SCHOOLPLATE - Exploration of technical and vocational education and training measures for electroplating in Thailand - Exploration Phase

© Fraunhofer IPA, Rainer Bez

A big thank you to the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research for funding the SCHOOLPLATE project.


To some extent, SCHOOLPLATE is the result of the efforts being made by ECOPLATE. It benefits from the close partnership between TEPNET , Chulalongkorn University (MMRI) and IPA.

BIBB Bonn, January 2020 Project kick-off and signing of the cooperation agreement between IPA and the German Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB) in Bonn.
© Chula
Chulalongkorn University Bangkok, February 2020 Project kick-off between IPA and the Thai project team.


  • The SCHOOLPLATE project is a cooperation between the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA Stuttgart, the Metallurgy and Materials Science Research Institute (MMRI) of Chulalongkorn University Bangkok and the German Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB). SCHOOLPLATE is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and kicked-off officially on January 1, 2020. The project will be carried out in several phases. Currently, three phases are in planning, with each phase lasting approximately one year. Funding for the first phase is set for the period January 1 to December 31, 2020.

    On the Thai side, we would like to highlight the involvement of the following team members:

    • Assoc. Prof. Dr. Yuttanant Boonyongmaneerat, Deputy Director
      Metallurgy and Materials Science Research Institute (MMRI), Chulalongkorn University
    • Dr. Thanakrit Chotibhawaris, Lecturer
      School of Science and Technology, Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University
    • Mr. Komsak Harachai, Lecturer
      Industrial Engineering Department, Nakorn Panom University
  • The Thailand Electroplating Professional Network (=TEPNET), an industry cluster initiative with a core group consisting of more than 50 companies, was founded in 2015. It combines the three factors of industry, education and government, and is striving to:

    • improve the industry’s capability to manufacture flawless, high-quality products at competitive production costs,
    • produce in an environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient way and to
    • contribute to innovation.

    To attain these objectives, the ability to rely on an available and skilled workforce continuously is essential. This was one of the key outcomes of a survey held in 2016 and was mentioned in several workshops and discussions that started in 2017 and are still ongoing. Other issues, such as reducing energy consumption, the efficient use of metals like nickel, zinc, copper and chrome as well as precious metals, wastewater treatment and environmental protection, further underline the need for skilled workers.

    At present, though, there are no suitable technical and vocational education and training (=TVET) programs in Thailand capable of covering the industry’s requirements.

    The project therefore aims at supporting the Thai electroplating industry and TEPNET by defining training and education needs, as well as at developing suitable measures in the later phases of the project that can be effectively anchored within the industry to help upskill the workforce.

  • Each of the three planned phases has a different emphasis:

    • Part I – Exploratory Phase
    • Part II – Concept Phase
    • Part III – Implementation Phase

    The main goal of Part I is to define the status quo, to summarize the industry’s needs, and to categorize those needs.


    To attain this objective, core activities this year will include:

    • on-site visits to electroplating companies (including expert interviews),
    • an online company survey,
    • an analysis of existing TVET structures & identification of adaptation needs,
    • expert workshops with TEPNET as well as stakeholders, and
    • preparing proposals for the concept phase.


    The underlying research questions in Part I are:

    • Which skills are necessary to improve quality and enable operating job-platers to introduce complex processes? (How can education and training help enhance quality?)
    • Why is there a demand for better-trained staff?

    The details of the research questions to be dealt with in Part II and Part III will be derived from Part I.

  • To ensure that the project is attractive to the industry and adheres to its aims, an advisory board consisting of six interdisciplinary experts from both cooperating countries has been set up.

  • German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)

    Education and research are the building blocks of the future. With this in mind, the Ministry promotes education, science and research and sees this as an important contribution to securing the country's prosperity. BMBF is also closely involved in legislative processes. (Source: BMBF)

    More information: BMBF

    German Aerospace Center (DLR)

    Research, innovation and education – the DLR Project Management Agency has been providing an array of services to assist key decision-makers from government, science, industry and education for over 40 years. As designated worldwide partner, networking opportunities are opened up and international collaborations are encouraged. As part of DLR, the Project Management Agency is a key contributor to DLR’s ‘Science, Innovation and Education’ field of operations. (Source: DLR Projektträger)


    More Information: German Aerospace Center (DLR)

    Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB)

    BIBB is the German Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training. Founded in 1970, it is a national and international competence center for vocational education in Germany. Intertwining politics, practice and science, it is responsible for tasks such as counselling the federal government, conducting projects to modernize vocational education and training, generating statistics, establishing education and training standards and is also active at international level. (Source: BIBB)

    More Information: BIBB

    Metallurgy and Materials Science Research Institute (MMRI) at Chulalongkorn University Bangkok

    MMRI is a leading national R&D institute for material science. It plays a vital role in creating knowledge and is a reference for international standards. Its work enhances Thailand’s competitiveness, especially in the industrial sector. (Source: MMRI)

    More information: MMRI

    Thailand Electroplanting Professional Network (TEPNET)

    TEPNET is essentially a three-way collaboration between the surface finishing industry, research institutes and government agencies. It was established to increase the level of competitiveness and sustainability of the electroplating industry in Thailand in addition to strengthening the country’s electroplating industry as the regional leader in this area with the capacity to offer high quality services to global businesses (Source: WOTech GbR).

    More Information: Thailand Electroplanting Professional Network (TEPNET)

    Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA


    Fraunhofer It is the largest research organization for applied research in Europe. As a part of Fraunhofer IPA the Department »Electroplanting« covers all aspects concerning the entire industrial manufacturing chain – from the development of new plating materials and related process chains, through failure analysis, right up to the implementation of industrial systems engineering.

    More Information: Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA