for the future viability and competitiveness of companies. If they want to continue to play a leading role in logistics - both nationally and internationally - they need to be familiar with the latest technologies and experiment with them in order to develop new strategies, increase their innovative strength and create the business of tomorrow. This is exactly what we offer you with an Enterprise Lab.  

From strategy to prototype, from idea to product

An Enterprise Lab is a technology and innovation format in which companies work hand in hand with scientists.

With an Enterprise Lab

  • an overarching, strategic topic can be driven forward in a targeted manner with power and expertise from research
  • innovative and technology-orientated business models, software and hardware can be developed and worked on quickly in agile sprints
  • new developments can be tested in practice, implemented and capitalised on

How do we work together in an Enterprise Lab?

At least three full-time equivalent (FTE) researchers from the Institute work for a company in an Enterprise Lab. Our Enterprise Lab partners have access to over 300 experts from a wide range of disciplines, who contribute their specialist expertise as required and supplement the team in phases at any time. The company's employees are fully integrated into the work and sub-projects of the Enterprise Lab as "company engineers".  

The team meets regularly at the institute, in particular to use the research infrastructure such as research halls, co-working spaces, workshops and laboratories. The team members are in close personal contact with each other. In addition to the intensive exchange between our researchers and the employees of the company, there is also a regular exchange at the level of the Executive Board and the Institute management.  

The minimum duration of an Enterprise Lab is three years, with the option to extend it. Companies such as DB Schenker have already extended their Enterprise Lab several times due to the successful collaboration. A partnership with the associated chairs at TU Dortmund University or the Fraunhofer Institute for Software and Systems Engineering ISST is also possible.

InterEnterpriseLab meeting: Lab companies exchange ideas

Networking and cooperation between the Enterprise Labs is a key added value of the format.  

In addition to the bilateral exchange that takes place, the Fraunhofer IML organises the InterEnterpriseLab Meeting at the Future Logistics Congress. Here, companies can find out about the focus and current work in other labs. Joint co-operations and projects are regularly initiated.

Neben dem gelebten bilateralen Austausch organisiert das Fraunhofer IML zum Zukunftskongress Logistik das InterEnterpriseLab-Meeting. Die Unternehmen können sich hier über die Ausrichtung und aktuellen Arbeiten in anderen Labs informieren. Dabei werden regelmäßig gemeinsame Kooperationen und Projekte angestoßen.

Current Enterprise Labs

DB Schenker Logistics and Digitization Lab

Topics (excerpt):

  • Customer-centred logistics 
  • Digital supply chains 
  • Intelligent assets 

Dachser Enterprise Lab

Topics (excerpt):

  • Digital twin in general cargo handling
  • Localisation, identification & measurement of packages
  • Innovative smart tracking devices

Rhenus Enterprise Lab

Topics (excerpt):

  • Smart container management
  • Container Management

Commerzbank Trade Finance Innovations Lab

Topics (excerpt):

  • Trade & supply chain finance on DLT
  • Digitalisation in future trade ecosystems
  • Trade finance and logistics

KION Mobile Automation Enterprise Lab

Topics (excerpt)

  • Further development of the LoadRunner© technology 
  • Industrialisation and optimisation of sensors and platforms

SSI Schäfer Automation Enterprise Lab

Topics (excerpt)

  •  Autonomous mobile robots (AMR) 
  • The future of the warehouse in the supply chain 
  • Learning logistics

Completed labs


Results (extract)

  • Digitisation of the world's largest open pallet pool
  • Platform for processing data from various sources

Keller & Kalmbach Future Lab

Results (extract)

  • Company-specific solutions for supply chain management and logistics
  • Simulation study of a central warehouse to analyse material flows and identify potential for optimisation  


Results (extract)

  • Robot for 3D object recognition
  • Software for automated guided vehicles
  • Camera-based system for the automatic evaluation of machine faults

Telekom Open IoT Lab

Ergebnisse (Auszug)

  • Internet-of-Things-Lösungen für Fertigungsindustrie sowie Logistik- und Luftfahrtbranche 
  • »IOT Service Button« 
  • »Low Cost Tracker«

Würth Lab

Results (extract)

  • "iBin" (intelligent bins)
  • "iDISPLAY" (intelligent shelf label)