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AIP-Primeca: designing tomorrow’s factories

What will tomorrow’s factories look like? Benoit Eynard, Director UTC Innovations and Partnerships, is Chairman of the AIP-Primeca network for the next 4 years and hopes to include in his term of office an analysis on “Tomorrow’s Factories”, an initiative of the French Minister in charge of Productive Rehabilitation.

AIP-Primeca: designing tomorrow’s factories

The AIP-Primeca network, covering from IUTs to PhD levels, federates 80 higher education institutions and research establishments throughout France. UTC was one of the founding members of the network, the aim of which is to encourage and support training in mechanical engineering and production-automation among the network members. The topics addressed include the life expectancy or life cycle of products, from its design phase through to ultimate disposal of recycling, including use of robots and mechatronics. “We should prepare engineers and the associate technological tools to accompany the digital transformation of our industries”, summarises Benoit Eynard. There are industrial representatives on the network Board, for example, from Dassault Systèmes and Airbus Industries. “By improving our engineers’ training and facilitating research for the benefit of DSMES in our network of sub-contractors, AIP-Primeca represents an attractive academic ecosystem”, underscores Bernard Boime, Programme Manager for Airbus Group Innovations.

 

Sharing knowledge and know-how in France

Thanks to AIP-Primeca, for example, the course contents are now able to integrate the latest ‘progiciels’ (dedicated software), explains Xavier Fouger, Director of academic studies at 3DS (Dassault Systems). “Before they adopt a new version of a software package, the establishments and institutions have to understand what may be the impact of doing so; we, for example, use AIP-Primeca to test our new 3D life cycle management platform, called PLM-V6. Sharing the assessments proved very efficient, for a network like 3DS”. Today, PLM-V6 is an important tool for engineers in many specialties and sectors (automobiles, aeronautics, etc.). “Being able to master PLM-VG is a strong factor for employability throughout the world”, assures Xavier Fouger. Hence the importance of training tomorrow’s engineers on the most recent versions. “UTC has always had a small headway in its pedagogy and has begun to train its engineers in PLM-V6 even before AIP-Primeca has chosen to follow suit”, notes Xavier Fouger.

 

International representatives

AIP-Primeca has 9 regional poles or clusters. UTC is a member of the Paris Région (ile de France) cluster, as are ENS Cachan, Arts et Métiers Paris Tech, Centrale Paris, etc. Networking here provides a far better international visibility for the institutions. “3DS manages the PLMCC programme, acronym for Product Lifecycle Management Competency Center, in liaison with the ministries in charge of Education and Higher Education. The aim is to open up training Centres to study and use our software packages in countries seen as priority targets by these ministries. To discuss, for example, with our Chinese partner, we sent an AIP-Primeca lecturer representing a number of students equivalent to that of the TsingHua University, Beijing”, details Xavier Fouger, who is working with two UTC graduates. “The students come from the AIP-Primeca network of schools often have excellent course profiles”, he asserts. “Moreover, we shall soon be proposing a pedagogical novelty to AIP-Primeca that will enable us to valorise France without creating an imbalance of treatment among counties, which is necessary when you are a multinational group, like Dassault”

 

Interoperability of digital tools?

AIP-Primeca also supports research activities. “The network is working on the concept and feasibility of interoperability of digital tools, which have now become essential in almost every industrial process and in all the phase of a product’s life cycle. Mastering these tools is conducive to better competitivity. So how can we assure interoperability? Implementing common interfaces has become a real challenge for industrialists and financiers, and is a concern shared by numerous sectors of activity. We are working here in the framework of research assignments with various engineering schools in the Paris region cluster”, details Bernard Boime, adding “There will be plenty of work for engineers and technicians in this field, both with the industries as users and at the software editors”. In the framework of the thematic of Tomorrow’s Factories, AIP –Primeca is studying the concepts of Eco-design and virtual reality (VR). “We shall accompany the theme of industrial rehabilitation with ANR at the national level in France and with EFFRA in Europe”, underscores Bernard Eynard. “We shall prioritize high added value and high level technical content and will develop factory-training centres so that young people can see just how attractive a factory may be tomorrow. For example, AUP-Primeca will be contributing some 50% of the VR equipment to be installed at UTC”.