The Institute for Industrial Manufacturing and Management or IFF (Institut für Industrielle Fertigung und Fabrikbetrieb) and Festo Didactic have developed an innovative learning environment for advanced Industrial Engineering (aIE). This forms the foundation of an excellent post-academic, basic and further training programme for industrial engineers already working in the industry, i.e. technical managers, planners and designers of production processes.
"If a company wants to ensure its survival and its competitiveness, it is absolutely essential that production planners and those responsible for factory organisation learn how they can react to market turbulence without interfering with existing production runs," states Professor Engelbert Westkämper, head of the IFF at the University of Stuttgart and the Frauhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Automation (Institut für Produktionstechnik und Automatisierung, IPA).
The area referred to until now as "industrial engineering" – essentially work and process planning – must be linked in the future with the tools of the digital factory and modular production systems in order to improve adaptability. The use of innovative technology within the digital and virtual factory can further increase the potential for optimisation. This is what the Stuttgart production researchers call "advanced Industrial Engineering".
The need to be able to continually optimise factories and production systems for the future is massive. However, the range of options currently available for further training which focuses on aIE and is practice-oriented is no longer sufficient. That is why Professor Westkämper initiated the innovative training factory. It uses a unique and novel combination of methods to convey knowledge: a physical model factory, a digital learning island and theoretical modules.