Hand in hand with the great change that digitalization has brought about in recent years, a new concept has emerged: Industry 4.0. It covers the set of technologies that are allowing the leap to the digital and connected industry. Large companies already have innovation departments that allow them to integrate digitization, but small and medium-sized companies often do not have the resources to tackle such a major change and need the support of external agents to help them.
Being aware of the needs that arise due to these changes, our coordinating partner Politeknika Txorierri are pushing towards supporting the technological innovation of SMEs, by creating a laboratory where they can carry out the necessary tests before taking the final step in their facilities, as in this way investments can be made with greater security, while the start-up time and associated errors are reduced. This laboratory will work with sensors that will capture the most important data in a machining process (motor temperature, power and energy consumed, tool vibration, etc.), and then store and analyse the data with advanced processing techniques. The results will be used to improve the production processes of companies and to train their workers in specific Industry 4.0 techniques.
Different actions are currently being carried out in our workshops. On the one hand, the mechanics workshop is being adapted with the aim of improving the management of its use by students and reducing its energy consumption. This workshop is made up of conventional lathes and milling machines, and through the installation of programmable logic controllers (PLC) the operation of each machine will be controlled and the necessary measures will be taken to evaluate its energy consumption. A SCADA system will be in charge of storing the operating data of the machinery, as well as implementing a reservation system so that students can access the machines only at the assigned time and avoid delays and excessive energy consumption. The data generated will serve to evaluate the efficiency of the system and propose improvements to it.
Likewise, an environmental control system will be installed in the mechanical workshop based on air quality sensors, noise sensors and systems to minimize the use of resources and the generation of waste. The generated data will be stored in an IoT platform accessible by our environmental control students to propose improvement measures and evaluate their results.
In addition to accompanying companies, all these technologies will serve to train future workers in Industry 4.0, since students in the automation, environmental control and telecommunications fields will participate in challenges designed to help them acquire the technical and human skills related to data management, one of the most important values of the industry of the future.
Project DTAM is dedicated on helping students and basically anyone out there, pass the threshold of the manufacturing skills gap, by creating an innovative training curriculum aiming to transfer key Advanced manufacturing skills. Stay tuned as we discuss this in one of our next upcoming articles.