The advance of technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), Collaborative Robotics, Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR and VR) is bringing about a number of interesting opportunities for the manufacturing industry. That said this is also highlighting a digital skills gap in higher education employees. On 26 July, the Department of Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering at the University of Malta organised a seminar to present the results of the ICARUS Erasmus+ project, as well as highlight some excellent examples of Industry 4.0 technologies being developed and implemented in Malta.
Prof. Joseph Cacciottolo, Pro Rector for Academic Affairs at the University of Malta opened the event, and stated the importance of such projects towards the University’s strategic goals, as well as being an integral part of the University’s ethos. The Malta Chamber CEO, Dr Marthese Portelli, delivered a speech on "Future Workforce Skill Requirements for a Digital Malta". Dr Portelli highlighted the importance of continuous professional development, and that the Chamber, together with Industry and Academia are to strive to collaborate to make the local manufacturing industry more competitive.
Howard TANG-HO-HWA and Philipp Seifert gave an outline of the Industry 4.0 developments and implementation of smart and sustainable production at ST Microelectronics Malta Ltd. and Seifert System Ltd. respectively. Prof Jonathan Borg provided an introduction to the ICARUS project and how it aims to target the education divide brought about by digital manufacturing. Dr Ing Emmanuel Francalanza, Head of Department and Coordinator of the ICARUS project then presented the results of the ICARUS project, which are freely and openly available on the project website. The ICARUS Mobile Training Unit developed by the project consortium was also presented to the audience. This mobile training unit was developed thanks to the help of the industrial partners of the project, Methode Malta Ltd., AIM Enterprises Ltd., Yield247 Ltd., and Endian SRL.
This seminar brought together a number of participants from industry, different chambers, as well as government agencies. This platform therefore provided an interesting opportunity for local stakeholders to discuss and address challenges which they may be facing, and all participants looked forward to other similar events being organised in the near future.