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Industrie-4.0-TÜV_Rheinland_Akademie

Industry 4.0 needs technology and skilled people

Industry 4.0 is revolutionizing the producing middle class and corporations. It strengthens competitiveness, accelerates product development, and enables individual products. IIoT, also known as Industry 4.0, is more than just the technical digitalization of industry. The planning of new digital processes and their introduction are unthinkable without skilled employees. Qualification and competence management of all players, as well as personnel certification and an external view, are important success factors for the development of the smart factory of the future.

Industry 4.0 or Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is a collective term for digitization in industrial production. It involves the networking of machines, tools, and people in seamless digital end-to-end process chains. From the customer to production and suppliers, a completely digital performance chain is realized, through which all data is available for all process steps.

Manufacturing companies in particular are looking for a way to realize competitive advantages with technologies based on Big Data, AI, and Industry 4.0. The factory of the future is intelligent, flexible, automated, efficient, and sustainable. Large volumes of data should not only be manageable but also converted into Smart Data and used by Smart Data Services – from the store floor to after-sales service at the management level.

Currently, 17.7 billion IIoT connections are said to exist worldwide, Juniper Research reported in early November 2020. The British market researchers forecast an increase to 36.8 billion networked industrial things by 2025, which means they expect growth of over 100 per cent in just five years. In their study “Industrial IoT: Future Market Outlook, Technology Analysis and Key Player 2020-2025“, the analysts identify smart manufacturing as the most important growth driver. In particular, the widespread introduction of 5G wireless technology, narrowband IoT and low-power wide area networks (LPWA) are playing a key role for new service offerings in the manufacturing industry. In the intelligent factory of the future, real-time data will enable the autonomous production of individual parts at the cost of mass production. For this to succeed, companies need qualified employees. The bottleneck for the introduction of Industry 4.0 lies less in technology. Rather, it is the people with the right skills to ensure that intelligent value creation is actually introduced successfully.

Planning competence for seamless digital process chains centralized for IIoT added value

For a smart factory to be successful it is not enough to simply connect machines, production planning, or Manufacturing Execution Systems (PPS / MES) with an IIoT solution. The work starts much earlier when a company also wants to create real added value with its Industry 4.0 project. The starting point should always be an assessment of how ready a company is for Industry 4.0. Just because a company already uses tablets does not mean that its IIoT maturity level is already particularly high. Very often media breaks, data silos, and data streams that end up in one system, again and again, prevent the creation of value from data and the use of all data where it is urgently needed.

While many companies initially focus only on their production, production planners often forget the external interfaces to suppliers and customers as well as the internal networking with ERP, merchandise management, purchasing, accounting, product development, after-sales, and quality assurance.

At the beginning of an Industry 4.0 project, a systemic view is therefore required to analyze the processes. Building on this, the processes must be adapted based on an IIoT strategy, which includes a detailed description of objectives and functions. The aim is to integrate the entire company, its suppliers, and customers into a fully digitalized end-to-end process.

The goal of this planning phase must be to network all systems and all stakeholders, all data silos, all potential data sources, right through to quality assurance and after-sales processes in a seamless digital Industry 4.0 process chain in the future. In doing so, companies often underestimate the challenges of their many incompatible interfaces. It is true that data is created everywhere. But it must also be understood by all networked systems. After all, data only unfolds its added value if it can also be utilized as needed. This means that every digital device, right down to a torque wrench, must be integrated in a way that it feeds its actual data into the system and can be controlled by it. Only through this consistent end-to-end process chain can production steps be consistently and continuously optimized and transparently monitored even years later in case of a complaint or maintenance. With these complex requirements for a new Industry 4.0 infrastructure, individual disciplines such as the IT department and production planning are often overtaxed by themselves. In each case, there is a lack of know-how and an overview of the whole as well as the company’s boundaries.

An external view is advisable for the Industry 4.0 realization for two other reasons: before hardware and software are purchased, the requirements must be precisely defined and it must also be verified that the planned adaptations to the company’s own processes in IIoT standard solutions such as MindSphere are possible at all and will bring the expected improvements. In addition, employees must also go through learning curves parallel to the process changeover.

Developing Industry 4.0 competencies of employees

After all, for Industry 4.0 innovations to be implemented successfully, employees must be able to keep up with the pace. The basis for this is a management system and an organization in which the dynamism and speed of a holistic and flexible end-to-end process responsibility are lived out. In contrast to industrial mass production, where the same operations, i.e. constant repetition, were always necessary for the manufacture of large numbers of identical products, the employees in an Industry 4.0 production facility need a different attitude and different skills. Agility, interdisciplinarity, and creativity cannot be arranged. Rather, it is a change process that affects the entire company and in which everyone must be empowered to play an active role in shaping it. In an Industry 4.0 production environment, machines, devices, tools, sensors, and people work together and must communicate with each other. Employees must operate the hardware and software, evaluate, interpret, and document data and interact agilely with the IIoT infrastructure. And they have to learn to do this. Parallel to the introduction of Industry 4.0, a qualification initiative must therefore be launched to build up the role-specific skills of employees.

Ideally, the change process of introducing Industry 4.0 should be accompanied by a dedicated training system that prepares all employees for the new world in a timely manner using virtual classrooms and hybrid forms of learning. In security-relevant areas, in addition to training and further education, personnel certifications are also required to be able to provide proof of the employees’ qualifications. The goal must be that with the start of IIoT live operations, all employees have an understanding of the processes and the supporting hardware and software that is adapted to their roles and tasks. Only when these conditions have been met can a company exploit the full potential of its new Industry 4.0 production facility through the interaction of people, technology, and processes.

TÜV Rheinland is one of the few players in the world that can offer integrated Industry 4.0 consulting from a single source. Experts for Smart Factory work closely with the specialists for competence development and competence measurement in IIoT. TÜV Rheinland is currently offering live online training courses on what digitization and Industry 4.0 mean for their own company and how their own business model can be made even more successful through digital manufacturing services. Experts present use cases to explain selected KPIs and show best practice examples from various industries. More information about an integrated Industry 4.0 strategy can be found here and also in German and Chinese.

Competence Management TÜV Rheinland Academy

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New Work: From profession to competence

If you’re going to remain competitive in the labor market, you have to develop your competencies. If you want to monetize your workforce, you have to be flexible and willing to learn. Hardly anyone works his whole life in the same profession. This applies to both companies and employees. In the USA, sometimes competencies are already more important than the vocational qualification once acquired. Is that the future?

The ever shorter half-life of once obtained knowledge has been further shortened with the advent of the computer, rationalization, and automation. Since the 1980s,  it has become increasingly clear that lifelong learning is essential in many occupations. The professional idea, which is based on having undergone a clearly defined education and which has since developed further through real on-the-job training, is becoming more and more defensive. Today, the profession is at best an entrance ticket to the foyer of professional life, which after a few years is hardly suitable as a ticket for the next levels of the career ladder.

New Work in the Age of Digitalization

In the developed economies of the West, further development of the professional idea can already be observed in the nineties. In the USA, labor market researchers and labor ministers such as Robert Reich already recognized in the first Clinton Administration since 1993 that the dependent middle class needed access to the labor market even without a university degree. Inspired by the theses of “New Work”, which the Austrian-American social philosopher Frithjof Bergman founded in the 1980s, employment and education programs were developed that no longer addressed the deficits of the rural unemployed, but rather the existing competence that needed to be developed. Starting from the thesis, which has been refuted today, that the job system is at its end, the freedom of action and independence of people beyond gainful employment must be promoted. After the New Work was discussed a dozen times up and down, the term is now experiencing a renaissance with digitalization, but with different signs. Again, the motive is to open access to the labor market to a detached “working class”. Unlike Bergman, however, it is not a question of the emancipation of the former industrial workers in the “Rust Belt”, as the Democrats call them “White Trash”. Rather, it is digitization and the shortage of skilled workers and the associated lack of digital skills in companies that have led to the emergence of new qualification programs in the USA.

TechHire relies on competencies beyond formal qualification

If you can do the job, you should get the job: Since 2015, the social enterprise TechHire has been expanding in the USA, operating over 200 training facilities in 72 municipalities in social partnership with 1,300 employers. The model is similar to a dual training program according to the German model. The experts use online entrance tests to identify competencies and interests. Discussions with potential employers follow this. After a few months of all-day training, the participants complete an internship in a company. A wide variety of local TechHire companies specialize in qualifications in technology industries. Specifically, they have improved matching between job seekers, employers, teachers, policy-makers and local training groups: the online tool “training finder“, developed by LinkedIn’s business network, links relevant information on competence profiles and income opportunities, skills required, training programs and vacancies for different job advertisements.

Thus even applicants who do not formally have any qualifications, but who have acquired competencies even in self-study, have a chance to specifically promote them in order to get them into jobs. Autodidacts, for example, who work on computers in their spare time also have a chance to get a job as a software tester with 40,000 dollars after a qualification. TechHire’s competence-oriented approach has already enabled companies to fill 4,000 vacancies that would otherwise remain vacant today.

Conclusion: Competence development creates a vocation

TechHire and its partners have thus managed in an unbureaucratic and, above all, intelligent way to make a contribution to reducing the shortage of skilled workers in companies and to imparting new individual perspectives to people by promoting competencies. A mission to which TÜV Rheinland Academy has committed itself, particularly in the field of technical professions. Digitalization is constantly creating new requirement profiles for which it is necessary to establish appropriate competence models that enable people and organizations to remain capable of action and to actively shape both the present and the future. Artificial intelligence, digitization and automation will create many new jobs that will have to be taken over by today’s “skilled workers”. The way there is competence development on the job, actively supported by companies that have recognized the value of lifelong learning. It is also important to lay the right foundations in the field of initial vocational training for young people and to start thinking about tomorrow’s requirements today. Application cases of TÜV Rheinland Academy, which as a partner supports governments in various countries worldwide in establishing competence development via the dual training system according to the German model, close the technical education gap between state schools and degrees and the requirements of the industry. In this way, people and companies are actively enabled to master the challenges of digital transformation. In individual cases, personnel certifications ensure that competencies are always up to date and ensure a uniform quality level of the employees in the company.

 

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International Career with Steel and Anti-Corrosion-Protection-Training in Poland

We encounter steel constructions everywhere. Steel is one of the most versatile building materials and enables wide-stretched, slender and transparent creations in an almost unlimited variety of shapes. Also the size of the object is practically endless. However, steel must be cared with diligence and regularly maintained to ensure its longevity. TÜV Rheinland has set up appropriate Anti-Corrosion-Training courses in response to the market requirements for corrosion protection in Poland. Anna Konewecka, Local Stream Manager at TÜV Rheinland Poland, gives an insight.

Building constructions such as houses, towers, bridges, but also cars are made of steel, on which in turn a lot of welding work is carried out. Also, steel structures are painted. But what many don’t know: Painting is used not only for aesthetic reasons, but also to protect the steel from corrosion. Anti-corrosion coatings are a necessity, not only because of normative or customer requirements, but also because they ensure the quality and safety of the use of constructions and building objects.

Insufficient quality of buildings and steel structures is almost synonymous with inadequate safety. The quality and safety of buildings, objects and structures depend not only on their performance, but also on correct design and material solutions and proper use. Quality also depends on the awareness and qualifications of the personnel. Given growing demands for standards in the construction industry and an increasing need for employee skills, particularly in the area of corrosion protection, TÜV Rheinland Poland took advantage of this opportunity and began expanding its corrosion protection training as early as 2012.

Lack of knowledge in steel factories

“We had recognized that workers in steel factories had previously lacked expertise in the field of corrosion protection. Whether painters, quality controllers or corrosion protection inspectors: the requirements placed on those involved vary depending on the activity. Customers need someone who knows what kind of paint to use for a particular steel structure, who knows how to use it and who can also test the paint finish,” explains Anna Konewecka, Local Stream Manager at TÜV Rheinland Poland. “Unfortunately, there was no qualification for quality control in the field of corrosion protection on the market. We have noticed that the Polish market is very interested in corrosion protection and the market needs are constant. So we’ve developed a training program that meets the needs of the market.”

The target group for the training includes all manufacturing companies active in industry and dealing with steel, including the automotive industry. The division trains around 100 quality controller of paint protective coatings every year since 2013. Corrosion protection training is one of the most sought-after courses offered by TÜV Rheinland Poland. “Our unique selling point is that we combine the training program with the accredited program for personnel certification according to ISO 17024, the standardized standard for personnel certification,” explains Anna Konewecka. This means that all corrosion protection controllers and inspectors qualified by TÜV Rheinland Academy are recognized throughout Europe – which is additional benefit to the participants. “Our qualification for Inspector of paint protective coatings, for example, is relevant for the worldwide known qualification “FROSIO Inspector”. We are the second accredited personnel certification body in Europe to offer this qualification level.”

Cooperation with companies and universities

The anti-corrosion training for quality controllers includes 30 hours, for inspectors it’s 72 hours and one day exam after each training. The examination is divided into a theoretical and a practical part. In the practical test, for example, the participants receive a sample of a paint finish and have to check the parameters and technical features, among other things.

TÜV Rheinland Poland does not only cooperate with the commercial market. “We also see an opportunity in cooperation with universities. One of our partners is the Silesian Technical University in Gliwice. We have been working together in various areas for 19 years,” says the Local Stream Manager. The Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of the Silesian Technical University has decided to introduce a specialization for corrosion protection qualification. TÜV Rheinland promoted this specialization and was actively involved in the programme design. The first four students have already been successfully certified in the accredited TÜV Rheinland procedure.

 

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