26.06.2018 | Competent upgrade at the Beznau substation

Just ask the Axpo apprentices

Ralf Bredanger works as a vocational trainer at the learning workshop in Döttingen. He and his first and second-year apprentices regularly handle special jobs for customers, as was the case last year. The outcome was a fast, flawless upgrade of the Beznau substation and a very satisfied customer.

Axpo currently employs 48 apprentices. Eight automation technician apprentices work at the internal learning workshop in Döttingen under the direction of Ralf Bredanger. Here they learn everything there is know about their professions during the first and second years of their apprenticeships. One will find them busily soldering, wiring controls, drawing electrical plans with the CAD system, as well as handling pneumatic and electro-pneumatic tasks. In addition, they practice measurement and sensor technology methods, driving technology and learn to programme PLCs. "Practice makes perfect," says Ralf.

After this intensive, basic training, the apprentices in the third and fourth years are ready to support their colleagues in the power plant departments. The fact that our apprentices regularly belong to the best in their classes at the final exams is not surprising.

Ralf is always looking for meaningful projects for his apprentices. "It's a great motivation factor for our young professionals when the parts they made are really used instead of being discarded," he says. Customer orders are part of the training plan at the learning workshop. The 50-kV and 380-kV systems at Beznau, as well as the Birr, Oftringen and Wittenwil substations have used services from the learning workshop in the past. "When the quality is right, the customers are satisfied," Ralf knows.

Ralf Bredanger, Equ. manager apprentices, vocational trainer
Electricity, switches and control cabinets

Tobias Lederer, Specialist for Secondary Systems, was assigned the project of retrofitting old control cabinets. Control cabinets play an important role in power distribution. They provide information on whether a switch over actually took place and whether the electricity was transmitted. Older cabinet models are equipped with circuit boards. These are used for mechanical mounting and the electrical connection. More modern versions now only have a plug and are much more compact. This small difference often results in complex conversion work.

Making it fit

Tobias was looking for an adapter for the units in order to connect the old plug-ins to the new control cabinets with a cable and an adapter. This solution would make it unnecessary to build new units.
Tobias knew that Ralf and his apprentices had a good reputation. He came up with the idea of having the learning workshop carry out the job for him. Over several weeks, the apprentices built 800 plug-adapters in series production.

The project was a win-win situation. Normally an equipment upgrade requires a great deal of time because the plants have to be shut down for long periods. Thanks to the competent work performed by Ralf and his apprentices the process was carried out very quickly.

Ralf looks back at the project enthusiastically. He's very proud of his apprentices. "I’m pleased that we can always offer our apprentices and our customers good work. We are very much appreciated." Tobias was also impressed: "Working together with the learning workshop was uncomplicated and they were extremely dependable." With such good feedback, the next project is surely just around the corner.

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