Issue 107 March - April 2015

Please note: The issue content below is just a summary of the articles in the printed magazine.
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Industry training that works

When New Zealand Apprenticeships replaced the Modern Apprentice programme on January 1 last year, the government set higher achievement targets for the apprenticeship system and provided increased support to apprentices irrespective of age.

New Zealand Apprentices now have to work towards a minimum of a Level 4 National Certificate and, to comply with the new rules and a new apprenticeship code currently being drafted, they have to be employed and be better supported by their ITO.

The Electrical Training Company (etco) chief executive, Peter Rushworth, says competency-based electrical training is all about learning through working so the new changes are a very comfortable fit with the training model developed by etco over its 24 years of operation.

Are all the changes needed?

If a government wants to regulate a dangerous activity by mandating safety measures, one option is to mandate a safe outcome and let anybody do it so long as it is safe, and another way is to restrict the activity to only people who are competent to do the work safely.

The electrical legislation uses both approaches: it mandates electrical safety in all electrical work and limits it to being carried out by people deemed to be competent by the Electrical Workers Registration Board (EWRB). The board is appointed by the MBIE minister who tasks the board with developing and running the registration system to ensure the public is safe from harm caused by unsafe electrical work.

The EWRB has now determined that the best way it can run the registration system to protect the public is to dump it and replace it with a licensing-only regime. The board is now consulting registered people and seeking their support to get rid of their registration.

Supreme Court widens claw-back defence

If you’ve ever been hauled before the courts by a liquidator and ordered to pay back money for a job well done simply because the business that hired you later became insolvent, then you’ll be familiar with the ‘voidable transaction’ provisions within New Zealand’s Companies Act.

The fact that you completed the work to a good standard and received payment for it up to two years before the company went into liquidation is of little consequence.

Voidable transactions or ‘claw-backs’ are a risk contractors and sub-contractors have to live with. Liquidators have the legal right to pursue creditors through the courts in relation to payments made in a period of up to two years prior to a company being placed into liquidation or a liquidation application being made.

All eyes on machine vision

Relying on human input for repetitive tasks in a production process might seem an easier and less expensive alternative to an automated solution but what impact is this having on your productivity and what is your exposure to risk?

It is widely accepted that detecting problems as early as possible in a production process reduces the cost of quality control, prevents mistakes from reaching customers and reduces the potential for costly product recalls and reputational damage to your brand.

The most effective method of eliminating human error in manufacturing is to remove people from the process.

While this is standard industry practice in large-volume manufacturing, the capital and engineering costs associated with automation is often a roadblock for small and medium sized manufacturers and OEMs.

New CRI proving elusive

It has long been recognised that the Colour Rendering Index (CRI) matrix developed 50 years ago to determine the accuracy of a light source’s rendition of colour has outlived its usefulness, but efforts to develop a globally acceptable alternative have been largely unsuccessful.

The Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES), the International Commission on Illumination (CIE) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) all acknowledge that the CRI index has significant shortcomings that limit its ability to fully represent how we perceive colour.

These shortcomings have become increasingly intolerable with the widespread adoption of solid state lighting for task and general lighting applications. This is because the colour rendering characteristics of LED light sources cannot be effectively indicated using a single value.

LED road lighting advances continue to outpace standards

A visiting US road lighting professional says road lighting design standards are slowing the evolution of new road lighting technologies and that has to change in the interests of saving lives on New Zealand roads.

A keynote speaker at the Road Lighting 2015 conference, Dr John Milton, the director of enterprise risk and safety management for the Washington State Department of Transportation, told conference delegates that road lighting professionals need to challenge long-standing presumptions about road lighting design.

Dr Milton says the energy, cost-efficiency, flexibility and greater visibility that LED road lighting delivers makes it a very beneficial technology, but says the performance standards to optimise the use of LED technology have not yet been researched and developed.