COALA Newsletter #4 – Dec 2022

Welcome to COALA Newsletter December 2022

Dear reader,

This 4th edition of the COALA newsletter presents two main enablers of the COALA solution, namely didactic concept and COALA on-the-job training assistant. Both enablers have been integrated and recently tested in the textile production use case.

A short introduction of each of these enablers is presented with an explanatory video to give you a quick overview on their potential implementation in an industrial use case.  Our end-users, who lead the textile use case, share their feedbacks on the recent first testing of the on-the-job training assistant and their experiences using the developed learning nuggets. 

Related to activities involving COALA community, our partners have been actively participating and organising different events from webinar series, podcasts, joint online workshops with the ICT-38 sister projects, to a live demonstration of the COALA solution at the IoT conference 2022.

Last but not least, some new scientific publications have been presented at different conferences. You can find our latest open access publications on our website.

We hope that you will find our newsletter interesting and useful. If you have suggestions for future topics this newsletter should cover, do not hesitate to contact us.


Smartening workers with AI competencies
and AI-assisted on-the-job training

COALA Didactic Concept

One of COALA objectives is to improve the competencies of factory workers in managing AI opportunities, challenges and risks in the shop floor. For this, we have developed a process-oriented didactic concept for training and further education for factory workers through using a voice-based COALA Digital Intelligent Assistant.

The didactic concept aims to help workers building their competencies in human-AI collaboration and to strengthen their control and responsibility during the use of the COALA solution. Media materials, exercises, and competencies tests are offered in a form of micro learning units, so called learning nuggets, to train factory workers and evaluate their learning progress.

Besides that, multi-dimensional learning paths are designed to help workers finding the correct learning content they need while searching for the answers to their current questions. The following video gives an example of implementation of COALA didactic concept in the textile production use case.

COALA Didactic Concept – Implementation in the Textile Use Case

Jan Naumann
Vocational Training Expert
ITB – University of Bremen

COALA On-the-job Training Assistant

COALA’s On-the-job training is a core service provided by the Cognitive Advisor. The goal is to reduce the time it takes to train a new operator by 50% and support the transfer of (tacit) knowledge. A custom dialog model and the cognitive advisor service allows identification of the worker’s current skill level, and advice how to prepare and operate a machine. Moreover, the on-the-job training assistant can adapt the advising behaviour with progressing skill increases and under consideration of human feedback about the learning experience, for instance it will be more instructional in the early phase and more supervising in later phases.

The on-the-job training assistant can help operators, for example by suggesting relevant learning nuggets and answering frequently asked questions. If a loom operator needs specific instructions, they can ask COALA directly. The assistant can suggest them a learning nugget on a specific topic.

It can also teach operators to troubleshoot the machine in an efficient way and guide them step-by-step through the troubleshooting process, while offering learning materials from the learning nuggets. The following video shows a short demo on how the COALA Assistant helps operators during on-the-job training by suggesting relevant learning nuggets.

COALA On-the-job Training Implementation in the Textile Use Case

Evangelos Niforatos
Assistant Professor of AI-Powered Human Augmentation
TU Delft


AI-assisted on-the-job training for textile workers

Example of Learning Path of the Textile Production Use Case © ITB

The COALA solution will be deployed and validated against three industrial use cases:  (1) white goods, (2) textile and (3) detergent productions.

In the last three editions of the COALA newsletter, we introduced the three industrial use cases, including some challenges face by each use case and what our end-users expectations towards COALA solution. In this edition, COALA partners, who are in charge for the textile use case: Eugenio Alessandro Canepa, R&D Manager of Fratelli Piacenza, and Massimo Angelo Curti, Lecturer of Città Studi, share with us their hands-on experiences during the implementation and first testing of the COALA Assistant for the on-the-job training of warping and weaving operators.

Alessandro Canepa
  R&D Manager
Fratelli Piacenza
Massimo Curti Lecturer Città Studi

Which pilot use case for textile production has been implemented in the project so far?

The first pilot use case in the textile production, which has been implemented so far, is the “Development of AI competencies of manufacturing workers” scenario. This scenario focuses on the development and demonstration of a didactic concept to train new workers and further train skilled workers. It aims to develop the workers competencies in working with AI-based systems such as COALA Digital Intelligent Assistant.

Città Studi offers academy courses to train the new generation of textile workers. Together with COALA Partner from ITB, Città Studi has implemented a new training plan for warping and weaving operators integrating the didactic concept developed in the COALA Project.

The main targets of this use case are to improve performance in the following activities:

– Faster training for students, as future workers, and for existing workers
– Reduction of errors or defects
– Faster restart after a defect
– Faster change-over from one product to a new one for a skilled operator
– Increase safety

Up to this point, the following features of COALA on-the-job training assistant have been implemented and tested with students and lecturers from Città Studi as well as supervisors and technicians in the weaving department of Piacenza:

– Frequently Asked Questions
– Loom troubleshooting support
– Recommend learning nuggets

What are the lessons learned we may take from the first evaluation?

The didactic concept including the first learning nuggets have been evaluated with some students and technicians in the weaving department. The feedbacks on the structure of the initial learning nuggets are positive and well appreciated. A further learning nuggets dedicated to specific production processes will be developed and tested in the next year.

Besides that, user experience with the first prototype of the COALA on-the-job training assistant was also evaluated. Some received feedbacks include improvements and considerations on the following aspects such as single user log-in, speech to text function in local language and recording of the tests, as well as a provision of a user guidelines. These features and procedures will be integrated in the next evaluation planned in the beginning of next year.       

What are the next steps in the textile use case?

Besides the planned further evaluation on the first pilot use case mentioned above, our focus for next year is to finalise integration of  Piacenza production interface with COALA system to allow production of recommendations based on live machine and production data of Piacenza.

We expects that the COALA solution will allow machine operators to request advices, explanations, and other information via the digital assistant running on a mobile device and that this training support will reduce defects created during the manufacturing process due to human errors.


Join our community!

COALA aims to actively contribute to the EU AI communities and help build a connected AI community across Europe. COALA also aims at providing value to a community of people sharing common interests, by being a hub that offers opportunities to learn, to interact with peers and experts, to grow and help innovate in manufacturing with AI.

Connect with our community, get inspired, grow your knowledge, your network and your opportunities!

COALA Webinar Series

COALA has organised two webinars this year, on 20 May and 6 Oct 2022, where we introduced some benefits of application of Digital Intelligent Assistants in the two use case applications, namely quality testing of white good and liquid detergent production use cases. We showed a demo on the current prototype of the assistant with Augmented Manufacturing Analytics and On-the-Job Training features.

– 06 Oct 2022 Applying Digital Intelligent Assistant in the Liquid Detergent Production Use Case. Recordings
– 20 May 2022 Human-AI Collaboration in the Quality Control of White Goods Production Use Case. Recordings

The upcoming webinar is planned for the beginning of 2023 featuring the application of COALA on-the-job training assistant in the textile production use case. More information will be available in January 2023.

COALA Ambassador Podcasts
The COALA Ambassador Podcast is an agile format to keep our followers in touch and discuss around COALA news and developments with prominent representatives of initiatives related to AI and Manufacturing in Europe. In the past months we have published three new podcasts. You can check all our podcasts here.

AI for Manufacturing (AI-MAN) Cluster

COALA closely collaborates in the AI-MAN Cluster with eight projects funded under the EU H2020 ICT-38 call – Artificial intelligence for manufacturing. The aim is to identify technologies and development practices for trustworthy human-centred AI in manufacturing. Another 2 joint AI-MAN Cluster workshops were held virtually within this year. All workshops’ recording is available here.

– 17 Nov 2022 AI Interoperability. Recordings
– 14 March 2022 Human-centered Manufacturing in the Industry 5.0 Era. Recordings

For more information about our community, please contact us.

Paolo Perillo
Products Director

Past Event

COALA 1st Live Showcase at the IoT 2022 Conference

The 12th International Conference on the Internet of Things (IoT 2022) was held from 7-10 Nov at Delft, the Netherlands, was chaired by Evangelos Niforatos, COALA Partner from TU Delft.

Stefan Wellsandt from BIBA participated online and discussed with other IoT experts from academia and the industry about challenges of IoT applications and shared his experiences  on COALA Digital Intelligent Assistant implementation in the pilot cases.

Samuel Kernan Freire, COALA partner from TU Delft, demonstrated COALA on-the-job Training assistant at the conference. Positive feedbacks received from the participants, who visited the COALA’s stand. For further information about this event, please visit the IoT Conference website.

Don’t miss out the progress of the project! The latest news and events are available here.