New state-of-the-art training facility


Students get a taste of latest technology from 600 Machine Tools

The Riverina Institute in southwest NSW has been transformed into a state-of-the-art engineering facility for students of all ages – thanks to a NSW grant and a little help from leading supplier 600 Machine Tools.

The new workshops, based in Wagga Wagga, now feature the latest technology to complement the knowledge and experience of the teaching staff.

This has enabled teenage students – already at work in industry – to learn, update, or expand their skill-set.

Speaking at the official opening of the new facility, the Head Teacher of Engineering and Vehicle Trades, Graham O’Brien, said: “Riverina has had a workshop for teaching engineering skills since 1938, and its facilities have been updated progressively over the years.”

“Two years ago, the Institute applied to the state government for a grant to fund a major expansion, including a new building that was to be purpose-built from scratch. Not only did this project require additional machines, but also the transfer of many existing units.”

The outstanding efforts of staff and suppliers were rewarded in August this year with the opening of a facility that is the equal of any engineering training school anywhere in Australia, Mr O’Brien said.

A selection of machines from the old building, along with ancillary equipment, has been
installed in the new facility.

This includes a horizontal borer, five mills, and a CNC-controlled Colchester-Harrison Alpha lathe.

The sturdy Alpha was purchased from Sydney-based 600 Machine Tools, part of the
British-owned 600 Group.

When it came to researching the machines available in the marketplace, Riverina studied suppliers from China, Taiwan, Germany, and England, including the offering of 600 Machine Tools.

The 600 Group’s machines are noted for their high build-quality, accuracy, reliability,
excellent L10 (expected) life, and value for money.

In Australia, 600 Machine Tools has established a reputation with company owners and workshop managers for the quality of its machines, and its exemplary service and training programs.

Riverina’s selection process took into account more than just price/performance ratio.

“Given the demands placed on all of the machines in the workshops, we took into consideration a number of important issues, Mr O’Brien said. “The history and reputation of the company, our previous experience with its products, and the ability to supply, install, commission, service, and support. With specific models, we went into factories to see installed machines and hear about their performance, and asked owners about such factors as reliability, safety, and ease of use.”

When the orders were placed, 600 Machine Tools was invited to provide two Lagan FU130-TV4 mills and 12 Colchester-Harrison Triumph VS2500 lathes, fully equipped with tool-changers and other important “bells and whistles.”

The Colchester Triumph VS2500 is “the world’s best-known centre lathe.”

Mr O’Brien explained that, like their predecessors, the new machines would be in continuous use by apprentices – some as young as 15 – and tradesmen and operators of all ages from industrial companies the length and breadth of NSW.

“Our courses are flexible and, for example, employers are able to select specific modules – units of competence – that are compiled into a course that delivers skills appropriate for a fitter and turner or a full-time machinist, Mr O’Brien said.

The facility will offer high-quality trade and post trade training in fitting and machining, CNC machining, CAD, hydraulics, and pneumatics.

The machines have been installed and commissioned, together with CNC controllers, by 600 applications engineers from the company’s Seven Hills branch in western Sydney.

The Managing director of 600 Machine Tools, Sydney-based Cliff Purser, said the importance of this project should not be underestimated.

The Institute demonstrated the increasing co-operation of the educational sector with the captains of industry throughout NSW.

“The skills of the workforce can determine the health of industrial segment and, in turn, the capabilities of the companies in that segment to serve the needs of industry as a
whole,” Mr Purser said.

The combination of Constant Surface Speed and the electronically-variable spindle drive gave the Triumph VS2500 a cutting performance better than rival CNC lathes.

“Precision, power, and durability – together with a host of innovative features are built-in – to give years of lasting performance from this sturdy machine, Mr Purser said.

“For teachers and pupils at the Riverina Institute in Wagga Wagga and other Australian trade schools and educational establishments, the tough Triumph lathe is recognised as being unequalled in its class.”

600 Machine Tools
Ph: 02 9674 4738