The Ilm region - centre of economy, innovation and cooperation
The Ilm region, located between the state capital of Erfurt and the nature park Thüringer Wald along the Rennsteig, is one of the most historic economic and scientific regions in central Germany. Its economic structure is characterised by small and medium-sized industrial and craft enterprises as well as agricultural enterprises.
The regional development centres on the cities of Arnstadt and Ilmenau.
The city of Arnstadt and its economic region dispose of traditional industrial branches on the one hand and newly found enterprises on the other hand. The city and its surrounding region are a focal point for state-of-the-art enterprises in plant engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and tool manufacturing as well as plants for the packaging and supply industry and engine maintenance services for the aircraft industry. Another advanced project is the concentration of high tech enterprises of the energy and solar branch into a centre for solar industry.
The University town of Ilmenau is characterised by the science and research potential of the University of Technology (Link), its transfer institutions that combine science with the economy (Link), its more than 100 newly found enterprises that have partially emerged from the University as well as the academic education of almost 7,000 students. Ilmenau University of Technology is both an innovation centre and an initiator for the development of this region.
With the consolidation of the districts of Ilmenau and Arnstadt into the Ilm-Kreis, an upcoming economic region, the TECHNOLOGIE REGION ILMENAU ARNSTADT (TRIA) was created, disposing of a good location along the motorway intersection "Erfurter Kreuz", an interesting mix of branches and the only technical university in the Free State of Thuringia.
When it comes to a comparison of the technology centres, TRIA positions itself among the Thuringian Technology Triangle Erfurt-Jena-Ilmenau as a competence site for important growth sectors with a complete network of development, transfer, advising and application institutions for the innovative small and medium-sized companies in Thuringia and beyond.
This active technology transfer is promoted by the Technology and Founder Centre Ilmenau (Link) located near the University campus, as well as other scientific service centres. Many successfully expanding spin-offs from the University and the Technology and Founder Centre have found their optimal company site in revitalised former industrial sites or newly erected industrial parks around the Ilm district.
After the construction of the industrial site "Erfurter Kreuz" in Arnstadt/Ichtershausen, the Ilm-Kreis now disposes of an excellent settlement site close to the motorway intersection A4/A71, an area with favourable topographic conditions right in the heart of the technology triangle Erfurt-Ilmenau-Jena. Local companies benefit mainly from the proximity to Ilmenau University of Technology, which itself has a 100-year-long tradition in the formation of engineers and today ranges amongst one of the leading institutions in Europe when it comes to the training of future engineers in state-of-the-art technologies.
The business enterprises in rural areas are further promoted and developed by the "Regionale Leader-AktionsGruppe" (RAG) (Link).
It is worth noting that TRIA is very active as regards network co-operations and clustering. The small and medium-sized companies mainly focus on the elaboration of joint action and development strategies.
The internationally active institute "Prognos AG" characterises this economic region in its future atlas 2006 on "Branches in the focus, evaluation of the Ilm-Kreis results" as follows:
TRIA disposes of a high density of industries, a significant increase of the gross domestic product, a high rate of investment, an outstanding number of patents and a highly-qualified personnel potential.
TRIA is well-positioned in the German leading and growing sectors and offers outstanding competences in the areas of Measurement and Control Systems, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering as well as metals.
The local industry, oriented towards export and technology, in combination with TU Ilmenau, research and development as well as services, secure the region’s competitiveness and create new jobs.
The economic region is symbolised by a logo that helps to increase its fame, recognition value and identification with the Ilmenau Arnstadt region.