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Industrial Engineering

Ergonomic Analysis of the Rolling Stock Maintenance Environment​

Ineffective and inefficient tooling, equipment and workstations have a significant impact on the time required to perform a task. By saving time, money can also be saved. In second semester a research project was launched to analyse and identify ergonomic improvements in the Rolling Stock division of Metrorail. During December 2014 ergonomic observations in five of the workshops at the Salt River Metrorail depot took place. They were the small component workshop, the large component workshop (rotating machine shop), the Scheduled Maintenance Workshop and both workshops of the Reliability shop (MC and PT lifting). This was done in order to conduct an operational analysis, to suggest improvements and where possible, conduct a cost/benefit investigation of the suggested improvements. A final report was compiled and submitted to PRASA for their consideration.​

The Establishment of Labour Standards within Rolling Stock ​

Labour standards are established by conduction job observations and time studies in order to establish standard times. The first set of job observations and time studies took place in June 2013. This was followed up by making use of vacation training students in December 2013. During the June/July of 2014 further use was made of vacation training students to gather more observation data. From the observations, the analysis of the Standard Operating Procedures and the Check Sheets, it was established that process variation needs to be taken into account, which is particularly relevant when opportunistic maintenance takes place or when any condition based maintenance takes place. Although standard times for individual processes can be developed, a standard time for any task that consists of varying processes cannot be established, unless the frequency of a specific process can be used to determine the probability of that process taking place. Using the probability of a process occurring an average expected task time can be developed.

Optimisation of check sheets for the Shedding workshop​

Scheduled maintenance forms the backbone of PRASA's preventive maintenance (PM). Trains are maintained on a two week cycle, where inspections, lubrication and small component change-outs occur. There are three levels of PM, the tasks and processes differ for each level and are specified on individual check sheets. The observation, evaluation and improvement of these check sheets forms part of the continuous improvement research undertaken by Stellenbosch at PRASA. The first round of observations took place in December 2013. During June/July 2014 the second round of observations was completed. These sets of observations have been analysed. The table below outlines the observation data that still needs to be collected. Based on the observations to date a report was compiled outlining recommendations for improvements to the check sheets and other areas of the maintenance processes and procedures.​

The design and prototyping of a system for competency profiling for PRASA Engineering​

Competence in the psychological assessment context refers to the hidden individual qualities an individual possesses –the knowledge, skills, abilities, personality, values, motives, etc. that make the individual a unique entity and are not easily observable by others (e.g. intelligence, emotional maturity, proactive personality type, etc.) These qualities are measured by making use of psychometric assessments/instruments and have a direct impact on an individual's potential to perform at work.  These competencies are not easily trainable and reflect an individual's personal make-up.  The key requirement here is to be able to prove that a psychological instrument measuring a specific type of competence (abstract concept) is valid, reliable, and fair. With this in mind PRASA approached the PRASA Chair who made use of the virtual laboratory concept to leverage expertise from within the University. As a pilot study the position of Engineering Manager was used. The required skill set was compiled, based on which the psychometric profile of an ideal candidate was developed and a number PRASA employees were tested. The result of the pilot study was positive and great potential exists to expand this within PRASA.