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Journal article

Alberta Learning Factory for training reconfigurable assembly process value stream mapping

Design Training Canada

The University of Alberta is currently coping with the training and learning needs of the rapidly increasing number of manufacturing companies across Alberta. The current shift towards industry 4.0 further requires learning with reconfigurable systems. The Alberta learning Factory (AllFactory) is a step towards the creation of an experiential and project-based learning environment, where students are trained in cross-disciplinary project management. Various lean management tools, such as value stream management, line balancing, bottleneck identification, Kanban, shop-floor design, and visual tools are integrated into student group projects. The students are given the task to assemble a Lego-based 3D Printing machine (prototyped in the AllFactory) with different sub-assemblies in a factory simulation environment. The main idea of using Legos is to demonstrate re-configurability as required by industry 4.0. The research in AllFactory is based on Lean tools integrated to the process/product information data from the ERP system, which is connected to the factory shop-floor. Currently, two important research topics in AllFactory are: 1) a Hybrid Lean-ERP systems development; and 2) the development of a generalized value stream mapping system for construction companies. These research topics feed directly to the training modules in the learning factory. This new learning factory will focus initially on re-configurable manufacturing systems, which will be extended to transdisciplinary capstone projects and a training school for industry personnel in the future.

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