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New collaboration project will help companies in Ringkøbing-Skjern Municipality catch the digital transformation wave

A large-scale industrial and academic collaboration project between Ringkøbing-Skjern Municipality and Aarhus University is 'a huge opportunity', says the mayor of the municipality, who welcomes the new initiative.

2020.09.23 | Jesper Bruun

The new research and demonstration laboratory, the AU Digital Transformation Lab, will be located at Innovest in Skjern. Photo: Ringkøbing-Skjern Municipality

Backed by an investment of 15.8 MDDK, local companies, Ringkøbing-Skjern Municipality, the Ringkøbing-Skjern Business Council and the municipality's Knowledge Committee have teamed up with Aarhus University to build a new research and demonstration laboratory, the AU Digital Transformation Lab (AU-DTL Skjern), which will be located at Innovest in Skjern.

The new facility will ensure that local companies in Ringkøbing-Skjern Municipality are at the forefront of the fourth industrial and digital wave, Industry 4.0.

This is a huge opportunity for the municipality's manufacturing companies, according to Mayor Hans Østergaard:

"It's quite unique that so many partners are working concertedly towards the same goal, and our expectations are obviously very high. Many of our manufacturing companies are already among the leading innovative players in their field, but the specialist knowledge that Aarhus University contributes to this project can help to secure the basis for growth, development and innovation and thus take our companies to new heights," he says in a press release.

Knowledge, innovation and technology

The purpose of the laboratory is to show what the industry of the future will look like and to form the basis for developing product prototypes with increased digitalisation, new materials and production technologies.

Brian Bech Nielsen, rector at Aarhus University, says:

"Our collaboration with the Ringkøbing-Skjern Municipality is a concrete and very good example of how we make the latest knowledge, innovation and technology created at the university available to companies. I'm convinced that the AU Digital Transformation Lab will contribute to local development and growth to benefit local businesses and citizens alike. I hope that many of the municipality's companies will seize the opportunity for close collaboration in the AU Digital Transformation Lab, and I'm pleased to see that the laboratory will be building on the long-standing collaborative relationship between Ringkøbing-Skjern and Aarhus University."

The laboratory will be established jointly between the Ringkøbing-Skjern Business Council and the Department of Engineering at Aarhus University. The laboratory will be key in ensuring the best exchange of research-based knowledge from the university with practice-based knowledge at companies.

DIGIT and digital twins

Professor Peter Gorm Larsen, head of the Centre for Digitalisation, Big Data and Data Analytics (DIGIT), is in charge of the research-related part of the activities:

"The global manufacturing industry is in constant and rapid digital development, and at DIGIT we are at the forefront of this development. With AU-DTL Skjern, we really want to strengthen the digital opportunities of Danish manufacturing companies by offering the latest knowledge and making it easy to catch the digital wave. I'm very much looking forward to working with the local companies," he says.

AU-DTL Skjern will be linked to DIGIT, and there are plans to establish parallel laboratories in other municipalities in the Central Denmark Region. The individual laboratories will be linked together through the central hub at AU. In Ringkøbing-Skjern, focus will be on digital twin technology, which makes it possible to make a digital copy of a product or a production process, which you can then develop and run tests on. Read more about the technology here.

The lab will be open for visits from companies and partners, and there will be activities for school classes and youth programmes several times a year. In addition, PhD students, postdocs and other researchers will regularly communicate the results of their research via lectures.

AU-DTL is supported by the Business and Growth Committee in Ringkøbing-Skjern Municipality with 5.03 MDKK, by the municipality's Business Growth Forum with  5.0 MDKK, by the municipality's Knowledge Committee with 2.8 MDKK, and with 600,000 DKK each from five local companies that have so far been linked to the project.

The research project will run over a three and a half year period. After the grant period, the goal is for the project to be self-financed. Funding will then come from companies and research and development projects.


Contact

Jesper Bruun
Journalist, AU Engineering
Mail: Bruun@eng.au.dk
Tel.: +45 42404140

Peter Gorm Larsen
Professor
Mail: pgl@eng.au.dk
Tel.: +45 41893260

Lars Ditlev Mørck Ottosen
Head of department, professor
Mail: ldmo@eng.au.dk
Tel.: +45 51371671

AU Engineering, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering