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GROWING THE SKILLS PIPELINE… BCITO’S NEW HEAD TARGETS BUILDING/CONSTRUCTIONS’ DESPERATE NEEDS
The Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO) recently reached a new milestone, announcing 16,000 apprentices actively training. This is the highest number of apprentices ever, and in a time where tradies are in short supply, it’s a big step in the right direction. BCITO is determined to grow the skills pipeline New Zealand desperately needs and ensure supply meets demand for the building and construction sector. Here, its chief executive, Toby Beaglehole, describes how.
I joined BCITO as their new chief executive in January this year, as the organisation celebrates its 30th birthday. Coming from an ITO in a kindred sector, I was aware of the challenges and changes BCITO is facing as we work to overcome a skills shortage and manage an effective transition into Te Pūkenga. With demand for apprentices booming, we’re looking forward to supporting building and construction through a bumper year.
WORKING TO ADDRESS THE SKILLS SHORTAGE
The skills shortage is a challenge that has plagued the building and construction sector for many years. During the Global Financial Crisis we lost many of our skilled workers, and as a result we’ve yet to hit the capacity and skills mix we need today. As we recover from the impacts of COVID-19, building and construction is a sector that has a lot to do, even with the borders closed. With building consents remaining high following lockdown, and the government committing to a number of major infrastructure projects, demand for skilled labour is surging. A career in the trades offers stability and opportunity in these uncertain times, and people are embracing both.
While we are seeing a positive shift in apprentice numbers, the uptake of training needs to continue if we are to fill the skills pipeline and meet demand. Government, industry and vocational providers are all working on multiple fronts to address training needs, and the government’s Apprenticeship Boost and Free Trades Training have supported the significant and ongoing increase in apprenticeships.
IT’S A WIN-WIN FOR EMPLOYERS
Along with the need for more apprentices in training, the sector also needs more qualified tradespeople to train our future workforce. Taking on an apprentice has never been easier with the government’s 2020 Budget offering significant investment in trade apprenticeships. $412 million has been invested in the Apprenticeship Boost Scheme which offers support for employers to retain apprentices and to hire and train more people.
It’s fantastic to see the government’s Apprenticeship Boost and No Fees schemes are working, and as a result we have more people not only entering the trades but also more employers training apprentices. For both parties it’s an absolute win-win. There are no fees at present, the apprentice gets to earn while they learn, and for the employer, the financial support helps them to train while the apprentice is in the early stages of their apprenticeship. We would like to see the government’s support for employers continue, to ensure we maintain the momentum in attracting employers to industry training.
The construction industry needs confident, capable and motivated professionals. Through on-the-job training and a deep understanding of the sector, BCITO will support the construction industry to build a skilled workforce. Together we can deliver a workforce where people can excel, achieve professional qualifications and become valuable contributors to industry and society.
We are growing along with industry so that we can support the high volume of people and businesses involved in training. We have never had this many people in training before in our entire thirty years of operation. With the government support available, there’s never been a better time than now to get involved and train an apprentice.
A SMOOTH TRANSITION
This year our focus at BCITO is to work through the reform of vocational education (RoVE) to ensure a smooth transition for all apprentices, employers, and our people. We support the government’s decisions and are working in partnership with Te Pūkenga and the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) to make sure that the only impacts on employers and apprentices are positive ones. We have an opportunity to contribute to one of the biggest reforms of vocational education New Zealand has ever seen.
Together with industry we’ll keep amplifying the employer voice, and promote system changes that result in industry and apprentice success through a better system of vocational education.
I am confident BCITO will have a smooth transition, and that BCITO and the sector will continue to attract more talent into the trades. We will collectively ensure we have the trained workforce needed to deliver the growth and careers that New Zealanders deserve.
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WINNING SPIRIT INSPIRES INDUSTRIAL SUPPORTER HYDRAULINK
On the water: Hydraulink CEO Robin Simpson (left to right), product manager Garth Woodhouse, director Lee Short and director Noel Davies
Precision hydraulics help “best under pressure” Kiwis claim back-to-back America’s Cups.
First there was Australia’s winged keel technology that helped bring the America’s cup Down Under – now hydraulic technology has helped Emirates Team New Zealand win the latest Cup 7-3 last month, after the series was locked at 3-each.
All yachts in the finals series – including the winner and final contender Italy’s Luna Rossa – used a hydraulically actuated foil cant system to raise boats clear of the waves to exploit the outstanding skills of closely matched crews and brilliant designs as the 6-7 ton AC75 yachts fly clear of the water at top speeds between 40 and 50 knots depending on conditions in the Hauraki Gulf.
The Foil Cant System – which provides the boats with the leverage they need to stay upright – use the same precision hydraulic power that actuates nearly all heavy industrial equipment, ranging from civil engineering and earthmoving equipment, cranes, forklifts, draglines, trucks. agricultural, logistics, warehousing, transport and construction equipment.
“Hydraulics helped provide the tools for this job – but the real tribute goes to the designers, crews and organisers who worked for years to make the new AC75 class the astounding spectacle it was. Their dedication and success were all the more remarkable because of the interruptions leading up to the global event, then the off-on COVID restrictions encountered during the series. This really put everyone under pressure, and they responded magnificently,” says Lee Short, director of the Hydraulink hydraulic hose and fitting company which provided products used by all contenders.
The defending champion Emirates Team New Zealand exclusively used Hydraulink hoses and couplings, including those actuating the complex “Foil Cant System,” which was subject to a “One-Design” rule which meant all the challengers also used Hydraulink products for this system.
“These amazing technologies were available equally to all contenders, so the victory by Team New Zealand was a stunning victory for them. Even more so when you realise that all contenders were limited before the event by the amount of boat-on-boat racing experience they could undertake in this new event. This meant the team had to learn as they went, lift their performance as they moved forwards. The racing was locked at one race each, until Races 7 and 8, when Team New Zealand performed best under pressure and dominated the event through Races 9 and 10, wining 7-3 and retaining in New Zealand the oldest trophy in international sport.”
Hydraulink is widely known in industrial markets as a leading supplier to major construction, civil engineering, infrastructure, manufacturing, resources, mining and energy, forestry, primary industry, transport and marine companies in Australia, New Zealand, SE Asia and the Western USA. The company provides quality hydraulic hoses and fittings and operates to world-class standards of safety and standards compliance, providing maintenance, and service life optimisation for often huge and complex machinery working 24/7 that depends extensively on hydraulics for safe and efficient operation.
Short – whose company also backs NZ formula Open motor racing champion Gary Rush – says involvement in high-tech ventures with no room for error reinforces the company’s top safety and reliability focus.
“Whether you are out on the water, the racetrack or in the workshop and worksite, reliable hydraulics are fundamental to hard work and high performance. Without hydraulics, industries cannot function. And most industries today are highly competitive and racing against the clock to optimise output,” says Short, whose company’s corporate signature is “Best Under Pressure”.
Fellow Hydraulink director Noel Davies says that the America’s Cup involvement is totally in accord with the can-do culture of excellence and innovation it inspires among Hydraulink staff at 400-plus Hydraulink service points, “which are incredibly proud of our involvement. Our field of industrial hydraulics is also a highly competitive business where attitude, innovation and educating our teams are paramount to global standards of service.”
BACKGROUND TO HYDRAULINK INVOLVEMENT
Hydraulink’s introduction to involvement in the America’s Cup began when Short was watching a race in the build-up to the NZ win in the America’s Cup in San Diego in 1995. “A hydraulic leak on the mast boom of Team New Zealand sprayed oil into the cockpit, causing a few issues. I thought, ‘We can do better than that’, so, when the team arrived back ready to defend the Cup, I organised a visit to Team New Zealand and offered our expertise for the next defence.
“Twenty-five years on we are still ardently involved. This 36th America’s Cup is a bit special though, because we are supplying the hose and fittings for each challenger’s Foil Cant System.”
Davies says, “We encourage a constant improvement and a can-do attitude that accords with our national spirit. The win by Australia to break the US stranglehold on the America’s Cup – and the multiple successes of New Zealand since then – show just what standards of excellence can be achieved by constant dedication to team excellence, in the sporting arena and in all our workshops and customer’s workplaces. Lee has taken a great initiative in making this happen, and we believe this delivers a strong ethic of excellence throughout Hydraulink.”
Short says that – in addition to being the world’s old trophy in international sport – “The America’s Cup is a monumental engineering achievement. The Emirates Team New Zealand Defender alone is the culmination of more than 100,000 work hours from a design-and-build team over the past six months, incorporating the knowledge from the first big boat Te Aihe and the smaller test boat Te Kāhu. With hydraulic systems on board that utilise Hydraulink hoses and fittings, this is a project very dear to our hearts and we are incredibly proud to have contributed to the build of this ground-breaking yacht, and successful outcome.”
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AWARD-WINNING KONECRANES APP QUICKLY RECORDS DAILY INSPECTION FINDINGS
Described as a world crane service leader, Konecranes is introducing a new app to increase efficiency, optimise safety, and digitise Daily Inspections.
Konecranes’ new CheckApp has been designed to help crane users quickly and easily record their findings when performing pre-shift and pre-lift inspections as part of daily inspections – a statutory requirement in many countries.
Pre-start inspections are part of the owners’ manual documentation of every crane and hoist, but Konecranes realised that thick paper manuals were not the most efficient way to conduct daily inspections.
A lot of countries require these pre-start inspections to be done as a matter of code compliance, so operators need to be the first to be responsible for their own safety, to make sure they are not involved in an incident with the crane due to a failure of a component.
“CheckApp was conceived as a great way to deliver an effective inspection format direct to any crane operator. Being electronic, it also becomes an accessible permanent record, unlike paper, which can be lost or misplaced,” says John Jackman, Modernization and Light Lifting sales manager, Konecranes and Demag.
Jackman was part of a team that developed the idea for CheckApp. The idea for this clever new app was the winning submission from a Konecranes global innovation contest.
“Almost everyone has a mobile device of some kind. Using electronic technology allows us to not only provide a quality, convenient inspection template, but also allows us to build in additional reference for those learning to do inspections properly,” he says.
“In a practical sense, one of the most important functions the CheckApp achieves is that it improves the communication between a person identifying a fault and the repair of that fault by maintenance,” says Jackman. “No one wants an operator using a crane with a potentially dangerous fault condition.
“I’m delighted to see the app ready for release. It’s a cost-effective way for customers to record and retrieve daily inspection data that can be used for internal auditing and compliance,” says Jackman.
“The app supports Konecranes Service’s mission to provide smart technology and a digitally-enabled customer experience to improve the safety, productivity and sustainability of our customers’ operations.”
The app can be downloaded for free from the Apple AppStore and from Google Play for Android devices.
A daily inspection is a user’s – or crane operator’s – own assessment of the condition of an asset and environment for safe use. It is not an expert’s examination of the condition of an asset or component. Konecranes CheckApp for daily inspections follows the guidance set in the ISO 9927 standard and in applicable statutory regulations.
Daily inspection records are accessible on the yourKonecranes customer portal where, combined with maintenance history and condition data collected from selected components with TreConnect Remote Monitoring, customers get a comprehensive view of the condition of their assets in one easily accessible place. This data assists in planning maintenance actions and provides an audit trail of performed daily inspections.
The daily inspection view in yourKonecranes shows daily inspection details as well as useful summary views. Daily inspection details – revealing who performed the inspection, when it was performed, what deficiencies were reported – are accessible through the activity, overview and asset fleet views. A detailed summary for the selected timeframe is provided in the ‘Business Review’ tab.
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UNLOCKING VALUE FROM FORKLIFT CONNECTIVITY
Forklifts today can do more than just move stock from one end of the factory to the other – when integrated with the right technology, Crown Equipment says the machines can move your whole organisation forward.
Crown has been providing forklift connectivity and fleet management solutions since 2005. Since then, it has worked with customers to help them integrate forklift fleet management into their businesses. Through that process, Crown has learned valuable lessons about technology adoption in material handling.
But despite the relative maturity of forklift connectivity and fleet management, and its ability to transform the truck into a networked device that brings data-driven decision making to the warehouse floor, only a small group is using the technology.
Crown has identified four keys to realising value from cloud-based forklift fleet management systems:
An organisation that implements forklift fleet management to solve a specific operating issue is more likely to have success.
“That doesn’t mean that forklift fleet management has to be a single-use solution,” says Crown.
“But it does mean that having a clear goal in the early stages is the best way to ensure the system gets integrated into management processes.”
RELEVANT, TIMELY DATA
The ability to determine the success of forklift fleet management is compromised without the right data at the right time. To gather this information, Crown says alerts, a dashboard and detailed reports are essential.
• Alerts: Can provide immediate notification of events that require attention. They can be a powerful tool in managing change if correctly set up.
• Management dashboard: Provides a snapshot of operating trends within the warehouse. A well-designed dashboard can enable a shift from reactive to proactive management.
• Detailed reports: Managers need the ability to drill down to isolate problems. This is where the depth of data provided by a forklift fleet management system becomes important.
“It’s tempting with any technology for managers to be engaged during the early stages and then shift their focus once they believe the technology has been successfully implemented,” says Crown.
Instead, engagement with the system needs to grow.
“Senior management needs to communicate their support of their programme, as well as ensure support extends across departments, and departments are working together to achieve defined goals.”
Inadequate site preparation can dampen enthusiasm for new technology and discourage adoption.
“One of the keys to site preparation is getting all stakeholders involved in the planning process, including affected departments (maintenance, operations and safety, among others) as well as IT,” says Crown.
Crown Equipment believes concerns over cost and complexity mean this technology is being underutilised.
“These concerns are common to technology implementations across all industries and should be taken seriously,” says the material handling company.
“However, there is now sufficient experience with forklift connectivity to ensure that implementation issues can be resolved relatively quickly and that significant value can be realised if the organisation sets clear goals.
“Organisations that address these issues directly today will realise the benefits of forklift connectivity in the short term while positioning themselves to build on the technology foundation it provides in the long term.”
HUMAN-ROBOT COLLABORATION ON THE RISE
Dr Merritt Morre
In an age where technology is at the heart of virtually everything the possibilities are infinite. Engineers and scientists are honing their skills to bring us inventions beyond our wildest imaginations, and the COVID-19 pandemic is further accelerating this mission.
Collaborative robots (cobots) have cemented their place in the world of manufacturing – both locally and abroad. In fact, the robotics market is expected to grow from US$76.6 billion in 2020 to $176.8 billion by 2025 (Marketresearch.com). Adding to this is the power of human-robot collaboration which is estimated to be 85% more productive than humans or robots alone (ILP.MIT.edu).
James McKew, regional director of Universal Robots Asia-Pacific explains that new and exciting human-robot collaborations are now coming to light, and some of them are quite unconventional – one such story is that of the cobot who learned to dance.
“A recent story shared by Universal Robots tells the story of Dr Merritt Moore – a quantum physicist who combined her love for dance with her career to bring us a remarkable showcase of human-robot collaboration,” says McKew.
Born in Los Angeles and now residing in London, Dr Moore ‘blurred the lines between arts and science’ by sacrificing neither. Dr Moore is a professional ballet dancer for the National Ballet, English National Ballet and Boston Ballet, and has also earned her PhD in atomic and laser physics from the University of Oxford.
Dr Merritt Morre – a quantum physicist who combined her love for dance with her career to bring us a remarkable showcase of human-cobot collaboration
“There are so many rigid stereotypes of what a dancer or a scientist should be, and this can be really damaging for both disciplines,” she says. “I hope that the next generation of women will be inspired to defy expectations of how a career in STEM should look”.
A remarkable example of how Dr Moore herself defied these expectations in more interdisciplinary ways than anyone could imagine, is her pas de deux with a UR10e cobot, fondly named “Baryshnibot” by her Instagram followers.
The unusual partnership began in Oslo where Dr Moore was performing Swan Lake and La Bayadere with the Norwegian National Ballet.
Through mutual friends she met Silje Gabrielsen – senior designer and co-founder of Hiro Futures – a human-robot interaction start-up based in the Norwegian capital. “We research artificial social skills in robotics,” says Gabrielsen.
“Today’s robots are still lacking several skills to properly collaborate in non-industrial settings. Instead of simply using a screen or additional hardware to communicate and interact with humans, we want to use a more intuitive communication system: body language.”
When she heard that Dr Moore was both a professional ballet dancer and an astrophysicist with a keen interest in robotics, she felt there was a perfect match. “We both thought this would be an amazing opportunity to explore these interactions and movements further.”
Dr Moore was first loaned a UR5e robot and later a UR10e through a Universal Robot distributor to assist with more reach.
As lockdown continued, Baryshnibot became Dr Moore’s dubious dance partner. Whilst Baryshnibot was originally designed for repetitive industrial automation tasks, Dr Moore has worked hard to ensure that the cobot can keep up with her complex dance moves.
“I chose a cobot from Universal Robots as I needed a machine with the ability to react safely and intuitively to human movement. It’s also great that the robot is so easy to re-program, which has made it simple for me to teach it new dances and styles relatively quickly. The cobot usually performs tasks with simple, repetitive movements such as screwdriving and sanding, so I had to think of ways to get the movements to line up perfectly with human movements.”
INTO THE FUTURE
McKew says that the adoption rate of cobots is set to increase in 2021 in both Australia and New Zealand. “Whether cobots are used to automate a manual production line, speed up processes and improve quality, or get involved in weird yet wonderful human-robot collaborations, we expect a notable uptick in the year ahead.”
He adds that while these trends are applicable the world over, cobots are especially needed in countries like Australia and New Zealand where reshoring is currently taking place. “While social distancing, limited staff capacity, safety concerns, lights out manufacturing and reshoring are key drivers for the uptick in cobots right now, there has always been a need to automate. We are exploring the limitless potential of robotics with customers around the world, and it’s an exciting space to be in right now.”
WHY COBOTS? A LOOK AT THE LOCAL LANDSCAPE
During a time where economies are battling with unemployment, automation can help create jobs in the manufacturing sector. “The availability of labour remains one of the biggest challenges in a post-COVID world”, says McKew.
“Labour shortages for lower skilled positions in manufacturing will further be impacted by migrant workers who are not able to return.”
The need to review operating costs is highlighted in the COVID world. Companies are looking to work ‘smart’. Increased safety demands, reduced access to skills and the high cost of poor quality are under the spotlight.
“Adding to this is reduced recruitment costs, consistent quality and enhanced productivity which makes the affordability and availability of cobots in the automation space particularly exciting right now,” adds McKew.
“A recent Deloitte report highlighted the rise of automation in the manufacturing sector. It states that in 2018 humans carried out 71% of tasks, but this is forecast to drop to 58% by 2022. The report also found that although 75 million jobs will be eliminated, 133 million new jobs will be created.”
Quick to deploy and easy to programme, cobots complete repetitive and mundane tasks with precision, increasing quality and reduced overall operating costs. Cobots can work 24/7 with or without human intervention, they not only compensate for labour shortages but also make up for lost production by manufacturing products of consistent quality throughout the night and during historically unproductive times.
For more info: Design Energy 03 943 2143, firstname.lastname@example.org.
PIVOTAL TRENDS LIKELY TO IMPACT PROCESS AUTOMATION MARKET
Recent trends in the global process automation market are characterised by various fund raising initiatives by prominent industry participants.
Citing an instance, in April 2020, Blue Prism announced its raising of more than US$124 million in equity financing amounting to a valuation of nearly $1.24 billion. As stated by Jason Kingdon, the CEO of Blue Prism, a major portion of the capital was moved towards bolstering the automation suite of the company.
In March 2020, Blue Prism had also rolled out a SARS-CoV-2 response task team for the performance of a variety of functions. This team was also collaborating with Leeds Building Society, the UK’s National Health Service, and the University of California for automating vaccine development, personnel, finance, and associated health care support functions.
Such developments are touted to push RPA industry demand, impelling the business landscape through the forthcoming years. The global robotic process automation market size is projected to surpass $23 billion by 2026, cites the latest research by Global Market Insights.
Few major trends propelling robotic process automation market growth include:
• Increasing number of collaborations in the Asia Pacific
Organisations in the Asia Pacific are focusing on partnerships and collaborations with key industry participants for furnishing various robotic process automation software solutions to the banking and healthcare sectors. In this regard, the China Construction Bank has opened a branch in Shanghai in April 2018, that is managed with the aid of AI-operated bots.
The Asia Pacific robotic process automation market size is anticipated to witness commendable growth over the estimated period on account of the surging number of investment initiatives in the IT & telecom industry.
• Surging demand for robotic process automation software
The ability of RPA software to provide a centralised platform for controlling business processes and supporting the auditing of information is poised to stimulate market demand through the ensuing years. This software also enables the automation of large scale data process as well as financial datasheet management, workflow management, and billing management.
Additionally, the integration of robotic process automation software with other digital technologies comprising AI, natural language processing, and machine learning is set to add more value to intelligent automation processing, in turn driving revenue augmentation through the projected span.
• Acquisition strategies of prominent market players
Major players in the robotic process automation industry are focusing on the development of numerous AI and machine-learning-powered RPA tools for the expansion of their product portfolio. These participants are keen to focus on the acquisition of small businesses for expanding their geographical footprint and increasing product penetration across various regions.
Citing an instance, SAP SE proceeded with the acquisition of Contextor in November 2018 for the purpose of accelerating the development and expansion of SAP Leonardo Machine Learning portfolio.
In the years to come, the increasing requirement for robotic process automation tools in the BFSI sector coupled with a surge in small-scale businesses across the United States will augment robotic process automation market growth, escalating industry valuation to a remarkable extent.
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PROSECUTIONS SHOW A ‘CAVALIER APPROACH’ TO GUARDING, MACHINE SAFETY
A wave of prosecutions related to guarding and the safe use of machinery are an eyeopener to the complacency of business in keeping their workers safe from potential harm according to Craig Carlyle of HasTrak.
From the Wellington pastry worker degloving his hand in a pastry maker to the female sawmill worker killed when she was dragged into machinery, the reality is that our statistics have not improved despite the best intentions of MBIE and WorkSafe.
According to the WorkSafe chief inspector there are too many workers whose safety is compromised by having to operate inadequately guarded machinery.
“The need to guard machinery is a legal requirement and one of the easiest ways to ensure your workers’ safety. It’s not new and businesses must ensure these simple protective devices are installed, and operated, on their machinery.
“It might seem like health and safety 101, but if a machine doesn’t have adequate guarding, then it shouldn’t be used. It’s that simple.”
Safe use of machinery (guarding) requirements have been in place since 1901, however recent fines signal the intent to get serious. A $200,000-$300,000 fine is now the starting point for most prosecutions.
WorkSafe simplified the AS/NZS 4024 requirements with the publication of its own Best Practice Guide in 2014, but this alone is not enough. Competency and confidence training is required so that businesses stop burying their heads in the sand and incorporate machine safety into their normal operations. It is simply not good enough to ignore safety when making capital purchases, or to hand the guarding issues off to tradesmen without considering the management responsibilities, or to assign staff to machinery without considering their competency.
Training in the application of WorkSafe’s best practice guide on the Safe Use of Machinery is available and this is an ideal starting point to understanding how to keep workers safe and where everyone in the organisation fits into a complete solution.
So, what can you do if you use machinery in your business? There are several basic steps you can take to ensure your workers and your business are not at risk:
You could start out by arranging a machinery safety audit. This will confirm your level of compliance, or alternatively provide a roadmap for improvement. External audits often uncover obvious faults that existing personnel are blind to.
You could involve staff members in training in the safe use of machinery best practice guidelines. Try sending a cross section of employees, not just your engineers, to embed the awareness, competence and confidence across your organisation, and help the business understand the overarching responsibilities.
You could check your own systems; do we have safe systems of work? Do we do guarding checks? Do we train our staff on hazards or risks that could hurt them? Do we record that training and systemise the training to remind us in the future?
Whatever suits your business hiding your head in the sand is no longer a viable option.
For more contact HasTrak on (09) 292 2919, (027) 41 44 260 or at www.hastrak.co.nz.
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SAFER PRACTICES NOT ONLY SAVE LIVES BUT AID PRODUCTIVITY
Accidents, near misses and other health and safety incidents not only have the potential to cause serious harm to workers but they can also seriously impact on the productivity and efficiency of a worksite.
Having to close a section of your plant or halt work due to an incident; conduct investigations and complete incident reports; or more seriously – work through treating and rehabilitating an injured worker – are all serious and stressful tasks that also impact on productivity.
In recent years, the introduction of more comprehensive health and safety legislation, advances in technology and design of personal protective equipment and increased awareness around health and safety procedures has gone a long way towards improving health and safety in New Zealand workplaces. But despite these measures, many sites still lose time and money as a result of health and safety incidents.
“Many of these incidents could have been easily avoided if staff had been competently trained to use safety equipment and follow applicable procedures. Whilst many people employed in a health and safety role are trained, it is critical that all employees – frontline workers, supervisors, managers and even company owners – receive training” says NZ Safety Blackwoods.
As well as improving your workplace health and safety practices, effective training will provide you with a better understanding of the law and your legal obligations, help you avoid severe penalties, allow for improved management of your business, reduce workplace insurance costs and of course, increase efficiency.
NZ Safety Blackwoods Worksafe Training has been operating as a specialised training organisation, with a philosophy focused on the areas of health, safety and the environment, since the introduction of health and safety legislation in 1993.
Each specialised trainer is fully qualified, both academically and practically, and can provide both industry expertise and educational experience across a wide range of training areas – including, but not limited to, emergency response, elevating work platforms, forklifts, height safety, lockout/tagout, hazardous substances, spill response and contractor management.
“NZ Safety Blackwoods Worksafe Training also recognises that not all workplaces are the same and it is often beneficial to customise and tailor training packages to a specific site or situation. Experienced trainers will consult with you and identify your specific training requirements from both a regulatory and an occupational health and safety aspect, then recommend and deliver cost-effective training packages tailored to your specific environment.”
As well as dedicated training venues in Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington and Christchurch equipped with classrooms and purpose-built facilities, training can also be conducted on your worksite, to both minimise downtime and provide practical experience within a relevant environment.
Implementing regular and effective health and safety training for all staff will help ensure day-to-day operations, maintenance work and shut down activities are completed safely – not only ensuring compliance – but also minimising downtime and driving efficiency.
“Engage with the experienced team at NZ Safety Blackwoods Worksafe Training so we can assess your requirements, pull together the best team to meet your training needs and implement cost-effective, customised workplace training to minimise costs, reduce downtime, and most importantly, keep your team safe at work.”
NZ Safety Blackwoods Worksafe Training is a New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) accredited private training establishment and has been delivering specialist training focused on health, safety and the environment since 1993.
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BUILDING ON SHAKY GROUND… CHRISTCHURCH EARTHQUAKES TEACH NZ SEISMIC CONSTRUCTION LESSON
Charles Clifton, Associate Professor at University of Auckland
By Charles Clifton, Associate Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Auckland
The 10 years since the most destructive of the Canterbury earthquake series have been filled with work; in my case some of that has included being part of a working group that has analysed why certain structures (such as the CTV building) failed and what goes into making buildings more resilient under severe seismic stress.
Through my collaboration with HERA (New Zealand’s Heavy Engineering Research Association), the University of Canterbury Associate Professor Gregory MacRae and Auckland University of Technology Senior Lecturer Shahab Ramhormozian, New Zealanders can be assured that the best structural and civil engineering minds are resolving the challenges around building performance; human safety; and the cost of construction and remedial strengthening in light of what we learned from Christchurch.
Where, then, has a decade of analysis and rebuilding brought us to?
Our steel buildings performed astonishingly well
In fact, analysis after the February 2011 earthquake showed the Christchurch buildings with standard construction of concrete floors on steel decks supported on steel beams were about 2.5x more resilient than industry-led design had calculated. These buildings use the ‘strong column, weak beam’ design model which allows steel structures to be ductile and move under severe seismic loading while being rigid under wind or moderate earthquakes.
Conversely, the CTV building failed, collapsing pancake-like, because earlier remedial strengthening work (done around two years after it was first built, based on an engineering inspection that identified critical weakness), only addressed the connection between the shear core and the top three floors, leaving the bottom three floors vulnerable to seismic forces. We know this because a survivor testified that when the earthquake started, her third-level floor fell from underneath her, indicating that the lower floors failed first. However, that was only the final catastrophic stage of a building with significant deficiencies right from the initial design.
Steel structure resilience was also demonstrated in HERA’s commissioned research on the performance of structural steel buildings post the Kaikoura Earthquake. Structural steel buildings in the region performed very well during the earthquake, overall, showing that there were no deficiencies in New Zealand’s seismic design practice for steel building structures at that time.
Modern buildings are designed for “controlled damage”
If we think of buildings like a car, in the worst-case scenario, a head-on collision at high speed, we want the car to take the brunt of the force and the people inside it to survive unscathed – then we figure out whether the car can be repaired or must be replaced. Our seismic design procedures for multistorey buildings have been based on this controlled damage model which allows the building, in the event it is overloaded by seismic activity, to stay standing while people evacuate, then the damage is assessed. This is how steel structures that went through the Christchurch earthquakes were designed to behave and they did that very well, generally with minimal structural and non-structural damage despite the very high severity of the earthquake.
Increasingly, more and more clients – people funding multi-storey construction – want the building to be fully functional after a severe event, so it is not uninhabitable for a long time and any repair work is unnecessary or can be done quickly and safely. With steel structures and composite floors, we are well down the track towards making this a reality, partly because steel structures performed so well in the earthquakes; we can build on that to make them “no-damage” at the design level.
This resilience doesn’t need to cost more
Advancing the strong-column-weak-beam model to a no-damage model has historically been a question of how you design economically for a low-probability event, as earthquake previously was in the Canterbury region. Now, we have a case study which shows the cost of designing for no-damage adds only 1-2% to the structure cost, meaning less than 1% on the overall building cost. This largely eliminates concerns about extra cost to enhance safety and performance.
There is room for improving the efficiency of steel construction
In-situ concrete, where concrete is poured around a steel framework, is highly earthquake-resilient; pre-cast concrete is not. However, use of pre-cast in low seismic zones, such as Auckland (where construction is 50:50 concrete and steel) is appropriate. The focus should be on designing to the conditions and risks, and New Zealand is doing that well; for instance, precast floors are not being used in high-seismic regions. Steel’s ability to accommodate different building shapes and design makes it highly versatile. However, we can still find more efficiencies in how we use it in construction.
Quality control remains paramount
HERA has done a lot of work over the past few years to make certain that all steel coming into New Zealand, whether fabricated (to go straight into buildings) or pieces of steel for local fabrication, complies with the same level of quality that we require of local producers. This has come in the form of their guide to imported steel work, and in-depth seismic research in areas such as welded connections, brittle fracture, and seismic resisting systems delivered via Fabrication 4.0 general manager Michail Karpenko.
We have seen a few examples such as a hotel at Christchurch airport where the building programme was not met because of quality of construction. We have the procedures and the knowledge in place to prevent that from happening in the future.
In New Zealand multi-storey construction, it’s up to the design team to put an inspection plan in place and designate the inspectors, and the building consent authorities are typically completely hands-off. If the parties involved at that stage are knowledgeable and act with integrity, you get an extremely good solution for very low compliance costs. The problem – and this is a risk for the regulatory bodies and industry, led by government, to mitigate – is if any one of those parties lacks knowledge or integrity, you can get a poor performing solution which at worst can be disastrous, such as the CTV building. The current building consent and control system works well only when everyone knows what they’re doing and is interested in doing a good job.
The post BUILDING ON SHAKY GROUND… CHRISTCHURCH EARTHQUAKES TEACH NZ SEISMIC CONSTRUCTION LESSON appeared first on NZ Engineering News.
IS AUTOMOTIVE READY FOR HYDROGEN?
MATS W LUNDBERG, HEAD OF SUSTAINABILITY AT SANDVIK, MAPS OUT THE ROAD TOWARDS HYDROGEN FUEL.
With global sustainability legislations shifting the automotive market away from combustion engines, you’ve probably heard somebody utter “my next car will be electric”. If you haven’t, it’s likely you will soon. However, one fuel source doesn’t fit all. Making the green shift in the automotive market will require other sustainable fuel sources.
The move away from petrol, diesel and hybrid cars can seem like a shifting target. Despite deadlines for the ban on such vehicles varying by country, we can be sure that global change is happening — and soon. Automakers and drivers alike will need to adjust to a more sustainable future, but how can you decide which resource will power your vehicle?
BEVs versus FCEV. The automotive sector typically views battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) as competing technologies. While BEVs use electricity stored in a battery that powers the vehicle’s electric motor, FCEVs are powered by fuel cells.
A fuel cell converts energy stored in molecules into electrical energy. Only oxygen and hydrogen are required to power the fuel cell — the former is readily available in the atmosphere, and the latter can be generated through electrolysis.
FCEVs can offer better weight economy, effectively powering larger vehicles such as haulage that need to limit unnecessary weight gain. Vehicles that travel long distances or that need to refuel quickly are also more suited to hydrogen. Hydrogen is also a good choice for longer-term storage, since it is a gas that can be stored in tanks and containers, while battery lifetime can suffer if the batteries are not charged and discharged correctly.
However, hydrogen’s sustainable future relies on the production of green hydrogen — produced through electrolysis powered by renewable resources. Currently, around 96% of hydrogen is generated from fossil fuels, so developments must still be made if FCEVs are going to match the feasibility of BEVs.
Despite green hydrogen’s slow development, across Europe many projects are already underway to test and deploy hydrogen buses, taxis and other large vehicles, spurring on investment in refuelling stations and other infrastructure that will be critical to the roll-out of FCEVs.
For instance, the Joint Initiative for Hydrogen Vehicles across Europe (JIVE) project seeks to deploy 139 new zero emission fuel cell buses and associated refuelling infrastructure across five European countries. JIVE is co-funded by a 32 million euro grant from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking under the European Union Horizon 2020 framework programme for research and innovation. Planned operating sites include the UK, Belgium, Germany, Italy and Denmark.
Elsewhere, British carmaker Jaguar Land Rover is working on a government-sponsored initiative, Project Zeus, that will develop fuel cell technologies for its larger vehicles. While the project remains in early development and the focus is on developing hydrogen powertrain technology, the first concept developed as a result of Project Zeus is likely to be an Evoque-sized SUV.
Getting prepared is vital. As sustainable and viable hydrogen solutions begin to take off, hydrogen infrastructure will also be key to delivering the fuel source to the automotive industry. Infrastructure doesn’t only involve producing the fuel itself, but also the pipework to transport it, and the development of the fuel cells. A key component in this infrastructure is steel.
High quality steel tubes will be an important requirement for gas companies, who will require flexible solutions to set up refuelling stations. Sandvik is already working with leading gas and engineering company, Linde, and is supplying its portable Solution in a Container to help the company build refuelling stations across Europe. The stainless steel alloy tubes transport hydrogen from a storage tank to a dispenser.
Linde’s hydrogen gas is transported under both low and high pressures of up to 900 bars, so Sandvik’s tubes meet strict safety guidelines. The long tubes eliminate the need for conventional fittings, such as cone and thread connections or welding, which normally connect shorter tubes. Removing these connections helps reduce the risk of leakage and station shutdowns.
In addition to hydrogen transport infrastructure, materials technology is also central to fuel cell development. The Sandvik Sanergy product platform consists of a coated strip for a critical fuel cell stack component. The strip is ready to be pressed to bipolar fuel cell plates, eliminating the costly need for individual plate coating. Today Sandvik has a unique, large-scale production facility in Sandviken, Sweden, and is ready for fuel cell technology to take off.
As we move away from petrol and diesel, many automakers are entering new territory. While BEV technology is well underway, it’s important to recognise that other sustainable options may better suit certain automotive requirements. Hydrogen fuel cells remain a working progress, but ongoing investment and their clear potential make hydrogen a strong contender for the industry’s greener future.
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