Digitization at your fingertips

Werk150 at ESB Business School provides information on the opportunities of digitization during Digital Days

By Agnieszka Grzesiak & Sven Rottner

Digital technologies have become an integral part of everyday life.  As part of the Digital-Hub Neckar-Alb & Sigmaringen project, the campus of Reutlingen University became a contact point for schools, companies and the general public from 18 to 21 May 2022 to provide information about the opportunities and challenges of digitisation. Among other things, visitors were able to experience the benefits of successful digitisation first-hand in Werk150 at ESB Business School.  

School meets digitisation

First of all, school classes interested in digitisation spent an afternoon at Werk150 participating in various exercises within the context of digitisation. They learned in a playful way how to found a start-up, how a smart system is built, what the metaverse looks like and how to avoid injuries in during sports and leisure activities. Finally, the students competed against each other in a round of AI table football while listening to the ESB song ESB Invincible. The eventful day was organised together with the  Center for Entrepreneurship Reutlingen and the School of Engineering.

Conference on the topic “Digital Transformation”

The Entrepreneur Day began with a conference on the topic of digital transformation. The Best Paper award was presented from among the papers submitted from current research. This year it was shared by Timur Landmann for his paper Safety Challenges and Existing Approaches for the Flexible Use of Collaborative Robot Applications in Production and Michael Weltin for his paper Systematic Literature Review on the Automated and Context-aware Creation of Augmented Reality Applications in Maintenance.

Afterwards, company representatives provided interesting insights into industrial practice. For example, Dr Martin Landherr from Festool spoke about the prerequisites for successful digitisation in his presentation “We need what we see, but we don’t see what we need”. Maximilian Schumacher from the bbg bitbase group GmbH also addressed digital strategies and how they can best be implemented. Finally, Kai Schöttle from the CELLFORCE GROUP shed light on digital production in battery cell manufacturing.  

Hands-on digitisation

During several lab tours, ESB Business School and the Schools of Informatics and Engineering presented a total of 16 demonstrators, including the fields of bionics, artificial intelligence in production and logistics, the internet of things, ergonomic evaluation at the workplace, tokens and metaverse in the supply chain, informational assistance systems in assembly and human-machine collaboration, and many more besides.  Visitors were able to try out the applications in hands-on exercises and learn about the university’s research activities in digital transformation. The focus was on the dialogue with the companies about useful application areas of new technologies in production and logistics.   

Digital Night at Werk150

The Digital Night at Werk150 served as a platform for companies to network. During the various programme items on digitisation and artificial intelligence, representatives exchanged thoughts and created space for new ideas. “In keeping with our motto ‘From the Region for the Future’, it plays a major role for us to strengthen and expand the networking of research with regional partners from the worlds of industry and science’, emphasised Professor Dr Vera Hummel, head of Werk150.

Open Digital Day on Open Day

The Open Digital Day took place on Reutlingen University’s Open Day. At Werk150, visitors were given the opportunity to build their own 4-in-a-row game and learn about the processes in a smart learning factory. ESB Business School’s teaching and research factory also provided information about numerous other projects and technologies such as the blockchain and the use of exoskeletons in production and logistics. Professor Dr Daniel Palm, head of Werk150, is delighted with the large number of visitors to the events: “The lively participation of schools, companies and the public shows us how great interest is as well as the need for more information on the complex topic of digitisation. The wide range of events and activities during the Digital Days has brought different target groups closer to promising technologies of the future”.

About the Digital-Hub Neckar-Alb & Sigmaringen:

The Digital-Hub Neckar-Alb & Sigmaringenis funded by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Employment and Tourism Baden-Württemberg and is made up of eight consortium members under the leadership of the Reutlingen Chamber of Commerce. The Digital Hub has set itself the goal of being a contact point for companies on the topic of digitisation and to support them on their path to digitisation.