Education, knowledge and individual learning are an integral part of the Festo corporate culture. The training factory at the Scharnhausen Technology Plant is incorporated directly in production and thus bridges the gap between practical learning in the workplace and theoretical learning in the training centre. Think tanks also provide a platform for cooperative technology and product development.
The 220 m² training factory integrates the modern learning culture of Festo directly into the processes of the Technology Plant. The training factory currently offers 33 training courses, as well as product and process training, which can be integrated into the normal working day. The courses support new employees who want to understand the function of products and become familiar with their new tasks as well as long-serving employees who want to learn about innovative processes and technologies. Training-on-the-job and training-near-the-job are combined in a single learning unit. A broad range of specific training courses, business games, advanced seminars as well as the exchange of knowledge between managers and colleagues ensure that learning is tailored to the requirements of the individual employee. To enhance the learning effect, the training rooms at the training factory have various training stands equipped with original components and software as used in production. With managers and technical experts as trainers and target groupspecific learning scenarios, training sessions can be held close to the workplace at short intervals.
For Manfred Zahn, Head of Qualification at Festo, one of the reasons for the development of the training factory is the short route between work and learning: “This makes it easy to build the lessons into the normal working day,” he explains, adding: “Another important reason is that the training factory allows us to test technical innovations in interdisciplinary groups made up of engineering experts and production staff such as operators and plant managers – right across all hierarchies.” New employees all receive an hour and a half introductory training in the training factory, which is held fortnightly. This provides them with an overview of general issues such as quality, energy, safety, sensitivity of components, work standards and break-out zones.
The training factory is designed to complement the Technology Plant, and enable managers to identify potential training topics. The training aims, number of people, trainer, duration, and the required training method are described in individual training profiles. The objective is a standardised training process.
The course catalogue includes machining, assembly, electronics manufacturing and automation as well as the associated topics of energy and environment, Festo products, Festo production systems and location-related training at the Scharnhausen plant.
A central element of the training factory in Scharnhausen is CP Factory, the cyber-physical learning and research platform of Festo Didactic. With the Cyber-Physical Factory, technical knowledge about increased digitalisation of production and the future interaction between people and machines can be communicated at a practical level. The CP Factory reflects the new developments in networked production for Industry 4.0 and offers a modular Smart Factory system for teaching and research purposes. It is part of a continuous, modular learning system for transferring knowledge about Industry 4.0.
As a platform, it replicates the stations of a real production system, integrates relevant mechatronic and automation technologies and supports learning about system programming, networking and data management, for example. The CP Factory is also used for developing and testing flexible software solutions, which are then used in production. “The CP Factory represents an important step towards Industry 4.0 for the Festo training factory in Scharnhausen,” says Klaus Zimmermann, Head of Training and Consulting at Festo Didactic Germany. “In addition to further technological development, interdisciplinary training for employees is crucial.” And for Juliane Körner, Industry 4.0 is no longer an abstract term thanks to her work in the training factory. When she looks over the shoulders of her technical colleagues, she can see with her own eyes how production is going to change in the
CP Factory: this comprehensive, modular and extendable factory model for Industry 4.0 represents many areas of the value chain.