student working with laptop

E-cast will increase competence in the foundry industry

19 December, 2016

The EU project CLLEFE has been engaged in producing a platform for distance training of foundry operators. Under the name E-cast, the project will now provide completely new opportunities for lifelong learning for employees within the European foundry industry.

The European foundry industry is suffering from a shortage of individually adapted training resources for personnel who have trained to become certified foundry operators or foundry workers, but would like to continue their education. In order to meet that need, Swerea SWECAST, along with a large number of partners, has managed the project CLLEFE during 2016 with the aim of producing distance-based courses to facilitate lifelong learning for employees in the foundry industry.

"The idea is to create a European skills network with an extensive range of qualified distance programmes, with courses broken down into modules. The precise course components that the individual needs can be put together depending on which function the employee has or is developing towards in the company", says project manager Johan Dahlström.

As the courses are delivered online, participation does not require any travel, and the individual operator can acquire new knowledge when it is most suitable, for example, during production stops.

There is still a lot of work to do before the final E-cast platform can be launched.

"The next phase for the project, which will be implemented during the next few years, is to fill the platform with existing training material at the same time as we develop a solid business model."

The project's first phase has entailed intensive collaboration with research partners throughout Europe. A network has been set up which paves the way for the future, and the participants in the project have also developed a better understanding of what will be required from the future platform.

"Among other things, we have investigated the industry needs and looked at what requirements E-Cast has to meet both technically and educationally. We have also studied successful examples of distance programmes in Europe, for instance at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands", Johan Dahlström says.

When E-cast is eventually launched, the principal language will be English but the courses have been developed in a large range of countries.

"It is a necessity in order to ensure a high level of quality in the content. An individual country would not be able to produce the extensive material that is required. What is offered must simultaneously have breadth and depth, and that requires training resources to be brought together from all over Europe."

CLLEFE is financed by the EU through EIT Raw Materials. Besides Swerea, the research organisations in the project are Jönköping University and Bergsskolan (the Swedish School of Mining and Metallurgy) from Sweden, Tecnalia from Spain, AGH University of Science and Technology and the Institute of Non-Ferrous Metals from Poland, as well as the Austrian Foundry Research Institute. A couple of companies are also participating as a reference group.