Why Gamification is Important

Why Gamification is Important

Gamification is coming extremely important in training. Millennials now make up 35% of the US labor force. Manufacturing training programs need to be designed for them. And, since the Baby Boomers are retiring in droves, this number is only going to grow. Millennials are expected to be 75% of the workforce by 2025. 

This infographic shares key information about profile gamers and the most relevant findings from the Talent LMS 2019 Survey.

 

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Industry Panel on Labor Challenges Webinar

Industry Panel on Labor Challenges Webinar

The reality that the manufacturing industry lives in is now one of complexity, uncertainty and many challenges. At the same time that the Covid-19 crisis stretches out, the manufacturing industry still faces the skills gap, recruiting and retention challenges that have not gone away.

On Thursday, July 16, Simutech partnered up with three knowledgeable Industry Leaders to bring insights to help you navigate the manufacturing industry challenges.

Key insights:

  • Covid-19 has disrupted how the industry works, organizations have to rapidly adjust to keep the industry at speed.
  • Training in times of crisis: the crisis hasn’t changed companies’ training plans much; however, how you train and expectations have to be managed.
  • Skills gap:
    • Formal education does not fully prepare the workforce for the industry needs, hands-on training tools bring the practical side of it.
    • Maintenance Skills are developed in house, as not many people come to the organizations with the necessary knowledge.
  • Training:
    • Training must be fun and interactive to keep trainees engaged, this way they will enjoy gaining or enhancing their maintenance skills.
    • Focus on creating a solid foundation or a strong base of knowledge of the electrical troubleshooting to build the skills to the next level.
  • Skills retention: continuously training to retain and enhance skills.
  • Employee retention:
    • The biggest problem is still the retirement of the workforce.
    • Companies’ training programs will have to be enhanced to take the new people to the same skills level as the previous generation.

To get more insights from Charles Ballenger – Maintenance Manager at Tyson Foods, Michael Tippett – Equipment Maintenance Training Specialist at Polar Semiconductor and Lonnie Bailey – Director of Labor Management and Maintenance Training at Pilgrims, watch the full replay to the webinar below:

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An Inside Look At Our New Motor Control Components Module

An Inside Look At Our New Motor Control Components Module

 

It is hard to imagine an industrial building or factory of any type that does not have motors operating various functions – from conveyor belts to lifts, cranes, and garage doors. One of the most ubiquitous motors is the 3-phase squirrel cage motor. Working with and troubleshooting motors is an incredibly common task in any plant or factory. That is why at Simutech, troubleshooting motor controls is part of our core learning modules.

Motors bring added complexity to troubleshooting. For example, how a 3-phase motor is wired, and how load affects a motor introduces a new level of complexity to the troubleshooting process. So does the fact that current is now an added consideration when troubleshooting.

Our approach to troubleshooting motors allows the learner to explore all topics related to motor operations and troubleshooting in a virtual lab environment, and proceed to practice what they learned in a troubleshooting simulation where several faults are introduced to a garage door setting.

The Motor Control Components Learning Lab is a comprehensive overview of 3-phase motors, how they operate, and how they are wired, and it teaches the learner how to approach problems related to 3-phase motors.

 

Simutech Motor Control Components Module

 

The learning lab has five main sections. In the first four sections, the learner is provided with the learning along with practice exercises required to operate and troubleshoot motors. In the last section, the learner is given hands-on experience by interacting with motors in a virtual setting.

 

Windings and Resistance

 

In the first section, time is spent understanding the difference between Wye and Delta configuration and learning how to measure winding resistance. This is achieved using video, images and virtual interactive workbenches.

 

LLMCC - Workbenches

 

The workbenches are used in several exercises and allow the user to interact with the components, take measurements using a virtual meter, read schematics, adjust and change components as needed. The virtual benches allow the learner to apply load to a motor and observe the impact, take amperage measurements, observe how contactors and overloads behave, etc.

 

LLMCC - Workbench 1

LLMCC - Workbench 2

 

The lab also allows a user to understand how current and motor behaviour are related. For example, the learner is shown and is able to measure inrush current and compare that to running current using their virtual multimeter.

 

Simutech Motor Control Components Module

Motor Behavior

 

Load plays a major part in the performance of a motor. We dedicate a section in our learning to understand how load impacts motors and components that interact with it. The learner is introduced to Overloads and Contactors in this section. The learner is also taught how to read schematics and wiring diagrams related to motor operations.

 

Simutech Motor Control Components - Hallway

LLMCC - Diagram

 

In the final section, the learner is shown the typical issues related to motor failures, from mechanical issues to opens, shorts, malfunctions circuits, and more. This section provides a lot of interactivity with the virtual workbenches and by the end of it, the learner show has all the tools needed to troubleshoot motors.

 

Determining Causes of Failure

 

In the next module, our troubleshooting simulation, a learner puts all of these skills to the test by troubleshooting over 40 faults related to motors in our garage door simulation, but more on that soon!

How do you approach troubleshooting 3-phase motors, what are some of the common issues you see and how do you go about fixing them? Let us know at [email protected]

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What You Need To Know About The International Electrical Standards

What You Need To Know About The International Electrical Standards

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 standard and Europe follows the International Electrical Code (IEC) while North America follows the 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 marrettes when you were expecting a terminal block?

International Standards 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 with the ability to learn in either North American or International 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 the International Standards and well as North American. 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 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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