A Learning Factory Concept for Slovak Manufacturing SMEs
3 Pages Posted: 2 Jun 2021 Last revised: 19 Jan 2023
Date Written: June 1, 2021
Competitiveness and performance of manufacturing companies depends greatly on their ability to react to the dynamically changing market demands. Digitalization and smart production represent efficient means to foster such ability. Proper deployment of new technologies must be driven by expected benefits defined by the companies themselves, and it is to a large extent connected with the competences of their employees to guide innovations. The frequently used concept of learning factory, representing a factory of the future, may discourage namely SMEs and their employees, since it creates an image of high investment costs and does not show instant applicability in current conditions. This paper presents the concept of the learning factory established at the Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava, focused on Slovak manufacturing SMEs with their existing infrastructure and offering solutions linked to their specific needs, while making a convenient use of new digital technologies. This concept stems from the long-time experience in education of the trainees from industry, yet also considering the future key employees—current university students. The proposed concept has a wide use, since similar challenges are relevant to manufacturing SMEs in general.
Keywords: learning factory, digital transformation, manufacturing SMEs, testbeds, Industry 4.0, Slovakia
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