Teaching Digitalization and Systems Modelling Using Virtual Labs

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The new seminar “Digital Twins for Virtual Commissioning of Production Machines” follows a technical approach that uses virtualization and offers the possibility to pursue an uncommon teaching method called problem-based learning (PBL). The seminar is divided into two parts, with fundamental theoretical knowledge in automation technology and systems modeling provided first. In the second part, the students use the dedicated software environment to edit projects on their own, and at this point the PBL approach is used. This method enables students to self-organize their learning process and take an active part in the seminar. The idea for the seminar and virtual teaching lab evolved from the industrial use case of testing software for programmable logic controllers (PLCs) without the real machine, using virtual commissioning (VC). The primary effort of VC lies in the manual creation of a digital representation of each mechatronic component providing the same behavior seen from PLC perspective. Students are taught to do this, create the socalled digital twin (DT).

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