Detmold/Paderborn, 7 October 2016. Industry 4.0 is not only changing the production of the future, it is also changing education and permanent professional development. During a visit to the Lippe region in Eastern Westphalia, German President Joachim Gauck and Daniela Schadt found out more about the changes to the working world. During the discussion, he exchanged views with representatives of industry and research, unions and works councils. The topic of the discussion was: "the working world of the future". One of those taking part in the discussion was Dr Eberhard Niggemann, head of the Weidmüller Academy in Detmold. The specialist in electrical engineering is a partner in "it's OWL" (Intelligente Technische Systeme OstWestfalenLippe) and knows how important the acquisition of knowledge is in the Industry 4.0 era. The company has already successfully oriented the training and continuous professional development system at the Weidmüller Academy towards the future-oriented topic of digitalisation. "We see digitalisation as an opportunity to optimise production and meet customer requirements even better. But this is only possible if our employees are on board," explained Niggemann from the podium.
Dr. Eberhard Niggemann (li.) speaks with the German President Joachim Gauck. Copyright picture: „it’s OWL/Adamski“
When asked by the German President about the background to the academy, Niggemann cited more intense cooperation with universities: "This is where the technologies, which will be used in production within a few years, are born. Bringing this knowledge into the company and thus reinforcing its innovativeness was one of the reasons for setting up the academy." It also allows better response to changing requirements during the training period. While the trainees demonstrate a high level of affinity with digital media, they need to understand the processes behind it. Experienced employees need to be clearly shown how assistance systems can improve production.
The increased interdisciplinarity has an impact on the education profiles of individual jobs. This means there is still a demand for traditional mechanical engineers, even though more digital professions, such as IT, mechatronics and electronics, are becoming increasingly important. But "even a few years ago, mechanical engineers did not concern themselves with electrical engineering or information technology. Today, they need these skills," explains Niggemann.
The German President was impressed: "I would like it if the people directly involved in the development processes for technical innovations played a stronger role in the public debates on Industry 4.0. They can analyse much more accurately, are less about inciting frustration and fear, and instead seek to find potential solutions".
The other participants in the discussion were Dr Roman Dumitrescu (managing director of 'it’s OWL' cluster management), Prof. Günter W. Maier (University of Bielefeld, acting spokesperson for the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) 'Fortschrittskolleg' (progress college) on "Designing flexible working worlds"), Michael Schild (works council chairman and acting supervisory board chairman at Wincor Nixdorf AG) and Gabi Schilling (Industrial Union of Metalworkers' - IG Metall - regional directorate NRW). The discussion was preceded by a tour of the research and development centre for intelligent technical systems with a demonstration of a pilot project for Work 4.0 in the "Systems Engineering Live Lab".
+49 5231 14-0
+49 5231 14-292083