Tuesday, 09 May 2017 05:18

Practising what we Preach.

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| Auckland - May 2017 | Local engineering company reaps the benefit from investing in extended software training with CADPRO Systems following their purchase of new CNC machinery. 


Training keeps staff fit for purpose

At Howick, whenever we sell a customer a new framing machine, we strongly recommend that they undertake specialist software training to get the most out of their investment. Even if the buyer is familiar with current machine use, there are always things that you can learn to be more productive. While some customers might baulk at ongoing training costs, we believe that investing in your operators and providing refresher courses, can only lead to improved productivity and output.

We practise what we preach

We decided to put our money where our mouth is when we recently purchased two new CNC machines. Although our operators had previously taken part in CNC training and our design team had been using SOLIDWORKS since 1998, we signed up with the supplier for training.

Even before the equipment arrived, we arranged for the team to do some initial training for HSM Works - the CAM package that integrates our designs to the machining centres. What we soon realised is that there was a lot of tooling and work holding to understand, as well as how our design effects the machining process.

Training and support

When the machines arrived, our two main operators received the standard training which, as anticipated with any new technology, was something of a steep learning curve. Once we had been running for a few weeks, we realised that there was still a knowledge gap which would only be closed through further training.

While we were having regular contact and great support from the team at HAAS Factory Outlet NZ, CADpro (HSM Works) and Sandvik Tooling, we wanted to accelerate our learning curve even faster. Understanding that we had already invested a significant amount in tooling, software, PCs and the machines themselves, we decided it was time to look at investing in our people more.

This involved getting a member of the team from CADpro in 1 day a week for 6 weeks to help us with on-the-job training. Although a significant cost, the value of the exercise can be easily seen through the accelerated learning and production it provided.

Our team got a massive boost from learning on live jobs with the trainer and were able to continue production during the week, noting down queries for the trainer to help resolve at the next session. This meant the team could keep moving forward with confidence. A great example of this is that through training, we have improved the engraving time from 27 minutes to 47 seconds on our Haas ST35 machine.

Keep up the good work

As a business, one thing we have always done since we started using Solidworks is take the yearly 1 day update course to look at new features. We find that the most valuable part of the day is when we roll out our list of things that are challenging or annoying us and receiving immediate resolutions.

The cost of sending our design team offsite for a day is quickly recouped in efficiency gains.

For us, investing in additional training was quickly recouped when you consider we achieved full production in 3 months, vs the anticipated 18 months.

Howick - here to help

For those looking at investing in a Howick FRAMA Roll Forming machine, or existing customers looking to get more out of their machine, I would suggest you talk to your chosen software partner about what they can offer training-wise to get the most out of your investment.

We have recently employed Davy Binois (a former employee at Vertex in the UK) who has trained many of our European customers. He is now New Zealand based so that we can upskill our local customers through tailored training and process development specifically related to our products.

The speed at which technology is moving is unprecedented and the adage ‘You don’t know what you don’t know,’ is more relevant now than ever. At Howick, we know our proprietary machines inside out and what capabilities they can offer. If you want to ensure your machines and staff are operating at full capacity, get in touch, and we’ll recommend a course of action – 0064 9 534 5569. www.howickltd.com

For our Customers elsewhere in the world our software partners Tekla, Strucsoft and Vertex can offer local training or remote training.