Eurada News nº388 - May 2019

Improve Industry 4.0 in your local wood and furniture companies

One quarter of the world ́s furniture is produced in the EU. In 2012, more than 900 000 workers were employed in this sector. These figures are 13% lower than in 2007, while the Asian market has increased its production 230% during the same period. In this context, the implementation and transference of the state-of-the-art technologies into the production chain is a key enabler if the European furniture and woodworking industries are to remain competitive. 

One quarter of the world ́s furniture is produced in the EU. In 2012, more than 900 000 workers were employed in approximately 126 000 firms, and production amounted to more than € 84 billion. However, these figures are 13% lower than in 2007, while the Asian market has increased its production 230% during the same period. In this context, the implementation and transference of the state-of-the-art technologies into the production chain is a key enabler if the European furniture and woodworking industries are to remain competitive. This, coupled with a lack of staff  qualifications, an ageing workforce and the industries’ inability to attract young workers remain crucial points for these industries.

With the above challenges in mind, the IN4WOOD consortium, composed of Vocational Education and Training providers and sector experts, carried out a thorough analysis of the sector in terms of shortfalls and needs related to skills and competences regarding KETs and I4.0 in Spain, Italy, Germany and the UK. Results showed a lack of digital business strategy among furniture industries, especially SMEs, demonstrating a poor involvement in the Internet of Things and in the use of cloud solutions. The biggest barrier for the implementation of I4.0 is the lack of knowledge and skills among staff, along with insufficient training in the topic and the high cost of implementing such technologies. Research found that specific training programmes relating to the furniture and wood manufacturing sectors are not actually focused on I4.0 in any of the countries sampled. All these outcomes reinforced the urgent need to develop more appropriate training solutions to meet the sector’s demands.

Building on the outcomes of the analysis, the IN4WOOD consortium has developed an online course focused on enabling technologies of Industry 4.0, with practical examples in the furniture and wood sector, but applicable in other contexts. The course, currently in its pilot testing phase, is taught in a free and online web-based/mobile platform, with 300 learning video-pills (short videos of approx. 3 minutes) aimed at teaching key concepts to understand the digital transformation of companies towards Industry 4.0. Taking a learner through a range of (e-)learning activities, it allows user to build their knowledge progressively at their own speed and around everyday commitments.

Training content is organised in 6 modules:

  1. Introduction to Industry 4.0 (2 hours)
  2. Hybridisation between physical and digital world (35 hours): RFID/NFC, sensors, wearables, 3D printing, augmented reality, 3D modeling and scanning and robotics
  3. Telecommunications and data (15 hours): cloud computing, communications networks, cybersecurity, Internet of Things, integrated systems and big data
  4. Management systems (15 hours): collaborative platforms, logistics management systems and workflow
  5. Standards, certifications and legal issues of Industry 4.0 (3 hours)
  6. Implementing Industry 4.0 solutions for Factories of the Future (20 hours): final course work

At the end of each training module, students have to pass a final test to check the knowledge gained. At the end of the course, students will receive a completion certificate for the modules that they successfully completed.

All training materials will be available in English, Spanish, Italian and German.

Target students include:

  • students enrolled in higher education and graduates: Bsc, Msc, Phd.
  • students enrolled in vocational training and graduates in VET
  • Unemployed people and workers seeking to improve their skills and competences on the topic of digital revolution of factories, toward the I4.0 era (account managers, production manager, logistics managers, manufacturing, project managers, IT developers, sales people, analysts, …)

 

On the 29th and 30th of October EURADA will organise IN4WOOD’s final conference in Brussels. We’re still looking for is looking for speakers from wood and furniture companies that are currently applying advanced Industry4.0 technologies. For more information or expressions of interest, please contact Tessa Anné.