Bruce Scallan is a Facilities Manager at Reutech Communications. The company specialises in technologically advanced secure military communications systems. In South Africa, Reutech’s parent company, Reunert Limited (a Johannesburg Stock Exchange listed company) has been a key supplier of equipment to the South African National Defence Force for 47 years. 

Scallan has four core responsibilities as the Facilities Manager:

● Management of plant maintenance, utilities, and support services.
● Management of security
● Management of the health and safety program.
● Management of the environment program.

Managing the facility is no easy feat. Scallan is involved from the ground-level of the organization right up to the executive level. He is involved with reporting, projects, financial planning, and risk management.

One aspect of his work that he finds particularly interesting involves the Environment Test Chambers – they are responsible for the thermal cycling tests on the military-tier radios.

Scallan’s focus is on the refrigeration systems of the Environment Test Chambers. The thermal cycling tests perform temperature “shock testing” on the radios, exposing them to alternating temperatures. He is currently designing a new test chamber for Reutech Communications for the purpose of testing their high frequency radios.

“I mainly use two stage cascade systems which produce ultra-low temperatures from around minus 40 to minus 85 degrees Celsius. These systems are two stage refrigeration systems each running on different refrigerants and are inter-thermodynamically linked. Therefore, we can cascade down to lower the temperatures.” 

Source: Reutech Communications

New technologies entering the market, Scallan says, are aimed at lowering the impact on the environment, with global warming in mind. And an added benefit with the newer technology is that it runs with more energy efficiency. Another challenge is changing operations to utilize more natural refrigerants – a better scenario for the environment.

Vocational training

Bruce Scallan has a desire to impart his knowledge to the next generation of engineering professionals. After completing his Professional Certificate of HVAC at the Engineering Institute of Technology (EIT) he was inspired. He began to dream of opening a technical vocational training center of his own. He explains:

“The training center will offer vocational training for students wanting to begin a career in refrigeration and air-conditioning, or will offer current apprentices and technicians the opportunity to improve their skill sets in the field. I feel strongly that vocational training can play a very important role in the education sector by providing tangible skills in the workplace that can be used from the word go.”

He is particularly passionate about growing this venture in South Africa. He feels that training institutions in his country often lack the resources to produce large numbers of skilled graduates. He is an ardent supporter of vocational training believing it builds relevant skills which are immediately useful in the workplace.

Cognizant of the demanding schedules of technicians and engineers who are actively working, Scallan believes he needs to model his training center around the principles of online education. He would like to provide people with the opportunity to become skilled, or indeed broaden existing skills, whilst working. He knows this is challenging, but also realizes that it is nigh impossible for most people to forego work and their salaries while they study and up-skill.

In fact Bruce is all too familiar with this juggling act! Having completed the part time, online HVAC Professional Certificate, he enrolled in EIT’s Advanced Diploma in Plant Engineering and their Professional Certificate of Project Management. He is completing these programs while working full time and raising a young family.

He says this about EIT’s approach to online learning:

“I strongly believe EIT’s learning model is going to revolutionize and pioneer the way Engineering can be taught around the world. EIT uses a very user-friendly and interactive system garnished with the best instructors around the globe to present the courses.”

And Bruce refuses to be daunted and is certainly not prepared to rest on his laurels: he has every intention of enrolling in EIT’s Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, after which he looks forward to acquiring a Master Degree.