Connected Curriculum, Siemens' innovative teaching programme integrating technology into the higher education curriculum, has expanded its university partnerships bringing its total to 10 leading UK universities.
Launched in 2019, the initiative supports academic staff to tailor Siemens’ industrial hardware, software, and learning materials to develop crucial Industry 4.0 skills for their students.
Sheffield Hallam University and the University of the West England (UWE) are the latest universities to have signed up to the programme. They join the existing Connected Curriculum academic community comprising of the University of Sheffield, Manchester Metropolitan University, Liverpool John Moores University, Middlesex University, Teesside University, the University of Exeter, Coventry University and the University of Salford.
By using curriculum examples, case studies, and real-life problem-solving tutorials, more than 470 learners have been armed with real-world industrial experience and new digital skills.
“As we move deeper into the technology-driven fourth industrial revolution there’s never been a greater need for creative, innovative thinkers to help create, understand and implement nascent technologies,” said Brian Holliday, Managing Director, Siemens Digital Industries UK.
“With this need for deeper, practical technology knowledge in mind it is apt that we have been able to add six more universities to the programme. We have been able to develop lecture content and practical projects concerning industrial automation to fit seamlessly into existing university syllabuses.”
The Connected Curriculum initiative offers students access to Siemens’ simulation software including NX Mechatronics Concept Designer, Tecnomatix Plant Simulation, PLCSIM Advanced, TIA Portal, MindSphere and Mendix.
Since its inception, universities have used the programme to engage with dozens of businesses on a variety of projects.
At the University of Exeter, learners have helped manufacturer, Dana TM4, based in Chudleigh, Devon, achieve production line improvements.
The project involved using Siemens Tecnomatix Plant Simulation software to create a ‘digital twin’ of the production line to help identify improvements in the process.
Daniel Wilks, Advanced Manufacturing Engineering Manager, Dana TM4, said: “This proves the value learners have gained through using Siemens’ industrial software and shows how quickly they can use these tools to derive valuable insights for local manufacturers.
“Using the digital twin technology, the learners have identified manufacturing productivity improvements and provided the company with a range of alternative production line configurations and insights.
“It has been great to have students use Siemens’ technology and provide us an outsider’s perspective for our production units. The exercise helps us in reinforcing our own findings and move ahead with our planned upgrades and changes to increase productivity.”
The company has been so impressed by these solutions that it is keen to work further with the learners and is considering rolling out these findings across global manufacturing sites.
“Students gain from learning about current software and hardware, then show real-world companies how they might benefit from utilising the technology and gain more learning experience from working with companies,” added Wilks.
Teesside University is also using Connected Curriculum to forge links with businesses and support local SMEs with the development of bespoke MindSphere applications.
In tandem with this, Teesside University has also appointed Ross Caddens, Director of UK PreSales and Business Development for Siemens Digital Industries Software, as a visiting professor in Cyber-Physical Design. Through this Royal Academy of Engineering funded award Professor Caddens will work with staff to directly support students on a range of leading-edge technology projects.