Chicago-area training facility offers a hands-on education
To promote real-world stamping training, the Tooling & Manufacturing Association (TMA) wanted to create a resource whereby stampers could receive a consistent, recognized, hands-on education on the industry's most current equipment.
To make the facility a reality, in 2000 Mike Chester, president and co-owner of Buhrke Industries, a Tier 1 and Tier 2 automotive stamper, donated 1,750 square feet of space in one of Buhrke's buildings. Once a location was established, many Chicago-area companies, under the direction of Jim Brown, president of Stamping Systems, stepped forward and donated new equipment (see Figure 1).
To help ensure that stampers are trained with the most current technology, Orchid Presses/Seyi-America donated a straight-side link-drive press in April. To accompany the new press, Rapid-Air Corp. donated a powered straightener/ nonpowered reel combination space-saver coil feed unit, and Data Instruments donated light curtains and a Wintriss Smart Pac 2® to complete the press line (see Figure 2).
Since opening its doors in the fall of 2002, the facility has offered several hands-on training courses for stampers.
Basic Punch Press Setup and Operation. This class, which is compliant with the national standards established by the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) for Stamping II and Stamping III, is an introduction to the stamping press, die components, and quick die change. Stampers receive related theory and hands-on training in the operation and setup of an open-back inclinable press, a straight-side press, and a hydraulic press.
Instruction includes press safety, lockout/tagout, manual feeding, coil handling, basic inspection and gagging, and die installation and removal. Basic setup and operation of ancillary equipment, such as uncoilers, straighteners, feed components (servo, slide, roll, and air), cut-to-length line, and loop controllers, also are covered.
Coursework includes an introduction to programming and operating a Wintriss Smart Pac press controller.
Responding to student feedback, TMA's Metalforming Education Committee recently made some changes to the course. The initial course featured a compulsory 42 hours and consisted of 45 percent classroom instruction and 55 percent hands-on training. Classroom instruction consisted of lectures, videotapes, discussions, and demonstrations. Because of their work schedules, students said they preferred to learn by hands-on methods supplemented with handouts and procedures.
Because many stampers are running lean operations, losing key personnel for a few days affects the bottom line. To improve training ROI, the course was shortened to 24 hours with 95 percent of the course involving hands-on training. The starting time was changed to allow two shifts to participate with minimal production interruptions during each shift.
Following work guidelines found in many QS- and ISO-certified companies, TMA developed a notebook that encompasses all material that needs to be taught in the classroom, as well asstep-by-step procedures for setting up each piece of equipment.
A coil-fed press line videotape training system and worksheets are used as a safety net for participants who require further explanation. Using the video, the instructor becomes a facilitator rather than a demonstrator or lecturer.
Introduction to Metal Forming Processes. Created for employees interested in a metalworking career, this course covers basic skill sets. Students are exposed to a variety of metal forming equipment, such as punch presses, hydraulic presses, press brakes, laser cutters, and slide formers, in a related theory format. Areas explored include basic industrial safety, environmental protection, and operator-performed maintenance.
Other areas covered are basic metal forming theory, introduction to metals, basic math, print reading, and job planning and management. In addition, this course features discussion of and practice with measuring instruments, part inspection, and quality control.
This course is compliant with the standards set by NIMS and prepares employees to achieve a NIMS credential for Metalforming I. This course also can be customized for in-plant training.
New Employee Orientation. New hires receive a basic orientation in shop floor safety. Safety orientation includes basic health and physical hazards, MSDS, labeling and label requirements (HMIS), lockout/tagout, and how to follow a company safety plan.
Students also receive a crash course in workplace issues such as sexual harassment, discrimination, and immigration. The four-hour seminar is taught in English and Spanish.
Basic Die Sensor Theory 1. Designed for managers, engineers, toolmakers, and pressroom personnel, this course focuses on basic sensor theory and the electrical connections necessary for electronic die protection.
Coursework includes theory and practical training addressing controlled events; types of die protection, such as part ejection and short feed; timing devices; controller types; and an explanation of sensors. The training also includes test bench setup, an introduction to analog sensing, tonnage monitoring, and rationalizing a sensor program. The training facility has a fully equipped sensor bench with proximity, photoelectric, and fiber-optic sensors.
Each component of this course consists of a four-hour seminar. The die troubleshooting and die repair seminars cover single-hit tooling, compound dies, progressive dies, and draw dies.
The courses maintain a student-to-instructor ratio of 6-to-1 or better. The instructors for the basic punch press setup and operation course are Jose Feliciano and Mike Ortiz. Both are industry veterans with a combined 35 years of experience. Feliciano is bilingual, and Ortiz has earned a NIMS credential in Metalforming I and is currently completing the requirements to become credentialed in Stamping II and Stamping III. Basic Die Sensor Theory 1 was designed and is taught by Burton Neuner, a sensor specialist in the Chicago area.
The instructors for the metal forming processes course are Steve Lowery of Tower Oil and Technology and Charles Cipolla, a professional training consultant. Both instructors teach diemaking courses in the TMA related theory program for tool and die, moldmaking, and machining apprentices.
Changes in quality standards dictate improvements resulting from training programs must be documented to demonstrate the training's effectiveness. To comply with this requirement, the Education Committee created a pretest and post-test system for each course module.
To comply with the skill or hands-on assessment portion of the training, NIMS Credentialing Achievement Records (CARs) were adapted. NIMS is an ANSI-certified standards organization that develops standards, testing mechanisms, and sample tests for more than 24 metalworking areas.
Stampers can become credentialed in various areas of Stamping II and Stamping III upon completion of the basic punch press setup and operation course. The three sample tests are Stamping II, Stamping III, and Part Inspection/Quality Control. Stamping II and Stamping III focus on progressive, compound, single-hit, and draw dies. The Stamping II credential is designed for operators, and the Stamping III credential is designed for setup personnel. The questions on the sample tests are used again on the post-test. Students are prepared for credentialing and have the option of completing the credentialing process at their places of employment.
STAMPING Journal is the only industrial publication dedicated solely to serving the needs of the metal stamping market. In 1987 the American Metal Stamping Association broadened its horizons and renamed itself and its publication, known then as Metal Stamping.