IBM opens European engineering support center

IBM has opened a new engineering support unit in Europe modeled on the one launched last October in the U.S., in an effort to push deeper into the technology consulting business.

The Engineering & Technology Services unit, based in Mainz, Germany, will have a staff of more than 100 scientists, engineers and manufacturing professionals who can draw on the expertise of over 800 experts in the engineering group worldwide, IBM said Wednesday in a statement. The unit will bundle research and technology services of IBM subsidiaries in several European locations, such as Böblingen, Germany; Le Gaude, France, and Zurich, Switzerland, the company said.

Responsible for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the new technology group will provide a wide range of consulting services, from microchip design and semiconductor production to automation and optimization of manufacturing and administration processes, said Heribert Herrgen, a spokesman for IBM in Mainz on Thursday.

"This is a service that wasn't available in Europe before," Herrgen said. "It's very much an engineering-driven service that targets customers seeking substantial technical support. They may, for instance, require support for planning a green field production facility or require assistance from our research labs."

The technology unit will target not only companies in the automotive, aviation, electronics, communication and semiconductor sectors but also banks, insurance companies and other groups in the service sector, Herrgen said.

Customers of the Engineering & Technology Services unit in the U.S. include Medtronic, Sony Computer Entertainment, Xybernaut and the New York Stock Exchange, according to the statement.

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