The AMRC Training Centre’s Apprentice of the Year — Shivan Morkar — was recently able to visit Siemens’ Industry 4.0 Smart Factory in Germany (www.siemens.com
) as his prize for winning the coveted title.
The Bradford-born 21-year-old is an apprentice manufacturing engineer at Leeds-based William Cook Rail, and he has completed the first year of his degree apprenticeship.
He said: “I was told that the automation was the big thing about the Siemens factory, so that is what I was looking forward to seeing the most.
Pretty much all factories in the UK have some aspect of automation, and I wanted to see what made Siemens so special — my mind was blown!”
Shivan was accompanied on the visit by Alan Norbury, Siemens Digital Industries chief technologist, who inspired the young apprentice to think about how to apply what he saw when he returned home.
Shivan explained: “Alan said that the Siemens software they use allows a computer to simulate how a machine would run and how it could do certain jobs.
“Any company working with the AMRC would have free access to the software, as part of Siemens’ Tier One membership status.
"It means you can see the improvements to make before you have to spend the money in the real world. It was one of the things I suggested at work to see if we could implement it in some way.
“They were really up for the idea and will be looking into it soon.”
“In our factory at William Cook Rail, we use fork-lifts and pallet trucks to move components from one area of the factory to another, but Siemens had electronic conveyors, so a component would come off a machine, go down into the basement and come up somewhere else — close to the next machine.
“I didn’t expect that; it was really impressive.”