On March 1st, the Smart Industry hub Gate2 in Gilze en Rijen launched the first Cyber Physical Factory (CPF) in the Netherlands. CPF is a testing ground where SMEs and knowledge institutions collaborate on industrial innovation projects. This production test line, which is unique in the Netherlands, is equipped with the latest artificial intelligence techniques, such as robotics, sensors, PLCs, augmented and virtual reality, digital twin, Internet of Things and 5G. Here, students and employees will follow training and education, and companies test their products and processes before they enter the market.
The initiative to bring the CPF to our country comes from Gate2 and Midpoint Brabant, the economic development organization of companies, education and governments in Central Brabant. In this process they work closely with, among others, the German producer Festo, Avans Hogeschool, ROC Tilburg, Curio West-Brabant, Ericsson, Hoppenbrouwers Techniek, Fujifilm, Rabobank, SBHO and the nine municipalities of the Hart van Brabant region. Other educational institutions and innovative SMEs can also participate. The CPF is in line with Brabant's ambition to remain in the international top of the high-tech manufacturing industry.
Pierre van Kleef, Gate2 director and Midpoint Brabant Smart Industry program manager: “There is a lot of manufacturing industry in this region. It is not always possible for SMEs to invest in these types of new production techniques. Within the CPF we bring companies and education together to develop the necessary knowledge and research product development. Here you can physically experience whether, for example, robotization in the process accelerates or improves production. This is not always possible within our own factory. You can't just stop a production process, convert everything to test an experiment and then adjust everything again. But you can do that here. ”
LIFETIME LEARNING AND DEVELOPING
Education is also closely involved with CPF. For example, Avans' minor Smart Industry and Internet of Things has recently acquired a physical place on Gate2. The students work on research and real life projects that are important for companies for the further development of their products. To learn by practice, where they receive support from so-called hybrid teachers. In the CPF they work together with students and company employees in such a way that it is no longer visible who exactly the teacher, student or employee is.
In the learning and experimenting environment of the CPF field lab, SMEs, start-ups and students can pioneer and discover what is possible in the field of digital techniques. Such as the possibility to respond flexibly to current production issues. The components are easy to convert, so that several products can be manufactured with the same machine parts. This allows you to produce small volumes and quickly switch to a new product. This allows companies to respond decisively to the increasing demand for flexible production in their own country. Besides that, students can more easily follow modular and interdisciplinary technical education.
There is a great need in the business world for well-trained technical personnel. Companies therefore have an interest in state-of-the-art facilities for "lifetime learning and developing". At CPF they can retrain their employees, in co-creation with experts, students and… robots.
Source: Midpoint Brabant