Learning Lessons from the Pandemic
The Covid-19 pandemic forced many manufacturing businesses to respond rapidly or shut down production due to measures implemented to curb the spread of the virus. Manufacturing and distributing vital medical equipment became a major challenge. Several unforeseen spikes in demand for essential medical devices and personal protective equipment (PPE) created an urgency to optimise supply chains and deploy innovative approaches to scale up flexible and sustainable production methods.
This experience over the past nearly 2 years delivered many lessons to manufacturers and the currently ongoing CO-VERSATILE project aims to prepare Europe for managing pandemics by elevating the adaptability and resilience of the manufacturing sector. CO-VERSATILE is a collaborative effort across Europe, including 21 partners from nine countries. The focus is first and foremost on medical emergencies, but the project results will be transferable to other sectors and crisis situations as well. The project goal is to offer manufacturing and logistics firms readily available and customisable solutions – accessible via a cloud- based marketplace Digital Technopole – that enable them to boost production of medical equipment. The ultimate objective is to ensure Europe’s preparedness to protect its citizens and respond quickly at times of crises.
Training Operators in Challenging Conditions
HSSMI is working with CO-VERSATILE project partners on designing training packages for crisis situations. The training packages will provide the workforce remote access to digital work instructions and engineering data through the use of digital manufacturing tools such as virtual reality and 3D PDFs. As we have seen from the pandemic, due to social distancing measures, it may be impossible to train people in person or physically hand over work instructions. The use of digital tools will enable faster knowledge transfer between senior and junior workers, which will help continue operations, optimise the manufacturing process, and launch new products.
HSSMI aims to expand the concept of virtual collaboration to medical equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE) manufacturing environments and introduce innovative ways to provide operators with onboard training and on-the-job support. HSSMI is also looking to establish a mentoring service, which will enable knowledge sharing across industrial use cases, guiding the repurposing over several levels (business, organisational, strategic) and maximising the potential to scale and develop a contingency plan to the most critical areas.
This project has received funding f rom the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101016070.
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