Meet the cluster

Whether it’s the energy transition, a shortage of skilled workers, geopolitical changes or fragile supply chains – industry in Germany is facing major challenges. We offer solutions. it’s OWL: the competence centre Industrie.Zero.

In the Leading-Edge Cluster it’s OWL – Intelligent Technical Systems OstWestfalenLippe – over 220 companies, research institutions and organisations are developing solutions for intelligent products and processes so that companies can produce and work more sustainably.

For more than ten years, it’s OWL has been developing solutions and applications in around 500 projects on topics such as artificial intelligence and intelligent product development, thus supporting companies with digitalisation. it’s OWL is building on its expertise as the largest initiative for Industry 4.0 and wants to make OstWestfalenLippe a model region for sustainable value creation as a ‘competence network for Industrie.Zero’.

Who is part of our network?

Family-owned companies and a strong SME sector form the core of the network. These include numerous global market leaders: strong brands such as Benteler, Claas, Diebold Nixdorf, DMG Mori, Dr. Oetker, GEA, Hettich and Miele, but also many hidden champions such as Kannegiesser and WP Kemper. Beckhoff, Harting, KEB, Lenze, Phoenix Contact, Wago and Weidmüller set world standards in industrial electronics.

The regional universities and research institutions stand for interdisciplinary cutting-edge research in areas such as artificial intelligence, industrial automation, future of work and systems engineering. More than 1,000 scientists are working on the solutions of tomorrow in four collaborative research centres, 18 research institutes and three Fraunhofer institutes.

A bit of history…

it’s OWL was founded in 2012 after the Federal Ministry of Education and Research recognised it’s OWL as the winner of the Leading-Edge Cluster competition. It was based on a strategy concept developed by Prof Dr Jürgen Gausemeier and coordinated by OstWestfalenLippe GmbH. The network has launched projects totalling 200 million euros by 2023 to tap into the potential of AI for production, alongside other areas.


Goals of it’s OWL since the initiation in 2012.


Since 2023, it’s OWL has been pursuing a dual strategy for sustainable value creation through Intelligent Technical Systems with ‘Industrie.Zero’.

Sustainable value creation through Intelligent Technical Systems for us means that companies develop intelligent products for sustainable use and utilise intelligent production processes for sustainable value creation. Sustainability thus becomes the foundation for corporate success.

What’s behind the competence network

it’s OWL Clustermanagement GmbH manages the implementation of projects, the further development of the strategy, networking of cluster partners and marketing for it’s OWL. Founded in 2012, the it’s OWL association comprises over 220 members and is the sole shareholder of the company (it’s Clustermanagement GmbH). Companies, universities and other partners pool their interests in the association. The association’s board is the cluster board, which is also the supervisory body for the cluster management company. In addition, internationally renowned scientists support the cluster board and the management in the form of the it’s OWL advisory board.

The it’s OWL cluster board

The it’s OWL cluster board is responsible for the strategic direction of it’s OWL and currently comprises 17 high-ranking personalities.

2022_Volker Bibelhausen

Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Weidmüller Holding AG & Co. KG

it’sOWL Strategietagung 2023 (115 von 146)

Regierungspräsidentin im Regierungsbezirk Detmold

2022_Stefan Breit_bevorzugt zu nehmen

Geschäftsführer Technik Miele & Cie. KG (Vorsitzender Clusterboard)


Rektorin Universität Bielefeld (kooptiertes Clusterboardmitglied)


R&D-Kooperationen Beckhoff Automation GmbH (kooptiertes Clusterboardmitglied)


Managing Director Harting AG (kooptiertes Clusterboardmitglied)

© Jan Voth

Mitglied der Geschäftsleitung Hettich Holding GmbH & Co. oHG

2022_Jürgen Krahl

Präsident Technische Hochschule Ostwestfalen-Lippe


Vorstand Innovation bei Lenze SE (Stellvertretender Vorsitzender Clusterboard)


Geschäftsführer BENTELER Automobiltechnik (CFO) & Group CIO (kooptiertes Clusterboardmitglied)


Mitglied des Vorstandes Unity AG (kooptiertes Clusterboardmitglied)

2022_Frank Possel-Dölken

Geschäftsführer Phoenix Contact GmbH & Co. KG


Vorstand owl maschinenbau e.V. (kooptiertes Clusterboardmitglied)


Präsidentin Universität Paderborn


Präsidentin Fachhochschule Bielefeld (Stellvertretende Vorsitzende Clusterboard)


Member of the Group Executive Board Claas KGaA mbH (kooptiertes Clusterboardmitglied)

2022_Klaus Stojentin

Division CEO Separation & Flow Technologies GEA Westfalia Separator Group GmbH

2022_Karsten Stoll

CTO Interconnection, WAGO GmbH & Co. KG


Sprecher der Gesellschafterversammlung der OWL GmbH

The it’s OWL advisory board

Internationally renowned scientists advise the cluster board and management on strategic and technological direction.


Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

TUB-Prof. Dr.-Ing. DietmarGöhlich11.11.2010

Technische Universität Berlin


Universität Bremen


Honda Research Institute Europe GmbH (retired)


Software Engineering, RWTH Aachen


Fachhochschule Dortmund


Technische Universität Dresden