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Innovative basic training project by Komax to be marketed

Inside Komax

Komax has developed an innovative training system for its apprentice automation engineers – with great success that extends far beyond its own company. 

Key insights

  • Komax has developed an innovative system that is used in the training of automation engineers.

  • The close to reality pick-and-place facility offers a high level of knowledge transfer to take into the world of work, including through working in interdisciplinary teams. 

  • The successful model is now being produced as a turnkey training system for Komax apprentices and marketed by Komax supply partner SMC.

Michael Weber, vocational trainer in automation at Komax, was not happy. He was unable to find challenging training projects for his apprentices doing their basic training as automation engineers. “Everything available on the market was inadequate in terms of the level or scope of the training opportunities,” said Michael Weber. That was in 2017. Without further ado, the committed trainer therefore formulated his own project for apprentices which met the ambitious requirements. That was the birth of the pick-and-place facility and the start of a success story. 

High level of realism starts during training

Just six months later, a prototype was completed at Komax. Having a project with a high level of practical relevance was particularly important to trainer Michael Weber: “The training system simulates a transfer line with pick-and-place applications commonly found in industry. So we remain very close to normal everyday life. This allows for a high degree of knowledge transfer.” The required standard of basic training is exceeded in various areas: “In addition to technical aspects, our apprentices also come into contact with topics that go beyond the compulsory part of the training; for example, the industrialization of a product or cost sensitivity. Digitalization in the context of Industry 4.0 is also an important aspect.” 

Michael Weber adds another plus: “Our transfer line uses components from well-known manufacturers whose products are indispensable in automation technology worldwide. This means that our trainees learn in depth about their use and integration in a real system.”

Working in interdisciplinary teams as a core competence

This practical project always focuses on interdisciplinary work as well. Michael Gehrig, Head of Vocational Training at Komax, comments: “The pick-and-place facility perfectly symbolizes the basic idea behind our apprenticeship workshop, which was set up in 2020. Here, the apprentices get to know the various departments ‘on the job’ and practice working together in interdisciplinary teams. We consider this to be an increasingly important core competence in an ever more complex professional environment. We are preparing our apprentices for this in the best possible way.”

Successful Komax project to be marketed

Following successful internal use and various trade fair appearances, the pick-and-place project is now going further afield: the marketing of the transfer line was initiated in collaboration with SMC, a global expert in automation and a strategic supply partner of Komax. Komax is dealing with the engineering and production, while SMC is responsible for marketing and sales. On the Komax side, Michael Gehrig is responsible for commercialization as Head of Vocational Training. He’s excited about the project: “The pick-and-place facility – expertly produced by our own apprentices – is now available for training automation engineers. This means that other companies offering training and apprenticeships can benefit from our project, whether in basic training or at higher education institutes. We are proud that we can also demonstrate our impressive innovative strength in the area of training.” 

Find out more about an apprenticeship at Komax


Michael GehrigHead of Vocational Training

Michael Gehrig has worked at Komax since 2001 and is responsible for vocational training.

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