Our apprentices have been literally moving through the gears to learn the tricks of the trade at Scunthorpe’s Basic Oxygen Steelmaking (BOS) plant.
With the gearbox that drives the plant’s casting car needing refurbishment, a learning opportunity arose to help both the apprentices with their development while putting in place future supporting expertise for this part of the business.
BOS apprentices, Max Frear and Thomas Boyd, were asked to join in on the project to expand their knowledge of engineering. First, they were involved with the removal of the gearbox from the casting car frame while working alongside the BOS maintenance team.
The gearbox was then sent to Radicon at Elland, near Huddersfield, to be stripped, inspected and rebuilt.
Next, the pair paid two visits to the gearbox specialists to further understand how a large helical drive gearbox works and to understand how to refurbish and repair it.
In the first visit they learned how to strip out the gearbox and remove the couplings from the output shaft assemblies and in the second they checked components and how to identify fractures and imperfections to establish the amount of work required to re-build the gearbox to the manufacturer’s specifications.
In addition to investing in the training and development of our apprentices, the value of such an exercise is such that we can nurture the expertise needed to help carry out maintenance in-house.
Craig Ebbatson, BOS Plant Engineer, said: “I initially set this exercise up to develop a level of understanding for the apprentices which was not achievable on-site. This will benefit us immensely going forward and was a great opportunity for us to work more closely with Radicon and develop our apprentices’ skills and knowledge.”
Max, a third year mechanical engineering apprentice, said: “I really enjoyed the opportunity to spend time with the guys at Radicon who passed on their knowledge about the gearbox. It was good to see what happens to it when it leaves our site.”