RAPRA’s Wendi Beamson discusses the changing needs of the manufacturing industry, looking specifically at the areas of enabling technologies, such as hydraulics and pneumatics.
The knowledge and skills required to maintain and manage today’s manufacturing plants and those of the future are greatly different to that of 10 years ago. So what has changed?
Enabling technologies, such as hydraulics and pneumatics, remain at the forefront of power and motion controls associated with manufacturing systems, but are now being heavily interfaced with electronics and control, resulting in the need for maintenance staff to be educated and trained to take up the challenge of ‘Integrated Systems Engineering’
This is not to be confused with the term, ‘multi-skilling’, but refers to the bringing together teams of Technicians, Engineers and Managers to see the total system with a greater synergy than ever before.
John Savage, Director of The National Fluid Power centre (UK), commented “It will be necessary to educate and train staff to thoroughly understand the fundamentals that underpin all of the three key areas be it hydraulics, pneumatics and electronics. Beyond this level, all of these key elements must be brought together to ensure every part of the ‘Integrated System’ is fully understood and the part that each element plays with the overall manufacturing process”.
“Today’s maintenance staff have to be more aware of functional safety, health and safety issues, performance and condition monitoring, preventative maintenance techniques and following procedures to carry out effective fault diagnosis on an integrated system”.
The National Fluid Power Centre (UK) based at Worksop in Nottinghamshire, is taking a lead, supported by UK industry, to provide an extensive range of short training courses to begin to educate and train our workforce towards ‘Integrated Systems Engineering.’
“With possibly the best practical facilities in Europe and 11 of the UK’s top Training Engineers we plan to work closely with UK Trade Associations to ensure that our workforce is fully capable and competent to meet this challenge and the UK maintains its competiveness through the provision of its well trained workforce” he explained.
Following the recent launch of our comprehensive training programme to meet the needs of industry, RAPRA can confirm that it is working with many training providers, including The National Fluid Power Centre (UK), with the aim of training staff in polymer materials and associated manufacturing processes that cover a very wide range of entry levels and are delivered at locations all over the UK.