Technology solutions provider Siemens donated a digital wall, featuring the group’s latest-generation mineral processing system hardware and software, to the Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) Engineering Skills Training Centre (ESTC), in Randfontein, Gauteng, last month.
The centre was established in 1984 and provides engineering skills training for employees, including learnerships, apprenticeships and artisan short courses, as well as foremen development, planned maintenance and other specialised short courses.
Siemens provided the automation equipment and industrial networks to assist the ESTC in terms of fieldbus networks training and refreshers for their employees as well as those of other mining companies. It is meant to expose trainees to Siemens’ automation portfolio, while providing a platform for process control and automation training and optimisation.
The company notes that one of the pillars of digitalisation is industrial networks and security and it is crucial that engineers understand the role of this technology in the future of mining.
“As a leader in automation, we are continuously expanding our leadership role in industrial digitalisation. There is an opportunity, especially in Africa, to embrace new and exponential technologies combined with human talent to accelerate industrialisation and drive economic growth,” explained Siemens Southern and Eastern Africa CEO Sabine Dall’Omo.
“We are proud to be supporting Amplats to advance skills and opportunities in Africa.”
Amplats processing executive head Gary Humphries expressed his appreciation that Siemens had completed yet another skills project at the ESTC.
In his address, Humphries said: “Siemens and Amplats have been in partnership since 2010 and we have seen . . . 300 artisans successfully trained and qualified at this centre.”
He stated that the vital contribution by Siemens to ESTC would significantly contribute towards the development of the miner’s human resource capabilities, specifically of its artisans, and would help broaden the thinking of the students to explore new career capabilities.
“We celebrate the handover of the Siemens Simatic Wall and look forward to the role it will play in training the current and next generation of skilled artisans,” Humphries added.
In a statement released after the event, Siemens noted that it was ramping up its commitment to the region to meet customers’ needs, expanding its portfolio for digital enterprises, and supporting customers in process industries with digitalisation, customisation and efficiency improvements.
Dall’Omo added that the company had also reaffirmed its commitment to investing in future generations by assisting with programmes that equipped trainees with “the right skills”.
Digitalisation is one of the most debated topics influencing innovation, specifically because of its anticipated impact on the future of employment.
“Digitalisation cannot be imposed on Africa and a one-size-fits-all strategy will fit very few African countries. In order to ensure digital adoption across the different countries, business needs to solve for a specific need, and not only optimise digital business performance,” noted Siemens process industries and drive division CEO Dr Jurgen Brandes.
Brandes, who attended the Simatic Wall ceremony, believes that the greatest challenge in digitalising Africa lies in effective integration and collaboration between stakeholders.
“There is a clear requirement for integration between government, regulators, society, local ‘family’ businesses, large international organisations and the public sector,” he said.