For the 21st time, the WZL of RWTH Aachen University and the Fraunhofer IPT are looking for the best toolmaking company. Participation is easy: After registering at, companies can fill out the first part of the questionnaire. - © Vincent Sima

Starting signal for the 21st edition of the "Excellence in Production" industry competition for toolmaking

For the 21st time, the WZL at RWTH Aachen University and the Fraunhofer IPT are looking for the best toolmaking company in German-speaking countries. Participation is free of charge and simple: After registering at, companies can first fill out the first part of the questionnaire. A selection of key questions about the company must be answered by March 1, 2024. Participants will then immediately receive an initial evaluation before moving on to the second round of the competition with more in-depth questions. The closing date for the second round, in which the company can qualify for the final round, is May 1, 2024.

In the next step, the team of experts from WZL at RWTH Aachen University and Fraunhofer IPT will use a scientifically based system of key figures to create an initial ranking of the participants. The team then examines the best companies in detail during on-site visits. In addition, two further company visits are drawn by lot among all participants in the competition. Based on the on-site impressions of the Aachen toolmaking experts, all companies visited receive comprehensive feedback on organizational and technological fields of action along the order processing chain.

Thanks to the multi-stage selection process and the focus of the questionnaire on the most important content, companies can signal their interest in participating in the competition at the beginning with little effort. The contact persons at the WZL of RWTH Aachen University and the Fraunhofer IPT are then available to answer any queries as the competition progresses in order to ensure that all key figures are recorded correctly. The detailed evaluation ultimately comprises around 100 key figures, which the participating companies can also use as starting points for improvements in their own operations.


Free, anonymous evaluation reveals strengths and potential for improvement

Companies in the tool and mold making industry are once again given the opportunity to compare themselves with the competition anonymously and free of charge. Participants can find out how they compare to the competition in various organizational and technological areas.

Both independent toolmaking companies and internal toolmaking departments within manufacturing companies can take part. For orientation purposes, the two Aachen research institutes offer interested companies wishing to participate for the first time a sample evaluation for download. This gives companies a detailed overview of which industry-related key figures will be evaluated even before they register.


Excellence in Production: Scientifically sound and proven in practice

The competition has been known in the tool and mold making industry for 20 years as a yardstick for evaluating the performance of companies. In addition to financial, customer and product-related results, processes, resources, organization, sustainability, strategy and leadership are particularly taken into account for the evaluation.

In 2023, the competition celebrated its 20th anniversary with an anniversary edition. On November 15, 2023, around 250 guests gathered in the Coronation Hall of Aachen City Hall to celebrate not only the overall and category winners, but also the winners of the two special awards "Best Sustainability Initiative" and "EiP Newcomer of the Year", which were also presented to mark the anniversary. The coveted title of overall winner "Toolmaking of the Year 2023" went to the BMW Group's internal toolmaking department at the Munich and Dingolfing sites. The overall winner impressed the jury with its stringent use of Industry 4.0 and digitalization approaches, such as the use of AR applications for quality inspection and the transfer of specialist knowledge. The very high degree of integration of toolmaking into the direct upstream and downstream customer processes, for example through sensor monitoring of the tools at the customer, also underlines the high overall performance of toolmaking. BMW toolmaking at the Munich and Dingolfing sites acts as a design enabler for the entire BMW Group. It is characterized by its innovative strength and performance, according to the jury's summary verdict.


Strong partners support the competition

The "Excellence in Production" competition is supported by the companies Hasco Hasenclever GmbH + Co KG, as the main sponsor, as well as WBA Aachener Werkzeugbau Akademie GmbH, Kunststoffcluster Österreich, Swissmem and the Verband Deutscher Maschinen- und Anlagenbau e.V. (German Engineering Federation). The competition receives further support from the "Formnext" trade fair for additive technologies. VDI nachrichten and the trade journals FORM+Werkzeug and werkzeug&formenbau will be reporting as media partners.