Employees in industry, as well as students at vocational colleges and universities, will need to be specially trained to work with Industry 4.0 systems to develop their understanding of fully automated digital production technologies, and knowledge of the layout and programming of digital system networks, says Festo Germany Industry 4.0 Platform management member Dr Eberhard Veit.
Service technicians do not only need practical mechatronics experience but also knowledge of information technology infrastructures so that they can work at a high level to rectify machine standstills as quickly as possible.
Festo Didactic offers a cyberphysical (CP) learning and research platform in the form of the CP factory. This platform models the stations in a real production plant. Learning content includes, for example, systems programming, networking, energy efficiency and data management. The platform also allows for flexible software solutions to be developed and tested so that they can be used in production.
“People will be an integral and indispensable part of the world of production in the future. Festo Didactic is conducting research into solutions where people learn to interact directly with technology. In the same way that two people might work together today, it must be possible in future for people to work together with machines,” explains Veit.
If courses and qualifications are not updated, the employees of the future will not be able to operate and optimise systems or develop flexible, intelligent components and, thereby, contribute to the necessary versatility and adaptability of the systems.
CP factories will leverage new ways in which people, machines and data can interact. Industry 4.0 combines the real world of production with the virtual world of information and communication technology; therefore, traditional industrial processes are supplemented and optimised by the digital world. This creates the foundation for the series manufacturing of individual products to a high standard of quality.
To facilitate a successful change in industrial training, Festo provides products at various levels, from individual workstations to a complete learning factory. This enables education institutions, depending on the material that they select, to present trainees with various Industry 4.0 scenarios in a clear and practical way.
Further, because learning areas and needs change constantly, the learning products are modular and can be adapted and developed further at any time to meet specific education and training requirements.
The company provides a wide range of different teaching materials and suitable course documentation, covering everything from project descriptions to individual working situations and complex interdisciplinary tasks.
Training programs from Festo Didactic are flexible, enable tutors to be creative and increase students’ motivation and are being expanded with newly developed Industry 4.0 material.
Festo Didactic offers its customers a managed Industry 4.0 forum so that they can exchange views with Festo and industry experts on current questions, project ideas and teaching materials, says Velt.