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Ohio University


Athens, OH

Project Name

Accelerating workforce training using digital manufacturing tools (Emulation-based AR/VR ready training) through the creation of an Industry 4.0 virtual factory: A recognized credential ready program

Award Amount

Federal Share

Local Match



Workforce development for the manufacturing sector traditionally depends on expensive equipment and in-person activities to learn skills around CNC machining, injection molding, metal fabrication equipment for cutting, grinding, and welding that depend on equipment availability and access to facilities. This project uses digital tools for Industry 4.0 where machine interconnectivity can be leverage by using automation, machine learning, and real-time data acquisition to create a virtual factory for an apprenticeship training model. Industry 4.0 concepts can be taught without the expense of a physical factory. Ohio University’s goal is to create an expandable virtual enterprise that can be used to accelerate workforce development training for our region by creating an apprenticeship program that leverages industry-recognized credentials.

Ohio University, in collaboration with the Appalachian Ohio Manufacturing Coalition and partner company Simumatik, will develop the virtual smart factory environment that will be fully operated by industry software tools such as CODESYS. Once the smart factory is implemented, a curriculum will be developed to train a new generation of Industry 4.0 ready workforce.

The program will be based on the Smart Automation Certification Alliance (SACA) credentials. SACA is a non-profit organization with a mission to develop and deploy modular Industry 4.0 certifications.

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