How do trainers of the new skill ‘Industry 4.0’ prepare competitors for upcoming WorldSkills competitions? What demands does industry place on the skilled workers of tomorrow?
In May, WorldSkills and Festo organized the Online Skills Competition with the topic of “Virtual Production” especially to answer these questions.
Preparing for a new discipline
Industry 4.0, unlike mechatronics, is a new skill at WorldSkills competitions and no trainers nor competitors have yet been able to gain real competition experience. So, how to prepare in the best possible way? What are the IT challenges you have to tackle; in which context can you try out the software and how do you simulate a competition situation?
Not only the trainers of the young competitors but also experts from the WorldSkills community had registered for the Online Skills Competition. Participating countries were South Africa, Great Britain, Poland, Germany, Switzerland, Japan and two teams from Vietnam. English was the common language. The different time zones did not pose a challenge, as the participants were allowed to choose their own time slot to solve the tasks on the day of the competition.
Software and hardware
For the “Virtual Production“, these tools were used via a cloud server: the simulation program CIROS, the Machine Execution Software MES4 for the communication between workpiece and machine, the laptop camera and the software Phyton for Machine Learning/AI as well as the configurable web store for the connection of the factory with the online store. To guarantee secure communication in machine networks, the participants used the NetLab as a hardware component, consisting of two routers and two switches.
The tasks were provided in the online learning portal Festo Learning Experience (Festo LX). Good time management was required, as users were automatically logged out after 60 minutes. The online competition took place for two full days in the respective country.
The Online Skills Competition can be seen as a rehearsal for upcoming WorldSkills competitions. Trainers as well as the young competitors have received sound theoretical knowledge and gained precious software user experience in this challenge.
Much of the success of the young talents lays in the hands of their trainers. The better they know the software and hardware used during the competition of this new skill, the better they can prepare the competitors who strive for medals. Festo is much committed to supporting both trainers and competitors.
Article submitted by
Festo Didactic SE