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No digitization without humans

by Marco van der Hoeven

In a move to maintain competitiveness in the German industrial sector, the focus is increasingly turning towards the proficient use of digital solutions. However, it’s not just about the technology; the key lies in equipping employees with digital skills.

In recognition of this need, the Institute for Production Management, Technology, and Machine Tools (PTW) at TU Darmstadt, a member of the SEF Smart Electronic Factory e.V., has collaborated with the Bildungswerk der hessischen Wirtschaft (BWHW) and SEF member Bosch Rexroth to develop an Industry 4.0 certification course. This program is designed to provide practical knowledge in areas such as artificial intelligence, value stream analysis, and digital shop floor management.

Recent studies and surveys, including those conducted within SEF, indicate that digitalization in the manufacturing industry is still not sufficiently integrated. Many companies recognize the need but struggle to implement digital solutions effectively. According to Christina Hild, Managing Director of SEF Smart Electronic Factory e.V., the challenges are multifaceted. There is often a lack of understanding about where to begin with digitalization, the benefits of applications are not always clear, and there is a need for personnel who understand and can appropriately apply new technologies.

SEF Smart Electronic Factory e.V. and its members from industry, research, and academia are committed to empowering medium-sized enterprises for the challenges of Industry 4.0, including overcoming obstacles in digitalization.

The “Industry 4.0 Certification Course” developed by the PTW, Bosch Rexroth, and BWHW is part of this initiative. This course offers practical knowledge in six modules over eight days, spread over several months. Participants are trained in key areas of digitalization, including the fundamentals of Industry 4.0, retrofitting production, basics of artificial intelligence, value stream analysis, digital shop floor management, and Team 4.0 – overcoming barriers and successful collaboration.

Prof. Joachim Metternich, head of the PTW, emphasizes the value of this program: “The course enables participants to earn a certificate from the Technical University of Darmstadt, which documents successful participation and the competence gained, showcasing their potential to employers.” This approach underscores the importance of human factors in the digital transformation of the industry, highlighting that technological advancement and human expertise must go hand in hand.

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