Developing young engineers

Developing young engineers

Jendamark supports the Incubating Great Engineering Minds (iGEMS) programme, which is fostering a new generation of engineers ready to meet the demands of a tech-driven world.

Run under the auspices of the Unity in Africa Foundation, iGEMS is an education-to-employment initiative that aims to develop employable, passionate and skilled engineers, and also place work-ready graduates into the marketplace.

With artificial intelligence and robotics already prevalent in industry, the foundation believes the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) will require a niche set of graduates who are familiar with the demands of the world of work.

According to Jendamark’s apprentice co-ordinator Allan Bellairs, the company has been involved with iGEMS since 2016 and sees great value in the multi-layered approach to youth development and creating a talent pipeline.

“For us it’s about both skills development and socioeconomic development. It helps to fulfil our commitment to community engagement, while also assisting in the development of work-ready professional engineering graduates.”

The programme introduces the youth in Jendamark’s hometown of Nelson Mandela Bay to the technological revolution through annual coding and programming workshops. Weekly maths, science and leadership development sessions round out the supportive, holistic approach to education.

Aside from financial support for iGEMS, Jendamark also acts as a host company, facilitating site visits for participants, and absorbing one or two learners annually for a year of experiential learning and mentorship. This acts as a working “gap year” for learners who have successfully completed
Grade 12 before embarking on their tertiary studies.

“The student becomes a full-time employee at Jendamark for one year, experiencing the world of work, especially in relation to an engineering career such as electronics or robotics,” says Bellairs.

He says the year of work assists in making the transition to university easier as it links practical and theoretical knowledge, and creates a working relationship between student and industry.

“It really allows students the opportunity to change their interest in engineering into an absolute passion!”

Room for growth

Room for growth

Jendamark South Africa’s new tech centre is an exciting space for collaborating with customers and forging new paths on the digital transformation journey.

“As the ecosystem of digital products and services grows, we can now showcase the different offerings, as well as our partners’ technologies, while finding new ways of solving some of the toughest challenges on the production line,” says Jendamark’s manager for digital strategy and transformation, Juane Schutte.

“We have defined Industry 4.0 not as a bunch of technologies, but as a new way of collaborating in an ecosystem that works together seamlessly to provide value to our stakeholders and customers,” says Schutte.

Some of the technologies that customers can look forward to experiencing first-hand include the:

  • Odin data platform – WorkStation (operator guidance system), LineWatch (real-time production dashboard) and mobile apps (end-of-line quality inspection).
  • Integrated hardware – Odin smart watch, wireless bolting tools, augmented reality glasses, infrared sensors for hand and tool tracking, scanners and cameras.
  • Virtual reality
    – production line simulation to ensure design optimisation;
    – operator training using digital worker guidance;
    – development and simulation by gaming developers.
  • 3D printing – printing parts for testing, new part development and prototyping.

Schutte says the tech centre also includes a giant screen for demonstrating the various capabilities to visiting groups and customers.

“It is exciting to be able to show the many practical applications for digital technologies throughout an organisation. We can help customers to improve efficiencies for operators, HR personnel, production
managers, process engineers, data scientists and more.”

So far, Jendamark has hosted visitors from all strata, including students, CEOs and government officials.

“Everyone who enters the room gains a practical understanding of how Industry 4.0 is impacting manufacturing and the future of work,” explains Schutte.

“The feedback has been phenomenal. We think this is because real collaboration has been missing between businesses and stakeholders. We find that, after visiting our tech centre, our potential customers want to bring their own children to learn and open their eyes to the ways in which the future of work will be impacted.

“We look forward to not only showcasing our tech, but also enabling eager learners to get involved and build new solutions together. Technology should not be a stumbling block but rather a great enabler for future growth.”

India’s fresh outlook

India’s fresh outlook

Making the move from machine builder to technology company has been a natural progression for the newly rebranded Jendamark India – and one that will have huge implications for its global customers.

That’s the message from Himanshu Jadhav, who has taken the helm as chief executive offi cer and director of the new-look entity, previously known as Jendamark Techcellency.

By aligning more closely with Jendamark’s international head office in South Africa, Jadhav says, Jendamark India will be able to bring the latest solutions and technological advancements to its Asian customers.

“We are looking to move towards value creation for our customers by bringing new systems, new innovations and something new which does not exist in the current market.

“Previously, India was focused only on manufacturing. With access to this broader global offering, operating with the same vision and focus as Jendamark SA just makes much more sense.

“With this restructuring, we have re-aligned our business to focus more on automation and Industry 4.0-driven digital technology.”

Jadhav makes it clear that the Pune and Port Elizabeth plants will continue to operate in a unified manner, combining their strengths to deliver turnkey assembly facilities, but that Jendamark India’s particular understanding of the local manufacturing sector will allow it to make a unique contribution on the subcontinent.

“We will introduce our special blend and way of doing things, and gradually take more responsibility in shared customer projects. There is a lot to share and learn between the companies,” he says.

As far as the implications for customers are concerned, Jadhav says he believes they will be the biggest
beneficiaries of this positive development.

“There will be investments made in the near future in specific areas for technological advancements.
Knowledge transfer will be smoother, with our research and development team working on specific solutions needed by Indian customers,” he says.

Jendamark Automation’s operations director Siegfried Lokotsch remains in his role as chairman of the board of Jendamark India.

“The Jendamark name has always represented the highest standards in automation technology and service to the global automotive industry. We are proud of the tremendous strides Jendamark India has made since the start of our association five years ago and we are excited to continue growing in service of the booming Indian manufacturing sector,” adds Lokotsch.

Investing in the future

Investing in the future

Thinking about the future – and the possibilities that technology can unlock – is integral to Jendamark’s business success. Which is why the Group has invested in innovative start-up Closed-Loop Learner Network (CLN).

While the Fourth Industrial Revolution holds the promise of rapid economic development for Africa, it cannot succeed when millions of children have no access to a decent education or online resources. This is the problem that CLN sets out to solve with its Omang digital device.

Meaning “identity” in Setswana, Omang aims to give under-privileged youngsters a digital identity. It is a tablet that is sponsored by various corporate partners and pre-loaded with connectivity, CAPS curriculum-approved textbooks, white-listed online resources, tutorials and exam papers for Grades 10 to 12 learners.

Omang has been piloted among a thousand children in no-fee schools in the Free State and, with the endorsement of the provincial education department, that number is expected to grow to 20,000 by the end of the 2019 academic year.

CLN’s stated ambition is to place a fully resourced tablet in the hands of one million of the poorest pupils within the next five years.

“There are at least eight million children in under-resourced schools who have no teacher to inspire them, no access to a bigger world, no hope that there is something for them beyond mere survival,” says Jendamark sales and design director Yanesh Naidoo.

“That’s the reason we first started looking into Omang, as a way to open up their worlds and their minds.”

South Africa currently ranks a paltry 54 out of 63 global economies in the category of education and training, according to the latest IMD World Digital Competitiveness Rankings.

Naidoo says Jendamark converged with the technology-driven CLN on a number of fronts, ultimately leading to a 41% stake in the social entrepreneurial start-up.

“We are excited about this long-term partnership and we’re bringing our Odin software platform into the mix, which will provide the API for third-party app development.”

Such apps, he explains, could be used to teach additional life skills, such as financial literacy, while creating branding and interaction opportunities for corporate sponsors.

CLN founder Ajit Gopalakrishnan says the goal is to become “the Facebook of education” and to collect data to gain in-depth insight into the next generation in order to equip them for the future.

“It’s about seeing the human potential – and the business opportunity – in including the masses in the economic equation,” he says.

For Jendamark managing director Quinton Uren, however, the mission is a lot more personal. As a historically disadvantaged person, he says he knows how important it is to give children the tools to explore and dream and to see beyond their limiting reality.

“What we’ve been searching for at Jendamark is how to give back effectively. When Ajit presented this programme, I just knew: this rang true. We can digitise and give millions of children hope. This can be a real game-changer.”

Uren says the aim is not to repair South Africa’s underperforming education system, but to leapfrog it.

“Industry 4.0 is the perfect platform to achieve this. With this paperless tablet device, we can really change lives and the future of our country.”

Industry 4.0: Virtual reality

Industry 4.0: Virtual reality

Jendamark’s virtual reality room allows designers and customers to explore the possibilities of a new production line in three-dimensional reality via an interactive, computergenerated experience.

The introduction of virtual reality (VR) has had tangible, real world benefits for Jendamark customers by enhancing the design review process.

First, the design team makes the complete production line in VR and a member dons the glasses for a walkthrough of the line. This simple step often highlights potential flaws that would not be apparent during a normal design review.

“It’s about seeing the design with fresh eyes,” says Yanesh Naidoo.

“For example, from a maintenance perspective, can the motor be easily replaced or is it stuck underneath in an unreachable back corner? And, as the operator, can one easily reach all the components, and does it really take the time predicted?”

Naidoo says VR is ideal for ironing out any kinks before the design is handed over to manufacturing and for clients to get a better understanding of its workings before sign-off.

“While the line is in production, VR could also be used to train teams of operators on the virtual version, so that they are ready to hit the ground running when commissioning is complete.”

Industry 4.0: Internet of Things

Industry 4.0: Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) describes a network of machines, devices and other items that have built-in connectivity, electronics, software or sensors that allow them to share data and improve efficiency for humans interacting with them.

While the idea of a “smart home” or “smart business” may seem far in the future, current estimates suggest that there could be around 30 billion connected devices worldwide by 2020.

For Jendamark, the first application of IoT principles will soon be demonstrated with the addition of a documentation app* to its Odin software platform.

According to Yanesh Naidoo, it is standard practice for the company to deliver all the printed manuals and necessary documentation for a new machine or line as part of the handover process to a customer. Unfortunately, those documents are often misplaced over the years and remain unread until something goes wrong, he says.

“Our solution is to place a 2D matrix or QR code on the main sub-assembly of every machine we make. Then, instead of trying to find the manual, the maintenance technician simply scans the code using the app, which will take him to a link with the correct documentation for that particular sub-assembly.”

Taking this one step further, the IoT could be used to collect data such as the part numbers on a customer’s machine as well as the replacement parts available in his or her storeroom. This information would be available at a glance via the app, thus reducing machine downtime while fixing the problem.

* Currently in development. Available soon for Android devices from the Google Play store.