Backed by a 16 million DKK investment, Ringkøbing-Skjern Municipality and its Knowledge Committee together with local companies, the Ringkøbing-Skjern Business Council and Aarhus University have opened a new research and demonstration laboratory, the AU Digital Transformation Lab (DTL-Skjern), located at Innovest in Skjern.
The lab is to showcase the future of industry and form the basis for developing product prototypes with increased digitalisation, new materials and production technologies in a joint effort to ensure that local companies are at the forefront of the digital transformation.
“Our job is to strengthen relationships and ensure a closer proximity between the university and the local business community. To allow for much better knowledge sharing, providing societal growth and input for research into future solutions and to become the link between research, education and businesses,” says Jakob Lemming, manager for the new lab, which will be officially inaugurated in summer 2021.
DTL-Skjern is established jointly between the Ringkøbing-Skjern Business Council and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Aarhus University. The laboratory is key in exchanging research-based knowledge from the university and practice-based knowledge from companies.
”It’s an exciting task that I approach with great humility,” says Jakob Lemming and continues:
“The first step will be to get in touch with the local business community and the team at the university. And I believe, that we can begin starting up digital projects in the municipality fairly quickly, for the benefit of the participating companies.”
DTL-Skjern is linked to the AU Centre for Digitalisation, Big Data and Data Analytics (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 a 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.
The lab is ‘a huge opportunity’ for for the municipality's manufacturing companies, according to Mayor Hans Østergaard:
“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.”
When officially opened, 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. Until the opening, Jakob will walk the corridors of the Ringkøbing-Skjern Business Council at Innovest.
The project will run over a three-and-a-half-year period. After the grant period, the goal is for the lab to be self-financed. Funding will then come from companies and research and development projects.