Emily Probst is the associate editor for Modern Machine Shop. She joined the staff in the summer of 2006 as the editorial intern editing product releases for the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS). Hired full-time in 2007 after graduating with a B.S.J. from Ohio University, she edited product releases and columns until 2012, when she moved to her current role of writing and editing case studies for both print and online media channels. In this role, she has been fortunate enough to travel the world as well as visit some interesting shops and trade shows in the United States. She also administers Modern’s blog as well as its Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts.
To replace formerly state-funded training for skilled manufacturing workers, Connecticut Spring & Stamping (CSS) developed its own in-house apprenticeship program. The program is designed to train enough skilled workers to meet its capacity and continue company growth, which is approximately 20 to 30 percent per year over year.
The manufacturer of precision parts for the medical, aerospace, firearms and defense is currently training a group of 11 people in the skill sets required for tool and die makers. For example, the program includes specific tracks for CNC production setup, press and fourslide diemakers, stamping press setup operators, fourslide setup operators and heat set setup operators.
“Well-paid manufacturing jobs requiring manual skills are out there, and as the skilled workforce ages, it is becoming more and more difficult to fill critical positions with trained employees,” says Kathy Bellemare, director of human resources at CSS. “What training exists has a near-exclusive focus on non-manufacturing skills. While we are extremely proud of the program we have developed, we still hold out hope that technical institutions and local community colleges will step up to fill the void by establishing training programs and internships to meet the needs of manufacturers.”
The apprenticeship program is funded using grants such as the Connecticut Department of Labor’s 21st Century Skills Training Program and the Advance Training Grant Program.
Debbie Sterling is an engineer from Stanford who has created a new kids’ toy aimed at attracting young girls to the field of engineering. The toy company, called Goldie Blox, consists of a book series and construction toy (now available at Toys R Us). The book follows Goldie and her friends as they go on adventures and solve problems by building simple machines. The goal is for young girls to read along and build what Goldie builds using their toolkits.
According to Ms. Sterling, she only knew engineering even existed because her math teacher from high school said she should explore it. “I’m creating a toy company that teaches little girls what engineering is, making it fun and accessible. I’m making sure that girls don’t have to rely on a serendipitous comment from a teacher to realize their passion for engineering,” she says.
Wouldn’t it be cool if we wrote another “Meet a Manufacturing Engineer” story—about 15 years from now in which something as simple as a kid’s toy convinced somebody to go into engineering or manufacturing? It will be interesting to see what resources and tactics actually work to attract, educate and train the next generation.
You will learn something. Three tracks comprise this year’s technical conference program: engineer, build, and maintain. Each takes a critical look at product, application and business management issues related to a primary part of the plastic injection mold lifecycle. There will also be two Knowledge Centers on the showfloor that feature technical presentations from applications experts at exhibiting companies.
You get a shirt. Perhaps one of best parts of this show is the “Top 10 Reasons to be a Moldmaker” Announcement and t-shirt giveaway. Join sister publication Moldmaking Technology for the unveiling of this year’s Top 10 list and make sure to grab your own t-shirt in Booth 147.
You can follow the leaders. Presented by MMT and sponsored by Progressive Components, the 2013 Lead Time Leaders will be honored Wednesday, June 12 at 5:15 p.m. in the Conference Center, level 2, lobby. Winning companies are outstanding North American mold manufacturers that best demonstrate overall innovation, efficiency, quality and commitment.
You’re invited to the party. As an annual Amerimold highlight, this year’s casino-themed networking reception will kick off immediately following the presentation of this year’s Lead Time Leader Awards. Join for an evening of cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and fun. You can purchase tickets for the reception at the registration booth.
You can go to three other shows while you are there. There are three co-located events: SUR/FIN – the annual gathering of the surface finishing industry; FastenerTech – the all-fasteners industry event; and OMTEC – The Orthopedic Manufacturing & Technology Exposition & Conference. A separate registration is required for OMTEC.
Click on the photo above to watch a highlight video for the event.
DMG/Mori Seiki USA will host Innovation Days 2013 at its U.S. headquarters near Chicago, Illinois May 7-10. The company anticipates that the event will be its largest U.S. open house to date. The show will feature more machines and seminars than previous years, and will last for an additional day. Attendees will have access to more than 40 machining demonstrations and one-on-one application consultations. Showcased industries will include aerospace, automotive, die and mold, gear production, medical, dental, heavy industry, and general machining.
There’s more than one way to attract the next generation of skilled employees to the shop floor. Tooling component manufacturer Rego-Fix recently expanded its Tenniken, Switzerland headquarters with a new 75,000 square-foot, three-floor addition to its existing facility, and with it, expanded the company’s appeal to a younger workforce.
While Rego-Fix wasn’t actively vying to attract a younger talent pool—one of its many long-term employees has been with the company for 40 years—the expansion’s advanced energy and natural resource-conserving features could be part of what has piqued their interest. For example, the facility includes a heating system that burns wood pellets as opposed to fossil fuels and a “green” or planted roof, which is covered with soil and growing sod for better insulation.
The company has also focused its attention on automating many of its processes to provide increased capacity and greater quality control. Automation and software is a key aspect of attracting younger employees to a manufacturing career, says Richard Weber, President and CEO.
The facility expansion and added automation will enable Rego-Fix to improve the production processes for its tooling products, including the new SecuRgrip toolholder. This toolholder uses a special threaded insert, or key, that eliminates the need to alter cutters to prevent pullout. It builds on the capability of the company’s PowRgrip mechanical holding system.