The chang­ing de­mands of trade ed­u­ca­tion

The Australian Education Reporter - - WORKSHOPS: DESIGN & TECHNOLOGY AND WOODWORKING -

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.

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