Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Machine Operator Training Increases Productivity, Reduces Costs

By Don Graham, Manager of Education and Technical Services

These days, manufacturers are searching every nook and cranny in their organizations for ways to reduce costs. For example, our customers want toolholders, insert grades and geometries that perform better, and they want them at a lower cost. While the latest advancements in cutting tools and machining techniques deliver increased productivity, better surface finishes and longer tool lives, manufacturers can also maximize machining efforts and reduce costs through machine operator education.

Modern machines make programming many machining processes easier, but the best productivity is achieved by well-trained operators who understand the basics of turning, milling, and holemaking as well as when to use different types of cutters. A good understanding of why they are doing what they are doing, as well as what to listen for and what to look for when operating a machine can help operators proactively avert problems before they arise. Ultimately, this knowledge helps increase productivity and reduce costs by decreasing scrap rates and rework.

At Seco, we regularly host free training courses at our North American Headquarters in Troy, Michigan as part of our Seco Technical Education Program (STEP). Courses are designed to cover the latest tooling systems and metal cutting techniques as well as customer-specific requirements, so that machine operators, manufacturing engineers, programmers, and company owners can begin to understand the simplest way to choose the correct tooling and machining strategy.

We offer three levels of training. STEP Into is a four-hour course that is ideal for those with little or no metal cutting experience. Attendees get an introduction to our Navigator product catalog as well as basic manufacturing and metal cutting vocabulary. This course is not a prerequisite to STEP 1, but it can assist in gaining the full benefit of STEP 1 training.

STEP 1 is a three-day program that introduces tooling and machining technology, including ISO/ANSI standards, turning, milling, holemaking, thread milling, workpiece materials, carbide metallurgy, analyzing tool life and understanding productivity. STEP 1 is a prerequisite for attending STEP 2 training.

STEP 2 is also a three-day program, but it provides a more advanced look at machining techniques and tooling systems, including 3D milling, 3D milling tools, optimum turning, PCBN tooling, Capto quick change and solid carbide tooling. In-depth hands-on instruction, trouble-shooting and problem solving play an important role in the program.

Operator training through STEP can help your shop achieve maximum machining productivity and lower costs. We offer the training for free, however, participants are responsible for their hotel and travel expenses. Once registered, we will make your hotel arrangements. We also provide daily transportation between the hotel and Seco headquarters as well as outgoing airport ground transportation.

To learn more about STEP and register for upcoming classes, please click here. Classes fill up quickly and registration deadlines are subject to seating availability.

About the Author
Don is the manager of education and technical services for Seco, responsible for all educational activities for the NAFTA market, new product testing and various other technical functions. Outside of work, he enjoys making maple syrup, restoring antique tractors and farming.

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