Digital twins ease remote teaching during the Covid-19 crisis
At University of Southern Denmark, students learn how to program robots using virtual commissioning in Experior. During the Covid-19 lockdown of the university, the use of Experior eases both remote teaching and remote exams.
Worldwide, universities and educational institutions have closed to mitigate the spread of Covid-19, and Denmark is no exception. At University of Southern Denmark, the facilities have been closed since March 12th, forcing instructors to turn to remote teaching. Associate Professor Preben Hagh Strunge Holm was teaching a course in virtual commissioning in Experior, when it happened:
“After we closed down, we continued courses and project work online, and in this special situation we benefit from Experior, since the students can continue their work on the virtual model without having access to our physical systems in the laboratory at the university,” says Preben Hagh Strunge Holm.
Digital twins in the classroom
Preben Hagh Strunge Holm has been teaching the course for several years as part of the BEng in Robot Systems. The course was added to the study program, because the university had noticed that Digital Twins and virtual commissioning was evolving into a business imperative in the automation sector:
Experior setup for University of Southern Denmark
“We need to prepare the students for the reality in the industry that they are to be a part of. Today, you do not just build an expensive automation system without testing the system on a virtual model,” Preben Hagh Strunge Holm says.
In the course, the students learn to use Experior to program robots. The setup is connected to an external PLC and integrated with ABB Robot Studio, and by the end of the course the students are able to build Experior models with several robots that they can use to verify the PLC programs.
Although the students are usually eager to work with the physical robots in the laboratory at University of Southern Denmark, they are excited to be introduced to the virtual world of robotics as well.
The students are able to build something on the computer much faster than in real life, and they find it to be an exciting challenge
“They are able to build something on the computer much faster than in real life, and the students find it to be an exciting challenge,” says Preben Hagh Strunge Holm.
Virtual exams in Experior
Each semester of the BEng in Robot Systems at University of Southern Denmark concludes with a semester project rounding of all the courses of the semester in one major exam project. Usually, the students use the physical robots at the university for the project, but the Covid-19 crisis makes that difficult this semester.
To help out in this crisis, Xcelgo collaborates with University of Southern Denmark and Preben Hagh Strunge Holm in developing a virtual replica of the physical setup at the university:
“Xcelgo helps us create models that the students can use for the semester project instead of our physical setup. This enables us to carry out the semester project exam in the best way possible under the circumstances,” Preben Hagh Strunge Holm says.