Digitalisation of the manufacturing industry has been a hot topic for some time. It is clear that the application of new technologies, such as Digital Twin, can offer great benefits, such as increased efficiency and cost savings. However, it is not always easy for companies to make the step to digitalisation, and especially for SMEs there can be many obstacles. However, STODT’s Learning Factory offers a solution.
STODT is a national technical training provider based in Hengelo and Best. The Learning Factory is part of STODT and offers a simulation environment in which different target groups, including CEOs, workers, jobseekers, students and course participants,among others, gain insight into the possibilities of Digital Twin techniques for the manufacturing industry.
An important part of the activities in the Learning Factory is the development of teaching materials. This material is valuable not only for course participants and students, but also for companies that want to experiment with Digital Twin techniques. The simulation environment makes it possible to test different scenarios and experiment with different Digital Twin applications. This allows companies to gain insight into the possibilities and advantages of Digital Twin in an accessible way.
STODT participates in the Interreg project EMR Digital Twin Academy. This project is carried out within the framework of Interreg V-A Euregion Meuse-Rhine, with a grant from the European Regional Development Fund”. This project aims to investigate the possibilities of Digital Twin techniques and inform companies about the application of these techniques in the manufacturing industry. For Workpackage 4, STODT contacted companies in SMEs to find out what their needs are regarding Digital Twin developments and whether they would like to contribute use cases to the project.
At the moment, there is still little use of Digital Twin in companies and so there are few practical situations or use cases to investigate. STODT is now exploring the possibilities for use cases in its own training facilities. Recently, STODT provided several demonstrations for SME managers, employees and students with the Digital Twin applications (use cases) set up in the Learning Factory. This informed the companies about the (im)possibilities of the various DT applications. Talks and interviews then asked what added value they see in DT applications.STODT’s Learning Factory is a special place where different target groups can get acquainted with the possibilities of Digital Twin techniques for the manufacturing industry. STODT is a training institute that has been providing training for the manufacturing industry for more than 30 years. The Learning Factory complements these trainings and offers a unique learning environment where theory and practice come together.
The Learning Factory uses a simulation environment that allows participants to experience how Digital Twin techniques work. This is important because Digital Twin techniques are becoming increasingly important in the manufacturing industry. Using these techniques, companies can make their production process more efficient, save costs and improve their products. It is therefore very important that different target groups gain insight into the possibilities of these techniques.
The target groups visiting the Learning Factory are very diverse. For instance, there are CEOs who want to know about the possibilities of Digital Twin techniques for their company, workers who want to brush up on their knowledge, jobseekers who want to orientate on a job in the manufacturing industry, students who want to specialise and course participants who want to deepen their knowledge.
One of the outcomes of these discussions is that companies find it difficult to oversee and assess the advantages and disadvantages of Digital Twin for their production process. They also have no idea what the costs for this transition will be. Companies indicate that they need some kind of roadmap for the introduction of Digital Twin within their company. In addition, there are big differences in knowledge and experience. The level of development also varies enormously. This is partly due to the available infrastructure among SMEs, scale, limited investment opportunities and the wide variety of production activities.
The results of these in-depth sessions serve as input for the development of modules in Workpackage 3. With this, STODT wants to support companies in introducing Digital Twin in their production process. The modules will be developed based on the needs of SMEs and will provide practical tools to facilitate the introduction of Digital Twin.
Understandably, developing modules for different target groups and with different needs can be challenging. It is important to have a clear understanding of the specific target groups and their needs to design modules that are relevant and effective. One option is to develop different versions of the modules for different target groups. Each version can contain specific information, examples and practical applications relevant to the target group.
It is also important to design the modules in a way that is easy to understand and accessible to all target groups. This can be achieved, for example, by using clear and simple language, visual aids and interactive elements.
Finally, it is crucial to evaluate the effectiveness of the modules and collect feedback from users to improve and optimise the modules for the target groups. This can be achieved through evaluations, surveys and focus groups.
This project is being carried out within the context of Interreg V-A Euregio Meuse-Rhine, with subsidy from the European Regional Development Fund