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Smart Factory Training | Industry 4.0 Hands-On Skills

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Amatrol’s Smart Factory learning systems are fully-connected, flexible manufacturing systems that connect physical systems, operational information, and human assets to control manufacturing, maintenance, inventory, and supply chain operations. Amatrol’s in-depth curriculum teaches all aspects of smart factory maintenance and operation in a self-directed, interactive format.

Smart Factory Skills are Key to a Rewarding Career!

Smart factories require highly-trained technicians that can set up, operate, and maintain all aspects of these systems. Amatrol’s self-paced, interactive curriculum and hands-on equipment with industry-standard components provide individuals with the tools needed to prepare them for a successful career in this field.

Amatrol offers two options for hands-on Smart Factory training:

Smart Factory Mechatronics Training System

Amatrol’s Smart Factory Mechatronics Training System is an eight-station automated manufacturing line that assembles a functional, two-way pneumatic valve. This system utilizes either a FANUC LR Mate robot or an Amatrol Pegasus robot, iGear Squeaks software for Smart Factory communication, Allen-Bradley and/or Siemens PLCs, and a ninth cart that houses systems for Ethernet (87-EN), Wireless Communication (87-WL), and Network Security (87-NS) training. Each of the eight main stations of the Mechatronics System features a smart sensor or component for Smart Communication, including pneumatic/vacuum, ultrasonic, photoeye, stack light, electrical current, and analog pressure.

Smart Factory Tabletop Mechatronics Training System

Amatrol’s Smart Factory Tabletop Mechatronics System provides an option for when training space is too limited for the full Mechatronics line, but Smart Factory training remains necessary. Smart Factory Tabletop Mechatronics is a fantastic option for introducing Industry 4.0 training into high schools. This five-station system connects with Amatrol’s Portable PLC Troubleshooting Learning System – AB Compact Logix (990-PABCL1F), which shows performance analysis of the system via I/O Link. Performance analysis information includes transmitter pressure, photoeye signal strength, material type for parts passing through the system, RFID tag output, and more! This system also includes Smart Factory components for Ethernet (87-TEN), RFID/Sensors (87-TMS5), Barcode (87-TBR), and more!

What is Smart Factory / IIoT / Industry 4.0?

Living in a “Smart” World

Remember when “smart” was an adjective used mostly to describe people? Today, you probably have a smartphone. You might wear a smartwatch. You could even live in a smart home that features multiple connected devices, such as thermostats, doorbells, virtual assistants, light bulbs, security systems, door locks, and garage door openers.

When we attach the word “smart” to devices, we’re indicating that they’re part of the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT devices can communicate with other devices via the Internet to make our lives more comfortable and convenient in all sorts of ways.

Today’s students have grown up in a world of connected devices, and they understand their importance and benefits readily. Yet, many of them don’t necessarily realize the extent to which smart devices will impact their future careers.

A New Industrial Revolution

The world is in the early stages of a fourth Industrial Revolution that holds the potential for a massive impact on industrial efficiency and productivity. It goes by a variety of names and terms: the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), the Industrial Internet, Industry 4.0, and Smart Factory, to name a few.

The terms work together to create a working definition of Industry 4.0, which can be described as the combination of cyber-physical systems, automation, and the Internet of Things to create a smart factory environment. Imagine a factory in which robots and self-driving vehicles communicate with each other and the workers overseeing them to report on a wide variety of information, such as throughput, cycle times, mechanical breakdowns, and predictive maintenance.

Smart sensors and smart devices possess the ability to create an enormous amount of data that can be shared via cloud technology to not only monitor real-time production status but also to predict future maintenance needs and even order parts in advance of when they’ll be required.

Smart factories are not just a thing of the future. They exist now, and Industry 4.0 pioneers are leading the way across a broad cross-section of industries, pushing competitors to use the Industrial Internet as a tool to take them to the next level.

The Industry 4.0 Skills Gap

Some people fear a future in which robots are routinely replacing humans in the workplace. However, the Industry 4.0 reality is different. While machines and automated processes have replaced some low-skill jobs, the advanced technologies involved in Industry 4.0 have created a tremendous demand for highly-skilled workers to program, analyze, and maintain the many parts of these complex systems.

Although today’s students understand connected devices and their benefits, many still lack the skills they will need to thrive in an Industry 4.0 environment. They see the benefits of advanced technology, but they lack real-world exposure to manufacturing equipment and processes.

As educators seek to prepare their students for careers in smart factories, they quickly realize they must teach skills in a variety of areas, including industrial equipment and technology, smart sensors and smart devices, computerized control systems, network security, and data collection and analysis.

Since many of these areas may be new ground for educators, quality curricula and access to authentic industrial equipment are critical. Amatrol supplies the hands-on simulators and in-depth curricula that today’s students will need to prepare them to thrive in an Industry 4.0 career.

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