Open Labs

Open source community for interfaces and standards

Open source software is an integral part of the digital economy, securing the digital sovereignty of companies and preventing individual companies from becoming gatekeepers of certain technologies. In our Open Labs, we bring together partners from related topics and fields of application and develop open source.

The challenges of our time can only be solved together. Decentralised systems and the resulting necessary interoperability of processes need more than one player and a common language to ensure standardised and user-oriented interfaces. Open source motivated projects therefore focus on the areas of connectivity and communication as well as automation and flexibilisation.

This is precisely where the Open Labs at Fraunhofer IML come in and think of logistics as a team sport. The Open Lab partners can benefit from the latest research results from publicly funded research projects at the Fraunhofer IML.

From the individual solution to the standard, from code to business model

An Open Lab is a collaboration format in which a group of companies, especially SMEs, jointly define technical requirements for an open source solution. Fraunhofer IML manages and supports the process and takes on the development work. The solutions developed in the Open Labs form the basis for customised business models with an open core.


The open source approach is particularly suitable for so-called non-market-differentiating solutions or services. As these solutions or even basic functions do not differentiate companies from one another, it is more effective to develop them jointly. The cross-company use of open source software creates de facto standards.


In an Open Lab...

  • you have the opportunity to be the first to be involved in the development of new solutions and to help determine changes in direction at an early stage.
  • you do not have to maintain your own developer capacities 
  • you can share resources for the development of non-market-differentiating services with other companies

Advantages at a glance

Application-orientated open source development that is specifically tailored to the needs of Lab partners and can be adapted to company-specific use cases

Interdisciplinary project teams with proven expertise in the areas of open source, development infrastructure and agile project management

Structured process for the strategic and technical orientation of the developments as well as immediate and initial utilisation of the results by the participating companies

How do we work together in an Open Lab?

In an Open Lab, Fraunhofer IML develops an open source solution for several Open Lab partners or several open source solutions that build on each other in relevant fields of application.

An Open Lab is divided into three areas: 

  • A Steering Committee is responsible for strategic goal setting and regular evaluation of the product vision and milestone plan. 
  • A working group creates the overarching product vision and a milestone plan.
  • A development team translates the technical requirements into development tasks, develops components and services and is responsible for publishing and maintaining the project.

The Fraunhofer IML and the companies are jointly represented on the Steering Committee and in the Working Group and ensure application-orientated development. The Fraunhofer IML development teams are responsible for development and implementation.

At least three companies must come together for an Open Lab. The Fraunhofer IML is happy to organise the matchmaking.

An Open Lab runs for a period of three years.

Warum Open-Source-Software?

OSS paves the way for (de facto) standards.

OSS is used to create de facto standards or to implement standards. Interfaces and the data model are made available as OSS in order to reduce the barrier to the use of services.

Optimising transport processes with open source.

The openTCS control system software from Fraunhofer IML can be used to coordinate fleets of automated vehicles and optimise transport processes in production facilities or warehouses, for example.

OSS is maintained by a developer community.

This allows logistics companies to benefit from the expertise and support of a global community of developers who are continuously working to improve the software.

Working with open source on networked platforms.

From the digital consignment note to the IoT device Sensing Puck and the open source implementation of the VDA5050 standard: The developments in the large-scale research project Silicon Economy at Fraunhofer IML were created entirely as open source.

OSS is often more secure than proprietary software.

The open source code can be checked by any company and any developer. This means that vulnerabilities can be recognised and rectified more quickly. This reduces the risk of security breaches.

Making Industry 4.0 legally compliant with open source

The "Industry 4.0 Legal Testbed" project is creating a digital testing ground for automated business processes. The solutions are available as open source.

Topics and ideas for open labs

Cross-company verification in the circular economy

Digital (white) product passport

The White Product Passport is an innovative solution that aims to meet current and future challenges in the white goods industry. In view of the increasing regulatory requirements, the EU stipulates that companies must introduce a digital product passport by 2030. This product passport serves as a digital backbone and enables companies to provide comprehensive information about their products. The product passport covers various aspects, including compliance with environmental regulations, sustainability criteria, energy efficiency data and information on reparability.

By providing this information, consumers can make informed choices and select products that meet their individual requirements and wishes. In addition, the white product passport promotes transparency in the supply chain and enables companies to optimise their production processes and increase resource efficiency. This helps to reduce the ecological footprint and promote sustainable development. Another important aspect of the product passport is the promotion of innovation and new business models. By providing detailed information about the products, companies can offer value-added services such as personalised recommendations, extended warranties or tailored service packages. This enables companies to strengthen customer loyalty and tap into new sources of revenue.


In order to implement the product passport and fulfil the requirements of the industry, we have created the Open Lab. Here, companies work together on an open source development to establish a de facto standard for the white product passport. This promotes the exchange of best practices and collaboration between companies to drive digitalisation and transparency in the industry. Overall, the white product passport offers a comprehensive solution to meet the current and future challenges in the white goods industry. It enables companies to make their products more transparent, strengthen customer loyalty and open up new business opportunities. Through collaborative development in the Open Lab, the white product passport will become an industry-wide standard that drives digitalisation and sustainability in the sector.

Intralogistics operating system that solves internal transport using automated guided vehicles or autonomous mobile robots and manages itself.


»LogOS« s a modular and open operating system for intralogistics based on the building block principle, which solves in-house transport by means of mobile robots and organises itself. The term mobile robot includes both automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs). The starting point of »LogOS« is a multi-agent system in line with Industry 4.0 and realises the material flow in a cyber-physical production system.


By using open de facto standards such as VDA 5050, »LogOS« is independent of mobile robot manufacturers. This enables expandability in terms of participants or functionality, adaptation or customisation according to industry-specific requirements and the integration and use of third-party software. With the consistent integration of further de facto standards, »LogOS«is fit for the future and already offers an increase in the degree of automation of in-house transport.

»LogOS« currently comprises the following modules for increasing the efficiency of intralogistics: a digital material flow for mapping transport orders, fleet coordination using time slot-based route planning, optimisation for the distribution of transport orders to the appropriate mobile robots and visualisation for displaying real-time information on the shop floor.

Further topics & ideas:

Proof of Green for hydrogen production: 

Digital verification for the realisation of a green hydrogen economy


Batch formation with AI:

Summarising orders taking into account similarity characteristics and targets


Computer Vision:

Automatation of asset tracking and logistics processes through image processing


Digital twin for logistics

Development of a vendor- neutral midel for digital twings


Automated warehouse planning: 

Automated creation of meaningful warehouse layouts in relation to inventory and movement data


Supply chain due diligence:

Supply chain visibility platforms for real-time monitoring of the entire supply chain with regard to ESG criteria


Life cycle assessment & product carbon footprint:

Secure verification and management of the carbon footprint in supply chains


Investments & asset financing

Financing ESG investments through tokenisation of assets, emissions trading platforms to support trading in CO2 certificates