On November 4 some of the Slovak and Austrian FactoRIS team members visited two learning factories at Graz University of Technology (TU Graz).
The first one was the LEAD Factory operated by the Institute of Innovation and Industrial Management. The assistant Kai Rüdele gave us an introduction to the learning factory and its focus on four core topics: Lean management, Energy efficiency, Agile operations and Digitization (LEAD). The LEAD Factory is essentially a miniature industrial manufacturing site containing an assembly line of a product available on the market – a scooter. It regularly holds practice-oriented workshops where participants (either students or industry workforce) learn hands-on to turn an inefficient production process into a leaner, digitized, more energy efficient and agile process. After a walkthrough, assistent and working group leader Maria Hulla gave us an interesting talk on the topic “Towards digitalization in production in SMEs – A qualitative study of challenges, competencies and requirements for trainings”, followed by inspiring discussions.
The second one was the smartfactory operated by the Institute of Production Engineering. We were lucky to get an introduction and a very interactive walkthrough by its founder, Dr. Rudolf Pichler. The smartfactory is essentially a factory for research and learning, which provides industrial facilities for manufacturing and assembly which are interconnected via most modern products of the information and communication technologies, including collaborative robotics, mobile robotics, edge computing, RFID applications. remote control of robots, data Integration, virtual commissioning, etc. It offers research and knowledge transfer for companies of commerce and industry. This cyberphysical production system is ready for SMEs in particular but can be visited and experienced by any interested persons and organisations. It is of course actively used in dedicated university courses, taught by Dr. Pichler as well.
Before leaving Graz, we also managed to visit its dominating feature – the famous clock tower.