Experior secures practice-oriented education

At Dania Academy in Denmark, students and companies team up in practice-oriented projects, where the students model Digital Twins of real automation systems in Experior.

While theory and lectures are important, there’s no substitute for practical experience. That is what many graduates learn, when they take the leap into the real world, and the gap between what students learn in class and the actual reality of the job can be a shock.

At Dania Academy in Randers, Denmark, they are very aware of this fact, and that is why they make sure that their education in Automation Engineering is practice-oriented:

“We want our projects to be practice-oriented through collaborations with real companies, so our students work with real systems that run in the real world,” says Tom Mejer Antonsen, lecturer at Dania Academy.

Digital Twins central in practice-oriented projects

For three years, Experior has been an important part of the practice-oriented project in the first semester of Dania Academy’s AP Graduate education in Automation Engineering:

“The students are tasked with creating a Digital Twin of a real automation system from our company partner to test their own developed PLC code,” Tom Mejer Antonsen explains.

Through these projects, the students are introduced to Experior early in their education:

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“We want the students to get to know the concept of Digital Twins as early as possible, so they can use the technology throughout the education,” says Tom Mejer Antonsen.

In the most recent semester project, the project partner was a company specializing in packaging machines for dairy and other food products. The project groups visited the company to see the running system and ask questions, while company employees attended presentations in the finishing stages of the project to provide feedback.

“In this way, the project incorporates all the phases of a real project from seeing the actual system to coding the PLC and testing the code on a Digital Twin,” Tom Mejer Antonsen says.

Both students and lecturers benefit from Experior

The students themselves are very happy about working with Digital Twins in Experior for the project:

“The students appreciate the fact that they can actually see the conveyor belts and the items on it, while working on the code. Without Experior, it can be difficult to get a real sense of the system that you’re programming for,” says Tom Mejer Antonsen.

Much like real PLC programmers, the students are not able to be onsite with the actual system, when they program the PLCs, and according to Tom Mejer Antonsen Experior is the next best thing:

“Experior is a great solution to that problem, and students are more motivated, when they have the Digital Twin in Experior to test on, as their work has an immediate effect within the model,” he says.

For Tom Mejer Antonsen as a lecturer, Experior also saves him time and work, as the students are able to work more independently, when they have the Digital Twin to code on. But the biggest benefit is to the quality of the education:

”The environment is more realistic in Experior. We are simply closer to reality,” Tom Mejer Antonsen says.

The company partners gain insights about Digital Twins

In previous semesters, Xcelgo partners Riantics and Linco Food Systems partnered up with Dania Academy and Tom Mejer Antonsen for the semester project, and there are plenty benefits for the company partners:

“The company partner gains free insights into working with Digital Twins without putting in many man hours, as it is the students doing the hard work in testing the software,” Tom Mejer Antonsen says.

He also points out that such a project is a great way for the company to find new employees with the right skills in new technology such as Digital Twins.

“That means that everyone benefits from these projects – our school, the students and the company partners,” Tom Mejer Antonsen says.

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