From the President’s desk
2nd Quarter 2014, SAFPA
As they say, time flies, it is not long until the SAFPA AGM on the 22nd of May. Reflecting on the past year, through our council’s endeavour, we succeeded in increasing our membership. New council members Michael Abbot and Eugene Tondolo have provided impetus and new ideas to the council meetings. The council was further strengthened by the co-option of Adrian Budding (Pneumax) onto the council. Adrian’s experience on implementing the SEW/Pneumax, Pneudrive Challenge for South African university students, will provide us with further cognisance on the implementation of the SAFPA fluid power qualification initiative.
The general feedback from across all industries is that there is an engineering skills shortage, whether at artisan, technician or engineering level. SAFPA recognises this need, and the education subcommittee is currently busy completing the Hose Assembler level 2 Qualification, level 1 having been completed. Also in association with the BFPA (British Fluid Power Association) SAFPA offers the BFPA Hose Safety Course which to date has been attended by over 150 delegates.
Previously we advised of our discussions with the Da Vinci Institute, which proposed the offer of a Masters Degree in Business Management linked specifically to Fluid Power that would include Fluid Power Engineering. Da Vinci can offer bridging courses and acknowledges Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). The SAFPA council recently held a scoping session with Da Vinci. In this session the fluid power input was covered, this is an excellent opportunity for our industry. Subject to his availability SAFPA has invited Professor Roy Marcus of the Da Vinci Institute as the guest speaker at our AGM where he will present an overview of the qualification.
Recently I visited Wits University for the first time in 30 years, previously was to present hydraulic lectures for third year engineering students. It was an opportunity to meet Professor Ted Moss again with whom I liaised all those years ago. Interestingly, over the years I have conducted business with a few engineers who have told me that they were students at Wits and attended those lectures.
On this occasion I met with Dr Frank Kienhofer and a few of his students who required project assistance with a tyre test rig for load simulation on retread tyres. On approaching SAFPA members I was able to obtain sponsorship for the project and wish to thank Axiom Hydraulics, CT Hydraulics and the Fluid Power Group who are each contributing to this project.
For the general public fluid power is unknown but tell them that it operates the brakes and the suspension on their cars, the doors on a bus, compacts their rubbish in the garbage truck, gets aircraft off the ground and safely down again and they’ll say, ‘oh is that fluid power’.
For young engineers, technicians and newcomers to the field, fluid power is a great place to be. Today with digitisation the potential for the application of fluid power systems is boundless. We need more young engineers in our industry who know how to design and apply fluid power systems.
Lastly I wish to thank the SAFPA council members for their time and contribution over the past year, without their efforts our goals would be unachievable.