Joseph Ngungu brings mechatronics to life at Tectra Automation

Full-time student, part-time intern, developer of the company’s first electromechanical cylinder test rig and now the new face of mechatronics at Tectra Automation, Joseph Ngungu’s story is one that shows how dedication and commitment goes a long way in this industry.

Kenyan-born Joseph Ngungu moved to South Africa in 2010 where he commenced a BTech Mechatronics Engineering Degree from TUT. As part of his final year of studies, Joseph designed and developed a demonstration press test rig that proved the efficiency of Bosch Rexroth electromechanical cylinders (EMC) over its pneumatic cylinder rival, while showcasing the connectivity and control potential of Bosch Rexroth’s Open Core Engineering.

The result? A fully functional demonstration rig that Tectra Automation now uses to prove the benefits of both Bosch Rexroth EMCs and Open Core Engineering to customers!

The brief was to show aspects of mechanical and electrical design and control systems. Although all students had to do a theoretical project, Joseph went the extra mile and put his theory into action. He created a rig that proved his claim: that by using an EMC over a pneumatic cylinder, clients can benefit from more force over a longer service life, a more compact design – and how plant operators can control plant processes remotely from multiple devices!

Mentored by Kevin Lombard and Jaco De Beer, Joseph’s innovative press test rig proved that customers using a 40 mm bore Bosch Rexroth EMC can expect greater service life of up to 10 years with a more compact design than pneumatic cylinders that typically last 5 years. He demonstrated that to get the same force as the EMC, clients would have to use the much larger 100 mm bore pneumatic cylinder equivalent.

On the control side, Joseph showed his skills in electronics with PLC programming and Open Core Engineering. “I wanted to demonstrate on a small-scale that operators can control all aspects of their plant from remote devices. By adopting Open Core Engineering, clients can utilise new software engineering innovations to remotely control every aspect of their plant, from servo motors to exact-axis positioning and all drive parameters,” commented Joseph. He achieved this with various Bosch Rexroth control systems incorporated on the test rig.

Joseph did all this in just 10 months, while studying full time and working part time as an intern at Tectra Automation.

When asked why he believes in mechatronics, Joseph added that “Industry 4.0 is real. People are looking for ways to make processes quicker and more intelligent, while still having reliable hardware to get the job done. And I believe mechatronics is the marriage of those worlds, it allows you to dream of connected concept and bring it to life to better the manufacturing industry.”

The innovation and real-life success of the test rig earned Joseph a distinction in Mechatronics and first-class honours in his degree. He now works full time as a Mechatronics Technician at Tectra Automation.

Tectra Automation, a Hytec Group company, is a leading drive and control specialist providing solutions for industrial and factory automation applications.

We’re delighted to welcome talent like Joseph into our organisation!

Image Caption: Hard work and dedication: Joseph designed and manufactured the test rig in just 10 months – while studying full time and working part time! Joseph’s test rig is now used by Tectra Automation to prove the efficiencies of Bosch Rexroth EMCs and Open Core Engineering to its clients!

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