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Plastics education taking on greater importance for equipment suppliers

Educating the next generation workforce has become a primary concern for the plastics processing and moldmaking industries. It's evident by the conversations that take place at the various trade shows such as the SPE Thermoforming Conference held last week (Sept. 15-18), which caters to many students from various colleges and trade schools.

Clare Goldsberry

September 22, 2014

4 Min Read
Plastics education taking on greater importance for equipment suppliers

Educating the next generation workforce has become a primary concern for the plastics processing and moldmaking industries. It's evident by the conversations that take place at the various trade shows such as the SPE Thermoforming Conference held last week (Sept. 15-18), which caters to many students from various colleges and trade schools.

Christopher Gagliano, program and technical service manager for the Pennsylvania College of Technology's (PCT) Plastics Innovation & Resource Center, was in attendance with several students. The college has an extensive program that includes injection molding, blowmolding, extrusion, rotational molding and thermoforming. "We currently have a cut-sheet thermoformer and we're getting a MACC roll-fed machine put in place shortly," Gagliano said.

Gagliano noted the importance of machinery suppliers working with the technical colleges and trade schools to help supply the equipment needed to train the next generation workforce. "As many of the current older employees retire, a lot of knowledge will retire with them," he told PlasticsToday. "We need access to the latest equipment on which to train the students today so they can enter the workforce with the knowledge they need to succeed."

ChoiceCareerCollegeCNCCERTPhoto_33_0.jpgIn a recent announcement, the Choice Career College (Des Plaines, IL) is now a FANUC Certified Education CNC school offering students in the Chicago area a computerized manufacturing diploma from its FANUC CNC program. Upon graduation, this qualifies students to be immediately employable with the skills the manufacturing industry demands taught from FANUC CNC certified instructors, using FANUC CNC approved curriculum on genuine FANUC CNC equipment, according to the announcement.

The choice Career College computerized manufacturing diploma program is a comprehensive qualified FANUC CNC program that can be completed in four months focusing on English, mathematics, blueprint reading, machine processes, measuring (GD&T), CNC setup, programming, operations and G-code applications. Students are qualified through the entire education process to ensure competency; enrollment application, testing during courses, final comprehensive and certification exams.

Students are taught CNC programming by first using FANUC NCGuide simulation software on a PC for the most extensive hands-on experience. Then, the Levil CNC certification cart, equipped with a FANUC Series 0i-Mate Model D CNC, allows students to experience the complete programming, setup and operation workflow right inside the classroom.

"As a result of being a FANUC certified education CNC school, Choice Career College is offering a CNC program that answers the demand from the manufacturing industry for skilled FANUC CNC operators and programmers," said William Jones, CNC program director/faculty at Choice Career College. "This will set graduates up for success in process for the blueprint, determine machine coordinate values, develop CNC code, test the NC programs, QC the part and implement the part into production.  Graduates will also be proficient in using simulation software such as NCGuide, Mastercam and Vericut as well as being able to machine efficiently, understand how to reduce machine wear and avoid machine crashes."

FANUC stated that with the ongoing problem of a shortage of skilled workers, the need to train future machinists is paramount to fill growing gaps in the domestic work force. "A new employee needs to be productive right out of the gate with knowledge of modern CNC technology that is dominant in the market today, and they need to run their CNC machine with minimum supervision," said FANUC.

"FANUC America is addressing the industry need for skilled workers at education institutions with our Certified Education CNC Training (CERT) program," commented Dean Steadman, education program manager at FANUC America. "Being FANUC Certified Education CNC school will assist Choice Career College in providing the best possible training to ensure that qualified students have the skills required by industry today as employable operators and programmers and can hit the ground running from day one."

PCT's Gagliano added that for machinery suppliers to partner with education institutions in providing equipment is good for both parties. "For machinery suppliers, they look at these programs as an extension of their sales and marketing efforts," Gagliano said. "When these students graduate and enter the workforce, they may be in a position to specify machinery and will be more likely to specify the brand of machines they know best. It's not only an investment in the future of the workforce, but an investment in the future of the machinery maker as well."

About the Author(s)

Clare Goldsberry

Until she retired in September 2021, Clare Goldsberry reported on the plastics industry for more than 30 years. In addition to the 10,000+ articles she has written, by her own estimation, she is the author of several books, including The Business of Injection Molding: How to succeed as a custom molder and Purchasing Injection Molds: A buyers guide. Goldsberry is a member of the Plastics Pioneers Association. She reflected on her long career in "Time to Say Good-Bye."

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