The relationship between universities and companies has always been difficult to balance in Italy.
Over the years, two main contrasting opinions have developed in regard to this topic: on the one hand, you have people strongly believing that Italian universities are too theoretical and slowed down by bureaucracy, especially when considering how fast technological development has moved in recent times; on the other hand, some people are in favor of a more theoretical approach to studies, highlighting how Italian technicians are highly specialized and requested all over the world, also thanks to their theoretical knowledge. They believe that practical knowledge is a lot easier to gain if the theoretical education has been solid. To them, practice comes as the implementation of those same theoretical concepts, mixed with the resourcefulness of problem solving, leading to new and innovative solutions.
SAPA’s position on the matter, and my own personal opinion as well, is that Truth often lies somewhere in the middle.
I don’t where you stand on the issue, and you can always tell me that by replying in the comments or sending us an email, but ever since I started dealing with concrete problems in the workplace, I found it difficult, at first, to educate new engineers and introduce them to our vision.
Let’s be clear about this: as highlighted by the Angelo Affinita Award, granted by SAPA and the Angelo Affinita No Profit Foundation, the education granted by Italian universities is impressive. To this day, we keep on receiving very promising research projects.
So, we do believe that a theoretical approach is essential, as practice wouldn’t exist without theory.
I’m sure that all the engineers reading this will understand what I’m referring to.
While technological innovation is obviously a very positive thing, many companies are not prepared for it.
That is why SAPA has decided to join the partnership between universities and companies: an agreement between public education institutes and private companies that aims to support financial development by intervening and supporting new technologies related to Industry 4.0.
Here’s how SAPA and universities from Puglia and Campania are going to develop new Industry 4.0 technologies, training private companies that are not up to speed with innovation.
Competence Center I4.0
– Few selected national Competence Centers
– Strong involvement of universities and private companies
– Contribution from key stakeholders (research centers, startups, etc.)
– Focus on specific technological fields
– Laws, regulations and management skills
– I4.0 training and awareness
– Live demonstrations and best practices regarding I4.0
– Technological guidance for startups on I4.0
– Launch and development of innovative projects related to technological development
– Promotion of experimental activities and actual I4.0 production
– Collaboration with European competence centers
The Center will support companies, and startups in particular, in self-evaluation processes regarding their technological and digital development: helping them recognizing areas in which they can improve.
Specifically, the Center will:
– Collaborate with local Digital Innovation Hubs in order to identify needs and intervene accordingly.
– Share and promote “best practices” and collaborations between entrepreneurs and institutions.
It will create a “Teaching Factory I4.0” capable of implementing the following:
– Raising awareness on new technologies and solutions in the field of Industry 4.0, through promotional initiatives and informative publications, collaborating with local Digital Innovation Hubs.
Planning for, and providing, educational activities aiming at the development of professional figures within companies, according to different models and positions, raising awareness on the achieved goals and the fields of interest of the different departments.
Such activities will be organized as follows:
– Training through lessons and seminars;
– Online training on e-learning platforms and webinars in compliance with the highest international standards.
– Practical training on specific products through laboratory activities (also available online).
– On Job Training aimed at the development of goods and services;
– Tests and verification systems offered to companies that wish to stay up to speed with 4.0 solutions and innovations.
The systems will answer real needs and test technological solutions in realistic conditions, in order to better evaluate the feasibility and convenience of solutions according to productivity, quality and cost reduction. The ultimate goal is that of conveying productivity and services towards a customer-oriented and tailor-made set of possibilities, allowing companies to develop 4.0 solutions and overcome cultural barriers preventing innovation.
These Centers will be “catalysts”, speeding up the implementation of new technologies within Italian companies, with a particular focus on small and medium businesses.
They will promote the development of necessary tools, with a special focus on enabling technologies I4.0: Big Data, Cloud, IoT, Information security, Mobile, Advanced Machine Learning, Collaborative Robotics, Additive Manufacturing, Wearable Devices and advanced interfaces, Virtual & Augmented Reality, Nanotechnology and advanced market technologies.
Blockchain technologies will also be very important and studied for their potential within Industry 4.0 solutions.
SAPA will personally bring its patents and solutions, its creativity and results, so to contribute extensively to this project. We believe it is a vital project, necessary for all of the Italian companies that wish to keep up with worldwide progress.
We will do everything we can to lead Italian excellence in the world.
I am, personally, very happy to be part of this incredible movement.
SAPA Chief Sales Strategist and member of the Board of Directors.
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