Mini-factory – a learning factory concept for students and small and medium sized enterprises
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More and more educational organizations promote hands-on training models to prepare their students for professional life. Also in the field of engineering the application of case studies and business games is becoming more common, which are intended to simulate the situation in real life giving the students the opportunity to apply their theoretical knowledge in practice. Some universities have just proven the use of so-called "learning factories" in addition to the traditional classroom environment for teaching in planning and the design of flexible manufacturing systems. These learning factories correspond to small and flexible production and assembly units for practice and for training. The Faculty of Science and Technology of the Free University of Bolzano decided in 2012 to set up a learning factory named "mini-factory” with the scope of a more practice-oriented education in engineering. This paper shows the concept of the “mini-factory” and the impressions and results of its application in the lectures. In addition, the paper gives an outlook of the collaboration between university and business giving also to small and medium sized enterprises the opportunity to qualify their personal in the mini-factory infrastructure.
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