Ostwuerttemberg …as an Economic Region
Tradition and Innovative Future Technologies…
Nowadays, numerous future technologies have established themselves in the Ostwuerttemberg region. In connection with an efficient infrastructure, this has made the region the vanguard of the German patent statistics. In addition to the global corporations that have made their home in Ostwuerttemberg, a broad range of small and medium enterprises covering nearly all industries also characterizes the region. The region is especially prominent in the future-technologies sector, particularly in photonics and optical technologies, in surface engineering and in the automotive industry.
The Industrial Revolution reached Ostwuerttemberg in the second half of the nineteenth century. Water had been used to power waterwheels since the middle ages, and the European origins of iron working and smelting lay in Ostwuerttemberg since limite (an iron ore) was found in the iron-rich sandstone. Schwaebische Hüttenwerke (Swabian Smelting Works), nowadays called “SHW Automotive GmbH” in Aalen, has been in operation for more than 630 years. For a long time, it was the largest industrial establishment in the Kingdom of Wuerttemberg, and today it is one of the oldest industrial enterprises in Europe. This is one reason why even nowadays most of the medium enterprises in metal working, in machine construction and even some large-scale enterprises in the automotive sector (such as Mapal , RUD and ZF Steering Systems (Lenksysteme))are a source of economic success in Ostwuerttemberg.
Apart from that, the linen and weaving industries both have long traditions. They had, as early on as the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, a reputation for quality. Even up until today, specialized textile enterprises like Triumph and SUSA are experiencing great success producing textiles for the global marketplace. Paul Hartmann AG can even trace its history back to 1818, when it was founded as a textile factory in Heidenheim.
Ostwuerttemberg has water to thank for the development of its paper industry, which then, like now, also spurned other sectors of industry to seek out new inventions. On the factory premises of the global corporation VOITH, which was founded at the beginning of the nineteenth century, grew a paper research center (called Paper Technology Center, PTC) that is one of a kind in the world. This is merely another jewel in the crown for the Ostwuerttemberg’s economic expertise, which crops up in particular in the optics and photonics sector with the prominent enterprise Carl Zeiss AG, as well as in newer enterprises in the high-tech sector.