Since 1983, inpro has developed to become a unique innovation provider for automotive production.
The idea of inpro was formed at the third Berlin Economic Conference, which was held on 10/11 December 1982 at the Berlin Reichstag. Under the auspices of former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, leading representatives from politics, science and industry came together to strengthen research and industry in Germany, and in particular in the West Berlin area. Dr. Helmut Kohl commented on the objective of the third Berlin Economic Conference as follows: “We have come to help Berlin and make a work of peace”. The decision to set up inpro was a key outcome of the conference. Standing side by side with the Chancellor, the chairmen of Volkswagen, Siemens, BMW and Daimler-Benz solemnly declared their intent make joint efforts in the field of innovative production technology, and set up an innovation-oriented company in Berlin for this purpose. The idea of inpro was born and subsequently driven to specific goals by Prof. Günter Spur, as well as by representatives of the companies involved. On June 15, 1983, the foundation of inpro, Innovationsgesellschaft für fortgeschrittene Produktionssysteme in der Fahrzeugindustrie mbH (Innovation company for advanced production systems in the automotive industry) was formally announced .
The particularly “think-tank” approach was unprecedented, at least in Germany. The company was to provide research and engineering work and give new impetus for automobile production. In cooperation with the industry, inpro was to create technical expertise that would be impossible or very difficult to generate otherwise. The company’s main task was the development of production technology and systems for “the automobile factories of the 90s”. In 1983, the initial work focus was on sensor technology, robot programming, production system simulation and the development of expert systems. Furthermore, new solutions for production control, assembly automation and computer aided design and planning work were to be developed. The press spoke of “artificial intelligence systems (AI) for complex manufacturing processes”. In the private sector, the company’s work was to be an intensive cooperation with universities and other research institutions. inpro was tasked with “envisioning the factory of the future” and promoting “new, creative ideas”.
“Since its foundation, inpro’s goal has been the development of production systems and technologies for the factory of the future. Thus, inpro operates as a joint ‘think tank’ for its partner companies, an approach unique in Germany to this date”.