From the President’s desk
3rd Quarter 2018, SAFPA
For this issue, Motion Control interviewed SAFPA’s new president, Dustin Pereira, to get to know him a bit more and find out about his plans for SAFPA.
SAFPA President, Dustin Pereira.
Dustin graduated with honours from RAU (now UJ) in 2006, with a degree in mechanical engineering specialising in mechatronics and control systems. He joined Hydac last year as fluid engineering manager after working for the previous 10 years at Goldquest International Hydraulics, which was taken over by BMG in 2008, in positions ranging from projects manager to engineering manager in BMG’s Fluid Tech division.
He has been married to Holly since 2014. “She has been part of my life since we were kids,” he says. Holly is a travel agent so the two of them get to do quite a bit of travelling. When not travelling he loves outdoor pursuits like hiking and 4X4 trailing. Their next trip will be white river rafting in Namibia and the Richtersveldt. Another of his passions is restoring old, fast cars and he is currently working on an AC Cobra.
His final project at RAU was the development of a one-man vehicle for the Mini BAJA endurance challenge, where the RAU team took on all the South African universities and technikons. “We used hydraulics for the power transmission – the only one running on a hydrostatic drive – and quite a challenge,” he adds. Goldquest’s engineering director helped the students develop their solution and this led to his first job at the company.
Over the past years, SAFPA has put a huge focus on education and skills development and went a long way down the road with its training initiative to get a basic fluid power qualification off the ground, together with JFa2. Dustin says that this sadly has not materialised, despite a huge effort and countless hours put in by the SAFPA committee, and this has been heartbreaking. The four students who qualified are now being placed in employment at Hytec, Axiom and CT Hydraulics.
In place of this, SAFPA is now planning, rather than pushing a specific college, to get information on all fluid power training courses offered by its members, as well as other companies, and put this on the SAFPA website and market it. “So rather than competing with our members we will support them,” he explains. Pirtek, Festo and Hytec are already offering skills programmes like this and the plan is to roll this out and promote it at Electra Mining 2018, to be held from 10 to 14 September, where SAFPA will have a stand.
Another of his proposals on the table is to promote the fluid power industry at college and university level with the aim of getting a fluid power course introduced and presenting the career opportunities in fluid power open to young graduates. Currently, engineering students are not exposed to the fluid power concept at all. The curriculum is very theoretical and there is no interface between the theory and the mechanics.
Another new development is the Hydraulics and Pneumatics Export Cluster, which will help fluid power companies grow their businesses through exporting.
“I send my best wishes for success to all companies and individuals within the fluid power industry for 2018 and 2019,” he concludes.