International Skills Festival Japan

TriPod: Innovative High-tech handling system from Festo – the competition hardware in Japan



International Skills Festival Japan
Not only the WorldSkills competition take place in Japan, together with the Abilympics Japan celebrates for the first time a ‘Skills Festival for All’. Young people from all over the world participate in different trades to show their skills and to honer at the closing ceremony the best of the best. Parallel to the WorldSkills competition the Abilympics competition takes place in Japan, where young people with disabilities show their skills excellence in different trades.

Mechatronics for All
Festo – Official Sponsor of Worldskills – has developed and pushed the Mechatronics competition from the beginning. In 1991 Mechatronics started as a demonstration trade during the WorldSkills competition in Amsterdam with two participating teams. At this time Mechatronics was not recognized as an important trade. Now in 2007 in Japan Mechatronics is the biggest trade on the WorldSkills competition with 28 participating teams. Mechatronic specialists are important in many different branches worldwide and one of the success factors allowing the fast developments in the automation technology.

During the Abilympics for the first time young people with disabilities have the chance to show their competencies in the challenging field of automation – ‘Mechatronics’.
In the demonstration competition Mechatronics two teams have to assemble, commission, program and troubleshoot a state of the art handling robotic system ‘TriPod’.

“We want to demonstrate that young people with disabilities are able to manage difficult, complex tasks on a high level,” says Eckhard von Terzi organizer of this new competition. “After being responsible for the WorldSkills Mechatronics competition in the last ten years, the Abilympics competition is a now a new complete different challenge for me. With this demonstration in Japan we want to motivate more young technicians with disabilities from all over the world to participate in the future. With international benchmarking in the Mechatronics competition we have the possibility to move a lot in many countries.” With supporting the 2 Teams from the Annedore-Leber educational institute from Berlin Festo initiates the participation of the first German delegation in an Abilympics competition. “To be in the spot-light” is for the four participants Diana George, Stefan Heyde, Jonas Kretschmer and Matthias Seget a complete new experience. During the preperation time not only topics like assembly, wiring or commissioning were important. “We need as well knowledge about Japan, if we want to be successful” says Diana George. “All our equipment has to work for example with 110 Volts”. The competition does not only offer the possibility to increase the professional skills of the participants. They meet during the competition new friends from different countries who are able to manage their disabilities in many different ways.

International Symposium
During the International Symposium, Skills Festival in Shizuoka Dr. Nader Imani from Festo Didactic presents to visiting decision makers, media and politicians how it is possible opening professional horizons for people with physical disabilities to support manufacturing sectors in globalization:
With the use of Actuators, Sensors, Processors, Software and Networks, manufacturing machines are replacing repetitive and laborious operations of humans by industrial automation in production processes. Planning an adequate working environment offers a relief for people with physical disabilities allowing them to execute sophisticated tasks to operate manufacturing machines.
Qualification of people with physical disabilities in the field of Mechatronics will open new horizons to:´

  • Make responsible individuals with physical disabilities to be part of their communities,
  • Make responsible the society towards its part of disabled citizens,
  • Innovate in the field of technical and vocational education and training
  • Meet  the increasing demand of qualified manpower for the sake of economic development, and
  • Contribute to the improvement of social welfare and living standards of individuals in the international emerging and industrialised countries.