A top workshop with special equipment
l’École de Reconversion Professionnelle, Metz [France]
Claude Stricher, professor for orthopaedic footwear technology at l’École de Reconversion Professionnelle “Jean Moulin” vocational school in Metz, France, discusses his search for the right equipment for the school’s new workshop: “We wanted to meet the highest standards. That’s why we focused on only the best and most modern machines. We need highly functional workstations here.’’
“We compared all of the machine suppliers we could find. We also made enquiries at many different companies, including Mathis Orthopédie in Colmar. We wanted to make sure we found a reliable partner.” A delegation from the French school soon approached us, first visiting well-known Dutch training centre DHTA in Utrecht followed by the Ottobock Planning and Equipping showrooms in Nieuwkuijk, Netherlands.
‘’The public tendering process took a long time, but we’re certain that we’re offering our students the very best of the best with our equipment from Ottobock Planning and Equipping,” says Stricher.
The French school is quite unique, offering adults aged 18 years and over retraining opportunities as shoemakers and orthopaedic shoe technicians. In order to be accepted, candidates must be officially classed as having a disability and/or proven to have fewer opportunities on the job market due to an illness. The school is primarily attended by people who are no longer able to pursue their actual profession due to an illness or following a work accident. Applicants come from across France.
The admission process is comprehensive, including a psychological test as well. This enables the school to be certain it can guide and support absolutely every student in the best possible manner. During the two-year course, students live in the school’s own halls of residence with medical, psychological and occupational therapy support.
As many of the students use a wheelchair, Ottobock Planning and Equipping produced a modified sanding machine, the Flexam RSB 130 Medi Plus Executive, with extra space in its lower section. The control unit was moved to an easily accessible position. Today, two spacious work areas offer twelve workstations: Ten tables are equipped with drawers for tools as standard, while two tables were adapted for wheelchair users. Chemicals are securely stored in a safety cabinet with doors that open and close automatically.
Everything in the workshop is clean and safe: All dust particles are thoroughly removed with the Vacuum V80 Compact. Thanks to machines equipped with automatic sensor valve technology (ASGA), all workstations are provided with full extraction capacity at all times. There is also an automatic dust dividing system (ADDS) between the operator and the extraction system. The materials used and the special design of the dust collector and machines minimise the noise level. In addition, the work tables were fitted with extraction openings, and the modern airflow system removes hazardous vapours produced by adhesives. A high-performance compressor also offers sufficient compressed air at all times.
“The working height of the Flexam SB 105 sanding machine can be adjusted from 1,020 to 1,220 mm, so all users can work in the posture that’s best for them. As a result, our occupational therapist hardly ever needs to visit us anymore,” Stricher is happy to report.
The school maintains excellent contacts with numerous companies, helps its students find internships and supports them during the application process. And it does so successfully: Some 70 % of graduates are offered a permanent position right after finishing their training.
“Once they are employed at an orthopaedics company, we continue to look after them. The personal support process lasts between six and ten months and is very effective – it puts our students ahead in the job market. We love seeing this, and it drives us on.”
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