As part of WorldSkills 2013 held in Leipzig, Germany, a demonstration competition for Water Technology took place in the centre of Hall 4. The Demonstration Skills Competition “Specialist in Water Technology” falls under the patronage of the DWA (German Association for Water, Wastewater and Waste). This new discipline will contribute to promoting vocational training and education in a field that presents major challenges around the world: the provision of a stable and sustainable water supply.
When one considers that, according to the WHO, 900 million people in the world lack access to drinking water, skills in water management are becoming increasingly important globally. Furthermore, wastewater plants are responsible for up to 30% of municipal power consumption. These are only a few facts which concern specialists from all over the world. Therefore, solutions have to be developed for the future of our global water supply.
In this new demonstration skill, “Specialist in Water Technology”, 16 teams from Germany competed to solve problems using the new EDS® Water Management modular learning system. The system was developed in conjunction with Festo Didactic South Africa as part of the GIZ/Festo water training project, which is being piloted in South Africa. “It represents the core processes of a water and wastewater treatment plant in the form of a water cycle from source to wastewater treatment plant and back. It is a modular learning system developed to teach students about water supply and wastewater treatment,” explains Horst Weinert, Festo Didactic Manager (South Africa).
The EDS® Water Management system is equipped with industrial components and simulates the core processes of water and waste water plants, e.g. Iron flocculation, chlorine dosage and measurement, sedimentation, drain control, aeration and a lot more. Thanks to its industry-oriented design, the EDS® Water Management system makes it possible to explore the principles behind the collection, extraction, transport and treatment of water and wastewater. It also offers measurement, open-loop control and closed-loop control technology. Changes in one area can affect the whole system. Most of the EDS® components are the same as their real-life equivalents. Competitors, therefore, needed to understand the system as a whole. EDS® is designed so that a certain amount of dirt is automatically added, which must behave in the same way as sludge particles and be fed back into the process after appropriate drying.
The system is sub-divided into four stations, each of which can be operated independently. Individual stations are designed as portable tabletop models. Associations, local municipalities and schools around the world can use the EDS® to train people in planning both simple and complex projects in the field of water management, as well as maintain and optimise the operation of water provision and treatment plants.
The partnership between Festo, GIZ (The German Agency for International Co-operation), the technical division of the BMZ (The German Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development), the University of Stuttgart, the University of Pretoria and The Water Academy are an example of international co-operation. This can be seen in the way the group adapts state-of-the-art water treatment technology to the South African environment. “South Africa is a unique contrast of first- and third-world, so we have access to first-world knowledge and third-world applicability, which makes it a great place to test a prototype, and to test whether German technology can work in a developing country,” says Weinert. “After the concept is proven, Festo Didactic will develop hands-on training equipment and material based on the exchange of views, insights and information collected by this initiative, and use it in training technicians and educators in the water industry,” he explains.
The EDS® allows students from Universities, Vocational Schools and employees of water and waste water companies about water purification, water supply, waste water transport, waste water treatment and energy optimisation. “We are working towards making this “Specialist in Water Technology” a new skill at the next Worldskills competition in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 2015. As the EDS® was developed in South Africa, we hope to send a winning team to compete in Brazil” concludes Weinert.
Festo Didactic in Brief
Festo Didactic is the world-leading equipment and solution provider for industrial education.We design and implement learning laboratories, educational equipment and programs that train people to perform in highly dynamic and complex industrial environments. Our goal is to maximise the learning success in educational institutions and industrial companies around the globe.
WorldSkills at a glance
The concept for WorldSkills as a platform for vocational studies was conceived in response to a need for skilled workers. The first National Competition took place in Spain in 1947, with the participation of around 4,000 apprentices from a dozen mechanical trades. Due to similarities in language, history and culture, contacts were made with Latin American countries to set up a joint International Competition. In 1950, the first Iberian Competition took place with the participation of 12 young skilled workers from Portugal and Spain. At Spain's invitation, teams from Germany, Great Britain, France, Morocco and Switzerland took part for the first time in 1953. For more information about WorldSkills, log onto www.worldskills.org.
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