As many as 100 engineers could be employed at ifm ecolink’s Research and Development Center in Opole. During the ceremonious opening of the facility, the company signed a cooperation agreement with Opole University of Technology. The Center will prepare designs and patents for solutions that will be later implemented at the company’s facility that is already functioning within the Wałbrzych Special Economic Zone.
Ifm is a German manufacturer of industrial automation elements with plants in over 70 countries. In 2011, the company made the decision to invest in the Opole Subzone of the WSEZ. From the very beginning, ifm has been planning to construct an R&D centre here.
“I have always emphasized that we have no intention of being just a production facility. We also wanted to design and implement our own ideas,” said Andrzej Durdyń, member of the board of ifm ecolink and the initiator of the construction of the center. “Much is being said today about innovativeness, and our company is a prime example of such practices. We are going to follow this path and contribute to the development of Poland. It is also worth emphasizing that the national and local governments are creating very good conditions for carrying out innovative investment projects,” he added.
The Research and Development Center covers an area of 3,700 m2. It is located in direct proximity of ifm’s factory in Opole. At the moment, 20 engineers are employed here, but this number will ultimately grow to 100 programmers and designers responsible for devising new solutions and patents.
“A strategy of innovation is an inseparable part of our firm’s functioning. Thanks to the Center, we will be able to make this plan come true. The point is to translate theoretical knowledge taught at universities into practice,” Martin Buck, President of ifm ecolink, stressed during the ceremony.
The company has signed a cooperation agreement with Opole University of Technology. Ifm will provide specialist equipment to the university, so that student can practice using the same equipment as in the facility.
“We have already cooperated with companies, but this is the first time that we have become a base for such a large and dynamically growing firm. We have even established relations with German universities in order to better respond to the needs of industry,” explained Prof. Marek Tukiendorf, Rector of Opole University of Technology.
Ifm is currently carrying out a third investment project in the Wałbrzych zone, which is based on expanding the area of the production floor by 4,000 m2. The facility will implement the effects of the work done at the Research and Development Center.