19.09.2018 | Joel Flepp in 4th place at SwissSkills

At the sound of the whistle

Bolting, tinkering and programming – under lots of time pressure. The 19-year old automation technician apprentice at Axpo Hydro Surselva has just completed a marathon: In four days at the SwissSkills Championship he solved various problems put forth by the umbrella association Swissmem. Of the 66 automation technicians that participated he and his team colleague Dominic Cadruvi from Hamilton Bonaduz AG achieved an excellent 4th place.

Two minutes feel like an eternity. Joel waits with anticipation behind the grey line for the starting whistle. He has been working here in Hall 2.0 at Bernexpo for four days. Ready, set, go: A man in blue, a Swissmem representative, blows the starting whistle and the clock starts ticking. Now Joel and Dominic can go to their tables and start working.

Clean desk

There is a laptop on each table. Dominic starts working on the hardware, a metal and wire tower. Joel has a nearly clean desk save for his laptop and a sheet of paper. He doesn't need more to programme the software. They will have to work closely this afternoon to build a functioning sys-tem in the allotted time of three hours according to the Swissmem specifications. 

Challenging task

The two apprentices have been working on the construction and programming of this system for two days. Today, three additional, challenging hours lie ahead of them. There's a whole lot of brain power in this device: It can heave various parts onto a conveyor belt, and scan these according to their form and colour. Depending on the polarity, the machine can put a lid on the round forms and place them in three different chutes.

The machine built by Joel and Dominic is evaluated by the Swissmem guys.
Race against the clock

Ultimately, the machine not only has to sort the forms correctly. Joel and Dominic have to be as fast as possible in programming and building the device. If they complete the work before the three hours are up they get extra points. The two 19-year olds are the second team to finish their work some ten minutes ahead of the deadline. Now it's up to the blue Swissmem guys. They decide how many points Joel and Dominic will get for their device. They meticulously inspect every detail, every function and wire. In the end it’s a relief: Save for one small error everything is correct.

Apprenticeships at Axpo

In addition to the automation technician apprenticeship, Axpo offers other exciting apprenticeships at various locations for IT Specialists, Polymechanics, Cooks, Construction Insulators, Electrical Planners, etc.

You will find more information about apprenticeships at Axpo on the Website.

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