SA TAFE invested in an ART XP Plasma Cutting Table to train the future generation of sheet-metal specialists and boilermakers
Australia’s manufacturing sector is under extreme pressure, facing a high Australian dollar, relentless global competition, uncertainties over future energy prices and entrenched skill shortages. Manufacturing is dependent on the availability of a skilled workforce which is able to adapt and respond to the significant challenges it faces. These challenges include the shift to higher-level skills driven by the introduction of new technologies and the demands of global competition.
As a result, education and training is of upmost importance to Australian industry, which is why TAFE SA in Adelaide is committed to excellence in training and skills development through engagement with industry, its stakeholders and its local communities. The Institute has over 27,000 students across seven campuses and has a vision to be a world-class leader of learning that equips students with the knowledge and skills to develop and prosper.
In order to achieve this vision, the Institute is developing innovative pathways to meet career aspirations and respond to the needs of South Australia’s workforce. As a consequence, when the school was looking to extend its sheetmetal and boilermaker program and curriculum, they wanted to incorporate technology that would allow students to create functional cut parts on a machine relevant to this industry.
“We wanted to give our boilermaker and sheetmetal apprentices the opportunity to learn using a CNC machine which industry is using,” Jeff Bryant from SA TAFE, says. “We wanted a machine that is helping them gain a new, critical area of expertise and real-world experience.”
After doing their homework, talking to different local and overseas suppliers and manufacturers, Mr Bryant and his team decided to invest in an ART CNC SMART Air Plasma cutter, including fume extraction. “We were looking for a turnkey system, so we didn’t have to worry about getting additional software on the machine to run it, with different NC codes,” Mr Bryant says. “I wanted something that would just run straight off, something simple and easy to use, but high-tech and standard in industry.”
ART’s XP Plasma table fulfils all these requirements, offering reliable plasma technology at a low investment cost, yet featuring a high level of performance and features. The machine is designed to work with most commonly available sheet and plate sizes and thicknesses. Its small footprint suits small to mid-sized shops as found in the sheetmetal and boilermaking industries, where this and similar machines are run, making it a great fit for training purposes.
The large user-friendly touch screen controller runs the latest version of ART’s ProfileShop software, which allows good usability over all machine functions. Mr Bryant likes the software’s simplicity of use and the fact that it gives him control over each job. “After some training, the software is simple to use and is well suited for our training purposes.”
Investing in an Australian-made machine pays off for the Institute. ART’s local support and service cannot be beaten by cheaper overseas suppliers,” they say “ART provided us with training and local support, which you cannot get buying a Chinese machine,” Mr Bryant says. “Their service staff are very knowledgeable and supportive, and you get an answer straight away when you call them. I like to have an Australian-made machine, because then you can get parts and spares and the backup and service.”