As a largely untapped resource, fundamental control technology has considerable scope for growth in many areas of manufacturing industry and in operations of all sizes. The successful implementation and maintenance of hydraulic and pneumatic control systems, for example, points to greater production volumes and increased safety - revealing on the whole a potential industry boost that could be especially beneficial in developing countries. In South Africa, a shortage of expertise is one major factor currently hindering progress of this kind, such that certain industry specialists are taking it upon themselves to equip the workforce with adequate skills.
A notable example of this is Festo Didactic, established by mechatronic giant Festo in 1973 as a largely independent training organisation worldwide. Festo Didactic provides 50% hands-on and 50% theory instruction in the fields of hydraulics, pneumatics, associated electrics/electronics and programmable logic controllers. The company has already trained over 20 000 participants throughout South Africa with over R1,5 million invested in live industrial equipment designed specifically for highly effective hands-on use by trainees, as well as state-of-the-art computer simulation packages. New generation equipment and software has recently been developed abroad and is currently in operation at local training centres. These systems are also available for purchase by companies for purposes of in-house training.
For training in pneumatics, the FluidSIM-3 platform is a best-selling design and simulation program that has been significantly extended for versatile instruction, self-learning or CAD design of control systems. The powerful and award-winning FluidSIM H product enables learners to design, test and simulate hydraulic and electrohydraulic circuits on PCs. The simulation emulates the status of the real controller at every stage using H 2000 components from Festo. As a comprehensive training tool, FluidSIM-H includes multimedia training aids for students and instructors alike.
Up-to-the-minute hydraulics training is facilitated by the Hydraulics 2000 equipment package, where carefully-matched industrial components drive a strong practice focus. Equipment sets are divided into basic and advanced levels and cover hand-operated hydraulic valves, electrohydraulics and control hydraulics. Compact valves (NG4) leave more space on the profile plate for complex training set-ups. Almost leak-free tube couplings keep mess to a minimum and all relevant values can be measured with a specially designed measuring instrument.
The Modular Production System (MPS) allows industrial manufacturing systems of different levels of complexity to be emulated with real equipment. To build confidence in daily tasks, trainees are given practical instruction with production stations and equipment as used in industrial practice. Universal and modular, MPS can be adapted to trainees' needs and simple functions and sequences can be gradually expanded to a complex system.
Festo Didactic's various courses cater for all levels, from newcomers to advanced practitioners, and cover the fundamentals of control technology, circuit design, reading and construction, as well as maintenance, fault-finding and repair of machinery. Subject matter is generic and not product-specific, enabling artisans, learner artisans, machine operators, foremen, technicians, engineers and draughtsmen to gain significant skills in order to understand these control technologies both in theory and in practice.
Courses with current MERSETA accreditation in accordance with the Skills Development Act are held at Festo Didactic's specifically equipped industrial training centres in Durban, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth and East London. The course schedule for July, August and September this year is as per the table.
The four-day courses take place at Festo Didactic's own fully equipped, modern lecture rooms, starting at 08h00 and finishing at 16h00. The total cost of all courses includes all lunches, teas and training materials. Contact Festo Didactic for any further information.
(011) 971 5500
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