Merino Academy joined a workshop for Smart Factory at T2-campus, located in Thor Park, Genk. Thor Park is a strategically located business, technology and science park where renowned research institutions, start-ups, growth companies and global players in the energy sector, manufacturing industry and smart city applications come together.
Thor Park’s mission is to contribute to the development and valorization of smart, sustainable, circular and connected innovations by providing access to specialized ecosystems, the Open Thor Living Lab, the regulatory sandbox for energy, infrastructure, partners and network.
It was a one-of-a-kind experience for our trainees, but also, for the consultants that joined them. Here is what Peter IJpema, one of Merino’s Technical Consultants, would like to share on the experience:
“We were thrilled to visit a show-case manufacturing plant at Thor Park and learn about the latest advancements in manufacturing technologies. One of the highlights of our trip was witnessing how the available MES system was customized to meet a customer’s demand. With a few modifications and the help of a small configurator, we were able to define the specific requirements and generate production orders using the Enterprise Planning process.
As we toured the production line, which had 12 stations, we were impressed by the seamless coordination of tasks and the real-time monitoring of production using IoT sensors. Any production issues that arose were promptly resolved, thanks to the insights provided by the MES system. We were amazed by the efficiency and accuracy of the production process, which resulted in finished products ready for shipment to customers.
During our visit, we also had the opportunity to interact with the consultants from VDAB, who were overseeing the production operations. Their enthusiasm and expertise were evident as they shared their knowledge and insights with us. We were given a small tour of the facility, where we learned that they offer training programs for children as young as 9 years old, as well as for adults who need to learn about modern manufacturing techniques or undergo retraining into more advanced methods.
One of the highlights of our visit was learning about Cobots and Robots, and how easily they can be instructed to perform tasks using interactive apps with (no-code) building blocks. We were able to witness firsthand how these devices can automate repetitive operations and improve the efficiency of production processes. Additionally, we were introduced to advanced sensor technology that used cameras for automated inspection of items during production. We were amazed by the level of automation and the potential for reducing human error in the production process.
We also had the opportunity to try out 3D glasses for computer-aided manufacturing, which provided us with a unique perspective on how technology can transform traditional manufacturing processes. We recognized familiar systems like HIM from our own office, which simplified repetitive operations like assembling ballpoint pens and increased productivity.
After a day filled with learning and exploration, we had a brief recap and evaluation session. We were excited about the possibilities of integrating MES, PLM, and other manufacturing tools by Infor to further enhance the capabilities of LN and make it the best solution in the market. We are enthusiastic about helping implement, maintain, and optimize these technologies in our own manufacturing operations to enable smarter working and improved productivity.”