UAS Technikum Wien celebrates the launch of the “digital factory"
In the past few months a unique teaching and research landscape for industry 4.0 in the field of industrial automation and robotics was created in Austria in close cooperation with leading technology producers on an international level. The UAS Technikum Wien invited a number of industry representatives to Vienna to celebrate the launch of the “digital factory” on 27 April. In line with the theme of the event, the ribbon was cut by a robot using scissors made with a 3D printer.
On the picture, LTR: Dr. Rainer Stetter (CEO ITQ GmbH, Munich), Dr. Lothar Roitner (Chairman UAS Technikum Wien, CEO Association for the Electrical and Electronics Industries (FEEI), Board member of the platform Industry 4.0 Austria), Dr. Kurt Hofstädter (Head of Siemens Digital Factory Central Eastern Europe, Chairman UAS Technikum Wien, Chairman of the platform Industry 4.0 Austria) and FH-Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Erich Markl (Project leader Digital Factory, Head of department for Advanced Engineering Technologies)
“Industry 4.0 is a great opportunity to focus less on price in international competition and more on expertise and new technologies,” said Lothar Roitner, Chairman of UAS Technikum Wien and Managing Director of the Austrian Association for the Electrical and Electronics Industries (FEEI), emphasizing the importance of Industry 4.0 for Austria as a place of business.
Specialists are the key to success for Industry 4.0
A key factor that will determine the success of Industry 4.0 will be whether there are enough highly qualified, technical specialists available, warns Roitner. “The UAS was established over 20 years ago to reduce the shortage of technical specialists, and it is today Austria's largest university of applied sciences focusing solely on technical subjects,” said Roitner. “The dynamism with which intelligent production processes have developed moved us to expand our research focal areas in 2016 to include automation and robotics, and to create a focus on training and education in this field with the digital factory.”
At the Institute for Advanced Engineering Technologies, students have the opportunity to learn control and management tasks at an industrial standard using high-quality technical equipment. “We are the first university of applied sciences in Austria to offer both students and companies the opportunity to familiarize themselves with Industry 4.0 under real-life condition, to develop them and acquire unique expertise.”
Close cooperation between industry and education required
“UAS Technikum Wien is currently the first educational institution to be a member of the Industry 4.0 Austria platform. One of the tasks of the platform is to forge ties between business, science and education so as to enable the successful implementation of Industry 4.0,” explains Kurt Hofstädter, CEO of the Industry 4.0 Austria platform, Head of Siemens Digital Factory Central Eastern Europe, Member of the Board of UAS Technikum Wien.
Pilot facilities such as the digital factory are important components in the further development of networked production processes. They provide companies with the opportunity to try out new methods and technologies under real-life yet protected conditions, so as to be able to achieve swift results for their own automation hardware and software, according to Hofstädter.
Education for students and employees
In Hofstädter’s view, there were two main reasons to participate in UAS’s digital factory project as a premium partner. “Siemens has positioned itself as the number one for digitalization, offering solutions for companies to present products and production data in data models and to derive competitive advantages from these. In order to drive innovation, we are heavily committed to research and education,” says Hofstädter. The cooperation with UAS Technikum Wien enables students and future employees to be given access to a professional setting with top-quality infrastructure.
Innovative training concepts: “We need more geeks again!”
“Changes as a result of digitalization happen quickly and radically,” as Rainer Stetter, General Manager of ITQ GmbH points out. Machinery, including cars, are increasingly controlled by software. Innovation must no longer be seen as “gradual improvement” but rather as fundamentally new solutions. “We need more geeks again!” proclaims Stetter.
When it comes to training future specialists, this radical approach means that engineering, IT and electronics will need to work together more closely. In addition to specific expertise, specialists will have to have excellent communication skills, motivation and flexibility: “working and thinking in networks in an autonomous and self-determined way.”
For this reason, ITQ GmbH has developed innovative training concepts together with partners from the fields of industry, research and teaching. Together with UAS Technikum Wien, ITQ will present the modular production facility “Mi5” at the “Smart Automation” fair in Vienna. “Biscuit burgers” and cocktails will be produced. UAS Technikum Wien will provide the chocolate topping from the 3D printer. The idea of the “Makeathon”, which will take place at “Automatica” in Munich on 23 and 24 June, is to define nothing so as to ensure the maximum degree of innovative freedom. Students must build and program their own (miniature) robots in a defined time using the equipment available.
Digitalization of production under lifelike conditions
“There is currently no other teaching and research factory like this in Austria, in which automation systems from different manufacturers and technology generations work together in a network,” explains Erich Markl, Head of the Institute for Advanced Engineering Technologies at UAS Technikum Wien and project leader of the digital factory. “Similarly, industrial companies (SMEs in particular) are faced with the challenge of integrating existing equipment into Industry 4.0 concepts.”
Globally leading technology producers have provided robot systems and automation hardware and software worth around EUR 1 million at the Brigittenau site for the training, as well as for industrial and research projects. “This demonstrates the extraordinary level of confidence being placed by business in our approach to digital manufacturing. Companies such as ABB, Festo, Kuka, Siemens, SMC and Wittmann are on board as cooperation partners,” says Markl.