training on demand
The search for a training source to
satisfy the need for entry-level personnel as well as provide continuing education at all levels of metalworking manufacturing may be over with the launch of
This university without walls on the Internet is the brainchild of metalworking executive Jack Schron Jr., president and CEO, Jergens Inc., Cleveland, OH. Schron has combined the need for training with the information delivery potential of the Internet to come up with a unique solution.
“There is a need for training that reaches all the way from the shopfloor to management levels,” explains Schron. “Entry-level training is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to training needs in metalworking manufacturing today.”
ToolingU is designed to fill the gap in training that has existed since the demise of traditional sources of training, such as corporate-sponsored apprenticeship programs and widely available technical training at the high school level. Also, other sources of training, through seminars and text-based and video-based presentations can be expensive to attend or inconvenient to schedule without interrupting production.
“ToolingU was created to eliminate many of the difficulties associated with traditional training techniques for the manufacturing workforce,” says Schron. “Being online means we can provide learning without downtime. Sessions can be scheduled around production requirements or personal schedules, really at the convenience of the trainee.” In addition to the expenses of travel, lodging and meals associated with training are eliminated.
The fixture professor
ToolingU, however, began as an idea that was far more limited in scope. “We started thinking of creating something called The Fixture Professor. But every time we presented our ideas to interested parties, they seemed to point us to the need for a training solution that was larger in scope.”
The result was ToolingU.com, which is designed to provide web-based training of in-depth real-world technical content tailored to the trainee’s need at basic, intermediate and advanced levels.
“The courses are designed by experts to be current, relevant and interactive,” says Schron. The ToolingU program is both active and interactive. Instruction is delivered using audio, text, photographs and illustrations, as well as full-motion video pop-up keyword glossaries and links to relevant web sites.
As students work their way through their programmed course units, they can interact with faculty members assigned to each department (just like a brick-and-mortar university) or with one another via e-mail, a message board or in a chat room. Students can also visit a Reading Room or browse through a fully operational Bookstore.
In cases where the student’s Internet connection is too slow, a multimedia CD-ROM is supplied to supplement the course work and deliver the required video and images. Lessons can even be downloaded to handheld PDA devices for anytime, anywhere studying (on airplanes while traveling, for example).
Topics are developed in conjunction with leading companies as sponsoring expert resources.
The knowledge providers
“These are not commercials, nor are they intended to be,” says Schron. Sponsors do have broad rights, however, to employ ToolingU material in their own internal and external training and marketing programs.
Course offerings and their sponsors at this writing include metalcutting (Valenite), workholding (Jergens), CNC (Cuyahoga Community College) and materials (Castle Metals). Future department offerings will include metalforming (Dayton Progress) and material handing (Crane Training), as well as quality and welding.
Coursework runs the gamut of technical knowledge from the most basic concepts to the sophisticated, advanced technologies that are changing the face of manufacturing.
Current course offerings include:
- Jigs and fixtures
- Supporting and locating principles
- Clamping basics
- Tool body construction
- Drill bushing selection
- Metal removal process
- What is cutting?
- Machines for metalcutting
- Cutting processes
- Definition and history of CNC
- Mechanics of CNC
- Basics of the CNC turning center
- Part program
- Introduction to materials
- Structure of materials
- Mechanical properties of metal
- Metal classification
Future courses will explore everything from the basics of metalforming to the physical properties of metals and metals manufacturing. Because ToolingU is web-based, training is infinitely scaleable and portable, says Schron. “The training is available to as many employees as needed wherever they are, as many times as necessary.” It is expected that ToolingU will appeal to major corporations and their HR departments, as well as smaller shops and contract manufacturers. Interest has run high since the initial launch of the web site.
Accountability is built right into the program. Students can gage their own mastery of the material through the quizzes they take after completing each unit. Sponsoring employers can check student progress through an administrative function that supplies them with reports on how much material has been completed. In addition, final exams can be printed out and administered to employees in a controlled setting. Students earn certificates of completion for all classes successfully completed.
Registration at ToolingU entitles the student to access the course or department material for one full year.
A demonstration and information about registering at ToolingU are available by visiting www.toolingu.com.