Measurement technology seminars — engaging the next generation
As a German chemistry professor called Hans-Jürgen Quadbeck-Seeger once said: "Theory and practice are partners, but not always friends." With a view to bringing these two opposites closer together, the Rapperswil-Jona Vocational and Advanced Training Centre organises regular measurement technology seminars together with Brütsch/Rüegger Tools.
For over six years, students of technical professions have benefited from practical events where they can come face to face with the tools and measuring equipment presented. In addition to the basic "Measurement technology" seminar, various advanced seminars are offered at the end of the apprentices' second year, each focusing on a specific topic.
Marcel Tschan and Phillip Stengele, Technical Consultants at Brütsch/Rüegger Tools with extensive teaching experience, provide learners in the basic seminars with a fascinating overview, ranging from the origins of measurement technology and calibration systems, to the latest current technology. Their teaching approach leans heavily towards the practical, raising their students' awareness of the topics that will be relevant in their day-to-day work as apprentices. This includes learning how to use calipers, gauges and external micrometers.
An establishment where technology matters
The Rapperswil-Jona Vocational and Advanced Training Centre provides basic training to students on behalf of the Canton of St. Gallen. In addition to their apprenticeships, the 180 to 200 students attending the Vocational and Advanced Training Centre complete the theoretical training section of a vocational training course, a bridging year of study, a vocational school leaving certificate or an information technology schoo leaving certificate. The technical professions on offer include polymechanic, designer, plastics technologist, plastics processing engineer and draughtsperson specialising in architecture. The centre was established in 2002 following a merger of the Commercial Vocational School and the Business School KV Rapperswil and also offers various further education courses.
Measuring means comparing
Every day we come across measurements in metres. But how long is a metre? The original metre—defined in 1793—corresponds to one ten-millionth of the Earth's quadrant on the Paris meridian or in other words, the path from the North Pole to the equator via Paris. According to Marcel Tschan, "We start from the very beginning in the basic seminar and explain that measuring always involves comparing". The yard is the simplest example: in 1101 AD, King Henry I of England defined the yard as 91 centimetres, which was the length from the tip of his nose to his outstretched thumb.
The fact that (almost) everyone uses the same measure of length today is regarded as an achievement. There were over 800 official measures of length in the 18th century, for example. At the same time, however, the seminar also covers topical examples such as the error that occurred during construction of the Hochrhein Bridge, when the use of two different elevation references led architects astray. The International System of Units (Système international d'Unités, SI) and its seven basic physical units are also discussed, of course.
Traceability: the backbone of measurement technology
Traceability is just as important as units. Students may already know from their experiences in the workplace that references such as gauge block sets are used to ensure that caliper gauges measure correctly. "We familiarise students with the architecture of metrology and the links that exist with their everyday working life", adds Phillip Stengele.
And the two seminar leaders segue seamlessly to the official reference point for calibration laboratories in Berne: the Institute fédéral de métrology (METAS). But they also discuss everyday life outside the workplace; test labels guarantee traceability in all settings, regardless of whether we see them on a set of scales for weighing vegetables in a corner shop, in a petrol station or on a wine glass.
Finally, the students learn about calibration laboratories and their central role in metrology. Brütsch/Rüegger Tools is well known for the collaboration it has established in this area with several accredited partners, such as Metron Measurement SA. This provides customers with a convenient option for outsourcing the calibration of their measuring devices.
Partnership with Brütsch/Rüegger Tools
The Rapperswil-Jona Vocational and Advanced Training Centre builds partnerships with leading companies in the sector with a view to achieving the perfect combination of theory and practice. When it comes to the popular measurement technology seminars and teaching, Brütsch/Rüegger Tools provides sets specifically designed for training purposes, with cutting-edge tools and measuring equipment including shadow boards.
According to Urs Schönbächler, Head of Mechanical Engineering at the Rapperswil-Jona Vocational and Advanced Training Centre: "In future, we will also import measuring equipment data and tool data using QR codes as part of digitisation projects and use them for virtual exercises". The aim? To allow students to experience how much productivity can be optimised by reconciling production and measurement data in a digitised shopfloor environment. "Measurement as a route to success" is not just a key pillar of Industry 4.0 — it is also supremely relevant. In short, the measurement technology seminars are a great way to get people involved — both the talent of the future and the current industry players.