Innovation requires cooperation. In accordance with this guiding principle, industrial automation software provider, COPA-DATA has been collaborating with partners from industry and research for several years within the COPA-DATA Partner Community. Now, the cooperation with the Salzburg University of Applied Sciences and the Digital Factory, a joint venture of the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT) and the Vorarlberg University of Applied Sciences, has been awarded the gold level of the COPA-DATA Partner Community (CDPC).
The collaboration with the Digital Factory Vorarlberg, where practical automation scenarios for manufacturing companies are tested and further developed in a model factory, is intensive. In times when new forms of efficient, resource-conserving and sustainable economic activity need to be advanced, it is essential to bundle potential and develop new approaches in production.
From cloud manufacturing to artificial intelligence (AI)
The focus of the Digital Factory Vorarlberg is on cloud manufacturing, data analytics and cyber security — of which COPA-DATA’s zenon is a substantial part of the model factory. The research project will develop a cloud platform that connects customers with producers and optimizes the processing of production orders.
“We are working on intelligence and data analytics, starting with basic projects up to AI applications and an automated visual inspection,” said Prof. Robert Merz, Head of Digital Factory Vorarlberg. “In cybersecurity, we are currently building a Cyberrange, a place to train cybersecurity, which allows us to build corporate networks in a virtual environment. We confront companies with possible attacks that hopefully will never become a reality and show how to respond to them.”
Commenting on the long-standing cooperation with COPA-DATA, which represents a key asset for the research center, Prof. Robert Merz added: “The zenon software acts as the central data interface in our model factory. Together, we develop and work on topics such as the creation of simulation models using AI from process data, or cloud-based systems, for controlling globally distributed production facilities.
“These projects are a key driver for our research work and product development. In fact, COPA-DATA supports the Digital Factory in being innovative, and together, initiates creative projects for the future of industrial production.”
Impulses for the technology location
For almost two decades, COPA-DATA and the Information Technology & System Management (ITS) course at the Salzburg University of Applied Sciences have been working together intensively. Together, the two partners also want to provide important impulses for Salzburg as a technology location.
“Long-term partnerships are essential for a stable exchange between university and industry,” said says Simon Kranzer, Senior Lecturer at the Information Technology & Systems Management program. “The partnership with COPA-DATA is an example of a successful transfer of knowledge, with COPA-DATA benefitting from access to future IT talent. The study program also benefits from questions and valuable input from the business community and lecturers who bring practical experience to the university.”
The two partners have launched and established numerous projects and initiatives together, including the promotion of young researchers. “Joint projects lead to innovations that give us a competitive edge and advance Salzburg as an IT location,” added Reinhard Mayr, Head of Research Operations at COPA-DATA. “The exchange of ideas with the University of Applied Sciences is inspiring for both sides.”