Mittelstand 4.0


01.10.2017 to 30.09.2020, project extension of two years requested on 21.04.2020


307.396,08 Euro

Sponsored by:

Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi)

The maritime economy forms - depending on the location - an important structural pillar for the Weser-Ems region. More than 400 companies from the core maritime sectors employ over 18,000 people in the region. The entire maritime value chain is represented in Weser-Ems, which is particularly characterised by a high degree of specialisation, for example, from the simple chartering of ships ("bare boot", comparable to car rental) to full-service logistics providers.

The maritime sector is strongly characterised by small and medium-sized companies. The growth region of the Ems axis is an important crystallisation core and has developed into the second-largest shipping location in terms of the ships managed. The degree of digitalisation is only slightly developed compared to other industries. 

In order to counteract this, the Faculty of Maritime Sciences of the University of Applied Sciences Emden/Leer, as a partner of the “Middle class 4.0” Competence Centre Lingen (part of the funding initiative “Mittelstand 4.0” - Digital Production and Work Processes"), has set itself the task of supporting small and medium-sized enterprises in the Münsterland and Weser-Emsland region in digitisation projects and motivating them to critically question their own value-added position and to open up to digital, and possibly data-driven, business models. The Faculty of Maritime Sciences pursues the following service structure:



In the first step, the opening up, information events with a high proportion of best-practice examples on various digitisation methods in the maritime context will be offered. This is intended to open up the participating companies in particular to the aspects of "digital data availability" and "digital data exploitation". In the next step, the qualification, the companies will be offered introductory up to thematically specialized trainings and courses, depending on their level of maturity. The methodological tools thus provided enable the companies to plan and initiate targeted digitisation steps. The subsequent offer, transfer and demo, is designed to concretise digitisation strategies for participating companies and to develop them into implementation projects. As a knowledge partner, the Faculty of Maritime Sciences of the University of Applied Sciences Emden/Leer contributes its technological, conceptual and industry-specific know-how. In the final step, the Faculty of Maritime Sciences accompanies the implementation of the digitisation strategy developed with the respective company. Here the processes are improved in such a way that the generation, provision, use and monetization of product- and/or process-related data is made possible and can be transferred to new business forms or models.


The project “Mittelstand 4.0” at HSEL is part of the Mittelstand 4.0 - Competence Center Lingen and has the structure shown (illustration 2). The overall coordination of the competence center and the provision of services is carried out by a virtual office, formed by the partners MSLDIG and ITEL, both of which focus on promoting the digitization of companies and serve as the first point of contact and contact point in the respective federal states of Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia. ITEL is also the consortium leader. In addition, the consortium partners MSLDIG, ITEL as well as MARIKO take on the role of transfer partners by facilitating a targeted transfer of knowledge primarily to small and medium-sized enterprises in the focus industries and by conveying connections in the digital context. The knowledge partners COALA, HSEL and ERCIS contribute their expertise for a future orientation towards data-driven business models as well as the digitisation steps that may be necessary in the beginning. In addition, each knowledge partner has detailed industry knowledge that is relevant for the targeted selection of the required knowledge modules and the required depth of knowledge.

Due to the corona crisis, it is currently not possible to hold face-to-face events. Nevertheless, various online-seminars are offered online. These are in detail:

  • 19.06.2020 10:00-12:00: Impulse event on the topic of AI in medium-sized companies

Learn in this impulse event how you as a company can benefit from AI technologies to successfully master challenges. How can I introduce AI in my company? What benefits can I expect? What is deep learning and machine learning? How is everything related to Big Data, Industry 4.0 and robotics? The event is organized by the Department of Maritime and Maritime Sciences within the SME Competence Center Lingen.
You can find the complete agenda here.

Date: 19.06.2020
Time: 10:00 - 12:00

  • 18.06.2020 10:00 am: Online-seminar "Augmented Reality - Virtual understanding and experience of products and services in the new normality"

In times like these, in which various restrictions have completely changed everyday working life, small and medium-sized companies in particular face many problems. How can employees be adequately trained despite short-time work? How can products be made accessible to a large audience despite contact bans? The solution for this is called "Augmented Reality (AR)". In this online-seminar, participants will learn first-hand how to enable customers and business partners to virtually experience and understand products and services, thereby expanding the currently limited reality of customers as well as that of employees with the help of Augmented Reality and at the same time preparing for the digital future. The event is organized within the framework of the "Mittelstand 4.0 Kompetenzzentrum Lingen" and participation in the event is free of charge.

The complete agenda can be found here.

Date: 18.06.2020
Time: 10:00 - 11.30 a.m.
Contact person: Alexander Riedel:

  • 30.04.2020 10:00 am: Online-seminar "Cybersecurity for KMEs"

Digital transformation can make small and medium-sized enterprises more vulnerable to criminal attacks. Even the examination of the topic "cybersecurity" can help to actively combat these challenges. Prevention, preparation and training of employees is therefore essential.

Date:   30.04.2020
Time:  10:00 am (45 minutes)
Contact person: Marc Hillers: marc.hillers(at)

Prof. Dr. Marcus Bentin
phone: 0049 (0)491-92817-5060
e-Mail: marcus.bentin(at)

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jens Klußmann
phone: 0049 (0)491-92817-5048
e-Mail:­ jens.klussmann(at)

Prof. Kapitän Rudolf Kreutzer
phone: 0049 (0)491-92817-5035
e-Mail:­ rudolf.kreutzer(at)

Marc Hillers - academic assistent
phone: 0049 (0)491-92817-5077
e-Mail: marc.hillers|at|

Alexander Riedel - academic assistent
phone: 0049 (0)491-92817-5074