As part of her tour of the Esslingen district, the Minister for Economic Affairs, Employment and Housing for Baden-Württemberg, Dr Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut, visited the Scharnhausen Technology Plant. Her visit at the end of June focused on the direct cooperation between humans and machines, future-oriented production technology and the training of employees for tasks in the production of the future.
Plant manager, Stefan Schwerdtle, guided the minister through the plant and showed her some aspects of Industry 4.0 that are already reality in the Technology Plant. One station was the modern assembly facilities, which put together small, compact solenoid valves automatically. The facilities each produce over 50 individual types of different sizes.
The employees from the maintenance department showed Dr Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut how tablets help them with their work: with the help of an app, they are able to detect and rectify machine faults as soon as possible and directly on-site.
Controlling complex facilities with a smartphone or tablet PC or working hand in hand with a robot: in the production of tomorrow, direct interaction between man and machine will be part of the daily routine. An assembly robot is used, which is allowed to work next to people without a safety enclosure. It takes the strain off its human colleagues in the valve assembly department, doing monotonous, ergonomically one-sided tasks.
Festo Didactic learning factory
The most important success factor for adding value in the production of the future, however, continues to be people: our employees are motivated, sensitised and appropriately qualified for the change in the production world. Dr Hoffmeister-Kraut was able to see this for herself in the learning factory, where the employees can get further practical training.
After her visit to us, the minister also visited a Festo Didactic learning factory at the Friedrich-Ebert-Schule in Esslingen. Here pupils get access to the technologies and applications of Industry 4.0 with the CP Factory learning and research platform.