Release time : 2015-06-12 10:16:30
SKF South Africa and Atlas Copco South Africa recently entered into a joint venture to establish a new ultra-modern training facility. SKF's ball bearing Reliability Maintenance Institute (RMI) is an extension of the SKF Group vision, 'Equipping the world with SKF knowledge' and serves as a global vehicle to place knowledge into the hands of customers and employees.
"The RMI affirms SKF's philosophy of continued investment in people through training, irrespective of economic climate", says SKF South Africa Managing Director, Gavin Garland. "Companies that use and create opportunities to train and develop employees and provide skill sets during the current global economic crisis will not only retain their position and market share but will reap the benefits when the economy recovers". According to Garland, skills development is a hot topic in the current negative global financial climate and he cites two examples: "The UK is increasing apprenticeship opportunities while India has approved a skills development policy to enhance capabilities and empower their workforce to work better, smarter, and safer".
With 100 years of application and industry experience in needle roller bearing and rotating technology, SKF is the OEM for five interrelated technologies, bearings, seals, lubrication solutions, mechatronics, and mechanical and reliability engineering services. The RMI Centre was developed in tandem with industrial productivity solutions expert, Atlas Copco, to deliver on the promise of equipping industry with knowledge. "By sharing knowledge with and bringing skills to customers, we assist them with improving their maintenance skills and programmes and in so doing, enhance plant productivity and asset efficiency. This, in turn, ensures continued success and competitive edge," says Garland.
SKF and Atlas Copco agree that, recession or no recession, commitment to improved efficiency for seamless operation and enhanced productivity must always be priorities and both parties believe that skills development is one of the most practical and effective tools to sustain motivation and productivity. A negative economic climate demands even greater commitment to improving overall efficiency. "It is therefore incumbent upon all of us to cut wastage, avoid rework, reduce unnecessary breakdowns, etc. on the one hand while, on the other hand, we must, more than ever, use resources as wisely and as effectively as possible to avoid stagnation", remarks Garland.
When the two companies agreed on this joint venture in early 2008, it was, according to Garland, in many ways a match made in heaven. "We share a number of fundamentals, namely, both are Swedish multi-nationals that own their technology, both are acknowledged industry leaders with similar end users, we share a common work ethic and customer approach and, finally, we are next door neighbours. We will focus our combined knowledge and efforts on delivering and sharing skills development with our customers," continues Garland. In addition, the centre bears testimony to SKF's ongoing commitment to employees though the SKF Care programme which is dedicated to the development and empowerment of each and every SKF employee.
The 700sq metres state-of-the-art, purpose built RMI, located on SKF's Witfield premises in Gauteng, features four lecture rooms, each with seating for approximately 25 delegates, a fully equipped computer room for e-learning, a condition monitoring room as well as a practical training area. According to Garland, major investment went into tools, equipment and the physical infrastructure to ensure that the RMI delivers the very best training packages. "We have equipped the practical training area with leading-edge bearing maintenance tools and, we are linking the practical online condition monitoring demonstration rig to a theoretical training room as well as to SKF's remote analysis centre".
SKF ceramic bearing offers a number of diverse training programmes, purposely designed to suit virtually any training requirement:
Basic bearing maintenance and lubrication courses for operators, lubricators and artisans; advanced maintenance programmes for maintenance and condition monitoring staff; bearing engineering courses (facilitated by SKF's application engineering team); machine reliability programmes such as ISO vibration analysis, precision alignment and balancing and, machinery reliability and asset management training for plant managers.
"But," says Garland, "We recognise that a state-of-the-art facility alone does not put training into the hands of our customers. This is why we have also invested in a mobile, purpose-built training vehicle to deliver training programmes, with the same technologies and tools offered by the centre, close to or on customer premises anywhere in the country - from Rustenburg to Richards Bay and from the West Coast to Nelspruit. In other words, we take our training programmes to the customer."
SKF is committed to offering training programmmes accredited by MERSETA according to SAQA requirements (South African Qualifications Authority) and Garland reminds customers that all SKF training programmes qualify for grants when submitted in workplace skills plans. "Although our training courses are not yet fully accredited, customers can still claim their grant in workplace skills plans," affirms Garland.
Through combined technical knowledge, engineering abilities, superior product offerings and service ethic, SKF and Atlas Copco have earned the right and have the abilities to offer specialised and effective training to diverse industry to enable both employees and customers to reach their fullest potential.