The changing demands of trade education
TEACHERS should be using real-world manufacturing tools to teach CAD software and CNC operations to the next generation of Australian apprentices. To equip students with relevant and up-to date skills, the machines used in the classroom should be no different than the machines used by industry.
Australia’s premier CNC router and plasma cutter manufacturer, Brisbane-based Advanced Robotic Technology (ART), has been perfecting its locally-made CNC routers since the 1990’s.
ART believes educational facilities can value from having locally-made, state-of-the-art machinery for students to learn on, and has established many partnerships with education providers to school up the next generation of Australian apprentices.
A recent technological addition to the Canberra Institute of Technology’s Fyshwick Trade Skills Centre was a state-of-the-art ART CNC (Computer Numerical Control) SMART plasma cutter.
About 100 students a year will learn to operate the SMART 4000 CNC plasma cutter using computer aided drawings (CAD) to create various designs, in preparation for their chosen careers.
The Canberra Institute of Technology was in the market for a major technology upgrade at its Fyshwick Trades Skills Centre, because “it’s our belief that if you’re not keeping up with technology as an education provider, then you’re not keeping ahead,” metal fabrication trades teacher Steven Mcmahon said.
“It is so important for education providers to keep up with changing industry practices in order to ensure we are meeting current industry standards.
“If we’re not keeping up with technology then we’re not able to provide students with the skills they will actually need once they reach the workforce.”
In Victoria, The University of Ballarat’s Engineering & Automotive department acquired an ART 4800XP plasma profile table for the TAFE division to keep up with technology.
“Many of our clients are upgrading to this type of technology, so we felt the need to upgrade our equipment to train our apprentices on industrial-level machines,” Engineering & Automotive department head Peter Schreiner said.
“The ART plasma cutter is well-established in the industry and our instructors find it easy to learn how to operate the machine, which is fully Australian-made – which is not a must-criteria for us, but certainly something that I pushed for.”
In mid-2008 the School of Architecture & Design at RMIT University began to explore the acquisition of a large CNC router, primarily for 3D machining of Industrial Design models and large land form models.
University senior lecturer in fabrication and technology John Cheerry said after exhaustive research, which included speaking to the owners and users of a variety of machines, the decision was taken to order a machine manufactured by ART.
“Since installation and commissioning of the machine, and excellent training sessions, ART have been in frequent contact providing any assistance asked for in helping to make the machine a successful and important part of the schools digital fabrications facilities,” he said.
“I would heartily endorse both the machine and support provided by ART.”
ART has recently added a whole range of new features to its XR Router and Plasma series machines, which have been designed for ease-of-use, versatility, and for applications within a range of industries, including education.
This latest-generation XR Router is the result of continuous improvement and extensive research and development.
Among ART’S innovative solutions and developments – designed to help reduce waste while delivering outstanding performance – are high-torque servo drives, integrated lube and swarf extraction, intelligent accessory control, monocoque chassis design, auto-sensing drill tools, and 4th axis machining (true 4-axis simultaneous cutting with a rotary axis and an additional C-axis for all steered tools).
The versatile all-in-one router machine is suitable for processing a whole range of different materials due to an optional rotational and/or C-axis to support the machining of 3D objects, engraving on cylinders, and the use of saws, knives and cutting wheels.
ART’S large touch-screen controller, which runs advanced graphical software complemented by an optional wireless pendant, ensures ease-of-use for teachers and students.
The pendant enables remote monitoring when away from the machine, so operators can stop the machine or override spindle speed and feed rates from elsewhere in the workshop.
All software is developed by ART from front to back. Because the in-house software developers work closely with the company’s mechanical and electronics engineers, as well as ART’S own in-house CNC operators, the company has a extremely short development cycle time.
ART’S after sales service and support is also second to none. The company will deliver on its promise of answering and assisting queries as they arise – giving customers complete peace of mind.
Brisbane-based Advanced Robotic Technology (ART) has established many partnerships with education providers to school up the next generation of Australian apprentices.