The Benefits of Creating A Manufacturing Training Plan

The Benefits of Creating A Manufacturing Training Plan

It’s summer time and time to head out on those fun family road trips. The promise of exploring a new destination awaits, and the car is packed with anticipation. It is hard to believe that anything could go wrong — until of course one misses a few too many turns, and has to ask for directions!

In the good ol’ days, one had to rely on a paper map to get them back on track and avoid the constant “are-we-there-yet?” from the back seat. These days, it’s hard to imagine driving to a new destination without the aid of a GPS device, be it built-in or on your phone.

The same innovations are true for training programs!

Why you need a training plan

Maybe you just purchased a new training program for your team, and you know the destination: a well trained employee, happy, working safely, efficiently. You’re excited, the employee is excited, what could possibly go wrong? That’s when you both realize — you don’t have a map to get you to that destination.

You don’t have a training plan.

At Simutech we believe the following:

  1. Training is essential to achieving corporate goals.
  2. Continuous training is more important than a one time training program.
  3. Without a training plan and clear expectations, you are unlikely to achieve your goals.

That is why we work with our clients in putting together a training plan that best suits their needs and why we publish our own training plan that has the following essential elements:

  1. Communicate the objectives with everyone.
  2. Have a committed team and assign a training leader to oversee the training.
  3. Make sure training is scheduled weekly.
  4. Schedule short and focused training sessions.
  5. Follow a set path.
  6. Monitor, measure, and recognize success.

It is essential that participants in the training feel accomplished. In a training plan we shared in a recent webinar, we divided our training into five levels that are intended to gradually move a trainee through the program in an effective way.

This map allows your trainees to become expert troubleshooters at a pace that fits their skills and abilities, following a schedule, and ensuing continuous training so that retention is optimized.

We would love to connect with you to see what training best suits your needs, contact us at [email protected]

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What You Need To Know About The International Electrical Code

What You Need To Know About The International Electrical Code

Once upon a time, a potential trip to Europe from North America brought excitement and anticipation of a new experience. Along with the standard list of what to pack for this trip came an age old dilemma, will my electronics work in Europe do I need some sort of a converter to charge my iPhone?

Indeed, one quickly realizes when you get to Europe that the power plug sockets do not look the same as their North America counterparts, but that visual clue is the tip of the iceberg. Behind those sockets is an electrical standard that is quite different from its North American counterpart, not just in looks. According to an article written by ElectinicsPoint.com here are some of the main differences:

  1. Different electrical standardard. Europe follows the International Electrical Code (IEC) while North America follows National Electrical Code (NEC)
  2. Power distribution: A significantly different distribution, while in EU a 3-phase system is in use, in North American we use single phase
  3. Voltage: In Europe voltage is between 220 and 240V, in North America, it is 120 V

When working with industrial equipment, especially when troubleshooting, awareness of these differences is very important, and training using the right standards is key. Imagine taking a voltage reading and getting a 110V and you are expecting a 240 V? Or opening a receptacle to see that wires are attached using merretts when you were expecting a terminal block?

International Electrical Code (IEC) In Simutech Multimedia

Simulation as a concept is intended to replicate real environments, that is why at Simutech our electrical troubleshooting training has always provided trainees the ability to learn in either NEC or IEC standards. As we deploy our new web based training, we are mindful of the two standards and are deploying the training as such.

In our new learning labs we have implemented the training with International Electrical Code (IEC) and well as NEC. As a user you can experience a realistic rendering of the receptacle, fuses, and components as well as the different way of displaying wiring diagrams and schematics, and of course, under the hood, all the science and engineering that comes with the International Electrical Code (IEC) standards.

For more information about our electrical training systems contact [email protected]

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The Impact of Robots and Automation In Manufacturing

The Impact of Robots and Automation In Manufacturing

Robots play an important role in manufacturing operations. From moving materials on the production line to packing, palletizing, and loading, they enable businesses to become more efficient while protecting employees from various industrial hazards.

Over the past ten years, the global sales volume of industrial robots has tripled, reaching about 400,000 units in 2018. This increased demand for industrial robots is largely driven by the automotive sector, where on average, there are 2,000 robot installations per 10,000 employees.

Types of robots

Manufacturing robots generally fall under three categories: welders, assemblers, and dispensers.

Welders

29% of the robots used in manufacturing are welders. They are popular among small manufacturers due to their cost-effectiveness, precision, repeatability, and output.

Assembly robots

Assembly robots are designed to pick up components from a conveyor to make a piece to make it fit with another piece. They are most commonly used by automotive manufacturers.

Dispensing robots

Dispensing robots are used for painting, gluing, applying adhesive, and spraying. Only 4% of the operational robots are dispensing robots.

The advantages of robots

Whether you’re in the automotive industry or elsewhere, material handling is the most common use case for industrial robots. Over 38% of robots are used for materials handling because it typically involves repetitive, predictable, and often unsafe tasks that could put workers at risk of injury.

Depending on who you ask, material handling can also have different meanings. It could refer to parts selection, packing, machine feeding, or any task that involves moving an item from one part of the manufacturing floor to another. Regardless of its context, though, the end goal of using robotics for materials handling is the same across all industries.

Besides material handling, robots also benefit manufacturers by increasing product quality. This is especially important in the automotive industry, where customers continually demand new features with each car model — robots allow manufacturers to keep up with these customer demands and reduce the costs of creating new products due to increased economies of scale.

The disadvantages of robots

Even though there are many upsides to using robots, one of the most significant disadvantages of a highly automated manufacturing process is that it increases the need for highly skilled labor, which can impact ROI in the long run. This phenomenon is known as the automation paradox, and we recently wrote a blog post explaining its effects on manufacturers.

One of the automation paradox’s effects is that workers need to understand the sophisticated operation and programming of robots to troubleshoot any issues effectively. The number of people with these skills is currently limited, which is why upskilling existing personnel is critical.

There are also ongoing costs that you have to factor in when considering industrial robots. These costs come from ongoing expenses such as maintenance and upgrades and secondary costs such as cybersecurity and support of other connected IoT devices.

Start training your maintenance staff today

If you would like to train your maintenance staff on best practices for troubleshooting electrical faults, please contact us at [email protected] to learn more about our 3D simulation training software.

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[Whitepaper] Leveraging Electrical Simulation Training To Bridge the Skills Gap

[Whitepaper] Leveraging Electrical Simulation Training To Bridge the Skills Gap

The skills gap is real, and appears to be widening: a Deloitte study recently estimated that 2.4 million manufacturing positions in the US will go unfilled between 2018 and 2028, up from 2 million predicted in 2014. It’s not just a Millennial problem—older workers facing a rapidly changing world of technology, automation, digitization, and other new systems, and many do not have the skills to meet the demands of the new factory floor.

The skills gap has a cognitive component. A defined, systematic troubleshooting process is necessary when faced with multiple potential solutions, or no solution at all. Without a systematic process, maintenance troubleshooters will struggle. In this whitepaper, we explain how manufacturers can leverage electrical Simulation training to bridge the skills gap.

Download the whitepaper

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The Automation Paradox and How It Affects Your Company

The Automation Paradox and How It Affects Your Company

In recent years, technology has completely changed how manufacturers deliver products to customers. Whether it’s the addition of robotics and IoT to the production process or artificial intelligence and big data, manufacturers now have several tools available to increase efficiency, lower costs, and train their teams.

You might think that implementing a fully automated manufacturing process would also reduce the need to hire maintenance staff, but the opposite is true. This paradox is known as the automation paradox, and it has some severe implications on your business.

What is the automation paradox?

The automation paradox states that as computers start doing the work of people, the need for people also increases. That’s because automation makes it harder for humans to predict outcomes when something goes wrong. For example, the 2019 737 Max plane crashes of Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air were all caused by a malfunction in one of the aircraft’s automated systems.

This system, known as the MCAS, was created to prevent aircraft from stalling due to the placement of the engines. If one of the plane’s sensors fed the wrong information to the MCAS, the aircraft would pitch the nose down, thinking that the aircraft was stalling even if that wasn’t the case.

Pilots of Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines were unaware of this feature, and as they tried to correct the aircraft’s pitch by pulling the nose upwards, the MCAS system kicked in once again to pitch the nose down because it assumed that the plane was stalling further. This fatal flaw cost hundreds of lives and led to the grounding of an entire fleet.

Automation paradox in the manufacturing industry

As you can see, automation is great for managing routine, predictable tasks, but it can’t fully replace the decision-making abilities of a human being. That’s why you’ll always need to invest in training your staff even when you have a highly automated and advanced manufacturing process in place. If something goes wrong, human decision making and creativity will be your best solution to the problem.

Modern automated systems are also designed with several redundancy systems to increase reliability and reduce human error. That’s great in many cases, but it also means that when something does go wrong, the problem will likely be very complex to solve. It will involve diagnosing at both a hardware and software level and require your maintenance staff to have a broader skill set.

Whether it’s fixing an issue with your PLCs or troubleshooting control circuits, Simutech Multimedia’s training system will equip your maintenance staff with skills they need to diagnose various complex electrical faults in a safe, immersive 3D environment.

For more information, contact us at [email protected]

 

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