Holcim cement equipment donated to Ara

News News & events

28 Jun 2016

Holcim Engineering Manager Pat O'Shea first studied trades at CPIT (now Ara) and returned five years ago to complete his electrical inspectors' course. Last week he was back at the Ara Woolston Campus with a load of equipment that current students will dismantle and reassemble to enhance their training.

The equipment is from the recently de-commissioned Holcim cement factory in Westport. The 500,000 tonnes of raw cement produced at the site to make ready mixed concrete will now be sourced from overseas, after 58 years of operation.


Caption: (from left) Pat O'Shea - Holcim (New Zealand) Ltd Engineering Manager, Ross Pickworth – General Manager Cement Supply Chain & Operations and Dennis Taylor - Head of Department Ara Trades.

Used equipment from the plant will be put to good use at Ara. The electrical trades department has inherited 10 programmable logic controllers (PLC), an industry digital computer used for automation of typically industrial electromechanical processes, such as the control of machinery on factory assembly lines, or light fixtures in domestic houses.

Other equipment includes 12 Allen Bradley power flex VSD (Variable-Speed Drives) also known as adjustable-frequency drives, variable-frequency drives, AC drives, micro drives or inverter drives. These are a type of adjustable-speed drive used in electro-mechanical drive systems to control AC motor speed and torque by varying motor input frequency and voltage. In other words, they are used to control the speed of machinery. Many industrial processes such as assembly lines must operate at different speeds for different products. Where process conditions demand adjustment of flow from a pump or fan, varying the speed of the drive may save energy compared with other techniques for flow control.

Finally the department has also gained eight level sensors, which are used as part of process control in many industries. In general, the type of application of level sensors are as a high alarm, signalling an overfill condition, or as a marker for a low alarm condition. The level sensors we were donated are a continuous level sensors which are more sophisticated and can provide level monitoring of an entire system.

"We are really grateful for this donation and the students will make good use of it all," Manager of Electrical & Plumbing at Ara Trades Stephen Price said.