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FADZ Promoting basic and advanced vocational training in AM at FADZ

Editor: Briggette Jaya

Entreprenuers, Bavarian politicians and representatives of the Coburg University got together recently in Lichtenfels.

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Some 170 guests from the economic sector getting information on digital future technologies.
Some 170 guests from the economic sector getting information on digital future technologies.
(Source: FADZ)

Some 170 guests of the new FADZ Research and Application Centre for Digital Future Technologies (Forschungs- und Anwendungszentrum für digitale Zukunftstechnologien) met to discuss education and opportunities of digital transformation. At the event, end September 2019 in Lichtenfels, the FADZ reiterated the importance of basic and advanced vocational training for digital industrial strategies. The initiative includes the introduction of a new master's programme, ‘Additive Manufacturing and Lightweight Engineering’ at the Coburg University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Lichtenfels, and the acknowledgment that digital strategies in the industry and trade must be promoted for securing competitiveness.

Following the principle ‘think global, act local’, the FADZ positions itself as a bridge provider and the ambassador of new digital strategies in the Industry 4.0 era. The challenges, in which digital transformation affects companies, big and small, and their employees, are subjected to constant change. As such, young people must know that they have to adapt to this change when choosing a career or vocational training. This is why basic and advanced vocational training in digital technologies is an important element to ensure a good future. Here, the FADZ pursues a holistic approach in digital revolution, which encompasses academic education and research. It also approaches students and citizens, and offers assistance to small/medium-sized companies and crafts on their journey towards digital transformation to make them fit in tackling future tasks. In doing so, the FADZ receives support from regional politics, the Bavarian State and the German federal government, building a bridge between the Coburg University and regional businesses with practical application support and consulting services.

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The FADZ initiative, which was launched in 2015, is just about entering its implementation phase with the ambitious aims of boosting know-how and training in digital technologies for the economy and trade. To this end, the old Kirschbaummühle hydroelectric power plant in Lichtenfels will be renovated and reconstructed, which will then be the Research and Application Centre for Digital Technologies. Architectural design plans from the Coburg University have been submitted, which include space for the master's programme ‘Additive Manufacturing and Lightweight Engineering’ in Lichtenfels, starting with initially 120 students as well as making room for an application platform for industrial and craft businesses from the region. The FADZ will invest 8.4 million euros in the building, teaching facilities and laboratories, with a planned floor space of 2,300 m². An annual operation cost for the FADZ is estimated at about one million euros. The commissioning of the FADZ in Lichtenfels is scheduled for early 2023.

Digital knowledge as a nucleus

Process optimisation, automation and Industry 4.0 are being designed by enterprises at full speed. There is no way around it when it comes to safeguarding future added value and employment. Digital machines, processes and materials are available for new beginnings. "The next step of the digital transformation is the human being. Education and further training now need to be strengthened. We need to ensure broad-scale implementation by means of knowledge transfer for new ideas," says Frank Carsten Herzog, founder and managing partner, Concept Laser. Thanks to the laser-melting process for metals, Herzog created excellent conditions for the ‘Generation 3D’ at the Lichtenfels site. Sharing these competences of the company and the Coburg University with the general public is the mission that the FADZ is now going to face.

The new master's programme is just the first step. The realm is far more comprehensive: AI (artificial intelligence), big data, bionics, topology optimisation and lightweight engineering are being established across disciplines in all industrial sectors, from automotive and medical engineering through to aerospace and architecture. "With the help of a training campaign, today's 3D tools can dramatically re-shape our concept of processes and products. Basic and advanced vocational training is fundamental to the design of the digital future," Herzog adds.

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