BERT MAES

The Future of CNC Manufacturing Education – CNC Manufacturing, Education Reform & Change Management News.

Posts Tagged ‘creativity’

A weak manufacturing sector is like having a weak immune system

Posted by Bert Maes on April 5, 2012


Like This!

Every lost manufacturing job means the loss of around 2.3 other jobs in the economy (e.g. in research and design). Manufacturing’s decline slows economic growth. While manufacturing represents 10% of the jobs in the economy, job loss in manufacturing hits nearly 30% of the economy.

There is a structural weakness in our manufacturing. Our manufacturing is not competitive. Invasion of import competition from China was responsible for between one‐quarter to more than one‐half of the lost manufacturing jobs in the 2000s.

A new report – published by The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation – states that “the loss of manufacturing is due to underinvestment in manufacturing technology support policies (…), among others.

Underinvestment in medium- and high-technology is causing a structural decline of our economy. To be able to use those technologies, we of course need high-tech skills.

So the future of manufacturing begins with education, and with the resulting high-skilled top talent.

The current situation of manufacturing is like having a weakened immune system.

Without the right system of cells you will never keep the integrity of the body intact.

The body has soldiers, members of the immune system army:  the B-cell and the T-cell. The dutiful soldiers get into action the moment any foreign substance or agent enters our body. B-cells circulate all around the body in the bloodstream, and eventually bind to the agent. T-cells circulate in the bloodstream and lymph and kill the agent. The blood and lymph systems are responsible for transporting the soldiers of the immune system.

  • The blood stream is our education system.
  • The B-cells are our high-level technologies.
  • The T-cells are our highly-skilled workers.

They are our protective shields to combat infections. If our cells are not strong enough, viruses are attacking our vital organs.

Germany, Korea and Japan have transformed to high-skilled manufacturing. They have a significantly higher share of their manufacturing output in high-tech and medium-high-tech industries than the United States; they have transformed their manufacturing industries toward more complex, higher-value-added production. They face less competition, so they increase their manufacturing employment.

More and stronger cells, a better blood stream, a stronger immune system that shows higher productivity is required for strong health.

More students, more advanced technology, better education is required for economic success.

With a strong manufacturing immune system, the economy would be much healthier.

Add to: Facebook | Digg | Del.icio.us | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Blinklist | Twitter | Technorati | Yahoo Buzz | Newsvin

Advertisements

Posted in economy, education, Furture of Manufacturing, Solutions, Statistics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

German manufacturers recruit professionals from Spain and Bulgaria

Posted by Bert Maes on July 25, 2011


Like This!

The German manufacturers lack skilled workers. So they are urgently looking for young engineers and experts in crisis-torn Spain. Initial negotiations are successful.

But kids in technical education have to know foreign languages!

High unemployment in Spain encouraged workers to emigrate

In Baden-Wuerttemberg alone, several thousand posts are vacant. We are now looking to the neighboring EU countries to acquire staff. The time seems favorable, because Spain experiences a very high level of unemployment, especially among young people. In Spain, many young engineers are unemployed,” said Dr. Beate Raabe of the Central Placement and Placement Services of the Employment Agency.

Since the beginning, the authorities have encouraged recruitment on the Iberian Peninsula. This pleases Ulrich P. Hermani, Managing Director of VDMA Baden-Wuerttemberg. “We strongly support the initiative and pushed to have this,” says Schwabe, who has personally appealed to the Regional Directorate of the Agency’s work.

Its member companies are hoping for well-trained professionals from the Spanish automotive industry. The mechanical and technical ability of the Spaniards are more than ever in demand between Friedrichshafen and Mannheim. And the Iberians seem ready for Teutonic challenges.

Wittenstein has already placed job advertisements in Spain

Wittenstein AG doesn’t have Spaniards yet, but they have placed job offers on site. Important for the company is that they know spoken and written German. German courses are available for Spanish experts.

The departure of the sun, paella and bullfighting is sweetened by a safe workplace and a long-term perspective, according to VDMA. “It is known throughout Europe, that Germany has come well out of the crisis and is looking for professionals,” the employment agency writes.

But Hermani, Association Manager, doesn’t expect a big rush. “We must not give ourselves the illusion that this will solve the skills shortage. There is not enough influx from abroad, and I mean all foreign countries,” Dr. Hannes Hesse adds, Executive Director of the VDMA, Frankfurt. He is counting on the students. “We think especially the foreign students are perfect immigrants. After the end of their studies, they should remain in Germany”.

Bulgaria also interesting for professionals recruitment

Nevertheless: his colleague Hermani looks to Eastern Europe and especially to Bulgaria, having a long tradition of mechanical engineering. In neighboring Hungary, many experts acknowledge, no specialists are available. A scenario for Spain? “With the recruitment of unemployed candidates, we relieve the Spanish labor market locally,” says Raabe of the employment agency.

But is it morally legitimate and economically sensible to make use of an ailing partner country and its expertise, and in retrospect support him with millions of euros, economists ask themselves.

Who is helping the Spaniards, to take advantage of economic misery in the absence of young professionals?

Source: MaschinenMarkt – Robert Weber

Add to: Facebook | Digg | Del.icio.us | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Blinklist | Twitter | Technorati | Yahoo Buzz | Newsvine

Posted in Policy | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Truth about…Youth

Posted by Bert Maes on June 14, 2011


Like This!

What motivates young people around the world today? Money? Fame? Justice?

McCann Worldgroup asked that question to 7000 young people around the world: US, UK, China, India, Spain, Mexico, Brazil, Singapore, Malaysia, Chile, South Africa, Italy, Germany, Korea, Japan, Australia and Philippines.

 The same three motivations are ranked highly in every country.

 

And it is technology – most often their phone and laptop – which fuels the three motivations above. It is the deep relationship with technology that allows them to connect and to influence justice for a new era.

  • The need for connection and community is the most fundamental motivation for young people. They want to connect, share and broadcast through digital cameras, cheap editing software, design programs and blogging platforms.
  • For this reason: to be remembered, not for their beauty, their power or their influence, but simply by the quality of their human relationships and being loved by many people.
  • Connecting to a broader network of friends has replaced the need to belong to a tight-knit group of friends.
  • They long for new tools to broadcast, share, entertain, make new connections, beat their friends, and narrate their lives.
  • They avoid all impositions, rigid rules and structures where they can’t negotiate.
  • But these tools should come from people that really care. Youth is disgusted by corporate people doing good just to make themselves look good. From a young person’s point of view, the worst thing a brand can do us make a promise it doesn’t keep.
  • Young people want to change the world. Social media allows them to share information, to join groups on a wide range of topics (everything from corruption in politics to freedom of speech or human rights abuses) and to build networks of support and encouragement.
  • They believe technology brands like Google, Microsoft, Apple and Facebook will solve most of the problems the word faces today, from environmental issues to food shortages, from freedom of speech to privacy and terrorism.

I am wondering how these technology brands will save the world.
Have you got insights for me?

Add to: Facebook | Digg | Del.icio.us | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Blinklist | Twitter | Technorati | Yahoo Buzz | Newsvine

Posted in Policy, Solutions, Statistics, Value of CNC | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

[VIDEO] Why Manufacturing is so Important to Each of Our Lives

Posted by Bert Maes on June 8, 2011


Posted in Value of CNC | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

[VIDEO] Craig Barrett: “To be able to go forward, you need knowledge of Engineering”

Posted by Bert Maes on April 21, 2011


Like This!

If you have a few minutes of time, please listen to Craig R. Barrett, former CEO of Intel Corporation about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) – or read his main thoughts below:

  • Science, Technology, Engineering and Math is the foundation of what the 21st century has to hold in terms of economic development. It is the foundation of the future.
  • Every industry you can think about that is really key for the 21st century is founded in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.
  • Science, Technology, Engineering and Math are required to go forward. The economy’s future is very dependent on the quality of the workforce. They are the ones that add more value. To be able to innovate, to be able to add value, to be able to do something new, you need the best educated workforce WITH knowledge Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.
  • The most common educational background of the Fortune 500 CEOs today is in fact engineering education. It shows that problem solving and math is driving business going forward.
  • The only way to go forward is improving STEM education. That is not only the role of government or a school district. The private sector needs to get involved and rally together with financial support, advocacy support and program support.

Craig R. Barrett hits the nail on the head, isn’t it?

Have a look what Haas Automation is doing in the field of CNC Manufacturing with the Haas Technical Education Center program: http://haascnc.com/htec/ebook/ It brings Craig Barrett’s vision into practice.


Add to: Facebook | Digg | Del.icio.us | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Blinklist | Twitter | Technorati | Yahoo Buzz | Newsvine

Posted in Policy, Solutions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Finland Gets Its First Haas Technical Education Center

Posted by Bert Maes on April 11, 2011


Like This!

Finland is one of the world’s strongest nations for manufacturing and education. But often the link is missing between schools and the local CNC enterprises. Haas Automation now partnered with the North Karelia College of Technology  and Culture in Joensuu to build those connections towards the best professional training.

As well as being the most northerly, this is also the first Haas Technical Education Center (HTEC) in Finland,” says Bert Maes, HTEC coordinator for Haas Automation Europe. “The OECD acknowledges that the country is one of the world’s strongest nations for manufacturing and the quality of its education. We’re delighted to support the next phase of excellence: building long-term collaboration between technical schools and CNC firms.

Jyrki Turunen, school principal said: “Our vision for the students and for industry in North Karelia is focused on one, very important goal: to create a modern learning environment that will enable us to encourage and nurture ‘super technicians’ who will go farther in their education and careers than they or anyone else can currently imagine. We want to make CNC so interesting that it absorbs them during the daytime, and so fascinating that when they go home they dream about it at night.”

In 2004 and 2008 North Karelia College earned the Quality Award for Vocational Education and Training from the Ministry of Education. Last year it came second. Ara Hayrabedian, international coordinator at the college believes that being part of the HTEC programme will help the school secure the number one spot again. “The partnership with Haas Automation and its Finnish representative Grönblom brings a new way of thinking. Their support is helping us to develop new methods of teaching, to increase the motivation and to improve the skills of the young people who study here. We will also benefit from the international connections that the HTEC program brings, when we establish links with other HTECs across Europe.

Representing the local Haas distributor Oy Grönblom Ab, Petteri Heinonen voiced the view of all those actively engaged in supplying and using manufacturing technology. “Technical education should closely follow industry’s development and needs,” he said. “In the future manufacturing will be more and more technology-driven. Students at the North Karelia College will get the best opportunities and companies will get the skills they need thanks to the professional training and the Haas CNC machine tools the college is now providing.

Students at the North Karelia College of Technology and Culture, Joensuu, Finland (Pohjois-Karjalan Ammattiopisto), will be instructed on three Haas CNC machine tools (a TL-1 Toolroom Lathe, a TM-1 Toolroom Mill, and an SL-20 CNC turning centre) and a range of state-of-the-art production equipment supplied by the HTEC industry partners.

Add to: Facebook | Digg | Del.icio.us | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Blinklist | Twitter | Technorati | Yahoo Buzz | Newsvine

Posted in Own Press Releases | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Manufacturing in the backyard garage changes things

Posted by Bert Maes on March 29, 2011


Like This!

Manufacturing is very much alive. But you don’t see it. Manufacturing is an invisible sector that is building, making and creating all the things you are using every day. But you don’t know it.

What is happening in your backyard? There is probably someone in his or her garage making money transforming metal or aluminium into new products using his or her advanced skills and cutting edge technology.

These people in their small manufacturing businesses, often micro-factories occupying just a few square meters of floor space – probably working almost next to your home – are the driving force of your wealth and your quality of life. Economic growth is generated locally, not by nations. The source of prosperity is always local! And that wealth always involves manufacturing.

So the small manufacturing companies are not solely there to make money for themselves; they are playing a bigger role.

And I see that students are becoming very aware of that. Andrew Reynolds Smith of GKN told the audience at the recent Rebuilding UK Manufacturing Summit that young people want to go into manufacturing, because it is their best chance of changing things.

How can that be encouraged further?

We urgently need to build a strong educational system… That is our weakness. Manufacturing education IS economic development.

Add to: Facebook | Digg | Del.icio.us | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Blinklist | Twitter | Technorati | Yahoo Buzz | Newsvine

Posted in Conversation Starter | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Socrates and Jesus: True Manufacturing Craftsmen

Posted by Bert Maes on February 10, 2011


Like This!

Back in the days, craftsmen working in wood, stone and metal were professionals of high standing in the community. Joseph from Nazareth -for example- was a carpenter that was able to cut and trim trees, manage the forests so that people would have all the wood and lumber they needed in future generations,  he knew how to lay a foundation, design and erect walls and ceilings of private houses or public buildings. It is said that Joseph introduced his son Jesus to this active and demanding profession at an early age.

In his father’s workshop,” the French author Philippe Le Guillou writes, “Jesus had his preferred place: a beam supporting a platform that has never been built … While pulling off the bark of freshly cut wood, he inhaled the aroma that then floated in the workshop and into the house.  Jesus was still too young to accompany his father climbing into the mountains to choose and cut trees. Instead, he spent his time repeating the litany of names of the tools, an activity that never bored him. And he kept asking Joseph if he could use the block, the working bench, the wood shaping plane, the blades, the molds, the jointers, the wood chips,…[1]

Another example of wise people that were influenced by the manufacturing experience was Socrates, as reported by André Bonnard [2]. “Socrates was a laborer, born from working people. His father was one of the stonemasons who squared, sealed and polished the blocks that were used to build the Parthenon. Socrates enjoyed observing those craftsmen. He marveled at the accuracy the workers put in their gestures. He dreamed of doing the same: using a set of fixed rules to adapt a block of stone towards its end goal. A noble profession.”

This common experience of the workshop, the contact with the material may have “sculpted” the souls of Socrates and Jesus. Without a doubt the lessons they learned at their father’s right hand influenced the thinking of those young men. They must have experienced that the strength, the precision and the patience needed to work the stubbornness of the material are essential in day-to-day life too.

The family workshop in-formed them, probably less in their physical vigor, rather in their power of thought. The experience of resistance and roughness of things builds a great soul. The experience of true manufacturing craftsmanship builds wise men and women…


[1] Own translation from French : Philippe Le Guillou, Douze années dans l’enfance du monde, Gallimard, 1999, p. 39-40.
[2]
Own translation from French : André Bonnard, Socrate selon Platon, L’Aire, 1996, p. 16-17.

Add to: Facebook | Digg | Del.icio.us | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Blinklist | Twitter | Technorati | Yahoo Buzz | Newsvine

Posted in Conversation Starter | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

The World’s Fastest Car – To Inspire Engineers

Posted by Bert Maes on February 8, 2011


Like This!

Construction work formally begins this week on what is expected to be the world’s fastest car. Called Bloodhound, the vehicle has been designed to reach 1,000mph (1,600km/h).

Even cooler is this: the project has been conceived to inspire school children around the world to take up science and engineering.

BRILLIANT UK MANUFACTURING!

‘to inspire engineers’

Add to: Facebook | Digg | Del.icio.us | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Blinklist | Twitter | Technorati | Yahoo Buzz | Newsvine

Posted in Solutions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Ideal Teacher and the Real Manufacturing Opportunities

Posted by Bert Maes on February 4, 2011


Like This!

Just yesterday I have been in France at what is called the WorldSkills France competition finals (Olympiades des Métiers), a big feast honoring young skilled craftsmen in industrial trades, including the trade of advanced manufacturing machining.

The hundreds of young students I have seen competing there were working so hard, so motivated, so energized and they were so proud of what they were creating. We actually made a video on the event that I will post later on when editing is done.

I was especially honored to also meet a machining teacher with 20 years of turning and milling practice and 24 years of teaching experience. For me he seems to be the ideal CNC teacher:

  • He doesn’t have a binder under his arm: he detests the teachers that focus all resources into book theory and do not offer a real hands-on degree.
  • He takes the time and has the kindness and patience to teach the practical basics in blueprint reading, engineering, design, metallurgy, materials, speeds and feeds, cutting tools, programming, math, safety, and communication. His students receive the breadth training that is required to sculpt a well-rounded, versatile machining specialist… far more than a button pusher, parts changer or a trained monkey at a CNC machine.
  • He battles constantly to always have access to the latest machining equipment. The world is changing at a dramatic pace and today’s young people are used to constant change and challenges. In order to attract them, the machining school department must continually develop to offer the tools and practices that show a future.
  • He lets students develop their own metal artwork for their final exams. He requires his students to be creative and to make anything they want to. Together they develop great projects. They never experience boredom.
  • He takes them outside the school to see metal pieces perform in the real world: planes, cars, medical devices, musical instruments, jewelery, all kinds of sports, and so on. That builds self-confidence and passion.

This guy makes schooling and the trade very interesting. Then, there is no end to the students’ engagement. He plants seeds for cultivating those young people to advance in the machining trade. His students even cried when he announced to leave his previous school. This teacher makes advanced machining manufacturing a fascinating career choice. All of his students were hired quickly.

This story is only successful because of the hard work of this teacher, school management, parents, and students. I hear many people say that young people do not want to work hard in school anymore: they take the route of least resistance; they want to make money with limited effort in no time. In this age obtaining information, communication, merchandise, food and practically anything is effortless at the touch of a button. So it should be the same for money, they think.

True, probably money can be made much faster by not pursuing a manufacturing career. But… who are the heroes of our economy? The talented, rough and intelligent individuals that start a manufacturing business in their garage and turn out amazing products. Computerized equipment, CNC machines, CAD/CAM, lean processes and the internet have greatly enhanced manufacturing job satisfaction, while reaching an audience they never could have 10 or 15 years ago.

An inspiring example is the story of Mike who started his own manufacturing company at the age of 15.

The opportunities to work, make money and grow in the metal manufacturing field are real.

  • Metals were one of the few durable goods where manufacturing increased in 2010. Employment in fabricated metal products manufacturing increased by 4.6%.

But those manufacturing companies have difficulties in recruiting the talented young machining experts having the right skills for their high-level job openings. All over France, school machining departments are being closed as they don’t get sufficient enrollment.

Considering that millions of people are actively seeking work and still cannot obtain employment and considering that in twenty years 90% of the current machinists are retiring, it is now more important than ever to do start better teaching with better equipment and better marketing for CNC manufacturing!

Add to: Facebook | Digg | Del.icio.us | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Blinklist | Twitter | Technorati | Yahoo Buzz | Newsvine

Posted in Policy, Solutions, Statistics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Educational Status Quo and Manufacturing Emergency

Posted by Bert Maes on December 15, 2010


Like This!

The 2009 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) data have been released and pretty much show that in general the past 9 years not a lot changed. Nothing suggests that we have made either substantial progress or experienced a marked decline in basic skills in reading, math and science.

That is a decade of status quo in most of the Western world. And I have got the strong feeling that both education and manufacturing lack a sense of urgency and a contagious enthusiasm. There seems no great dissatisfaction with this status quo. There is no fire. There seems to be no pressing need.

That was different in October 1957: the Soviet Union beat us into space by launching a satellite known as Sputnik.  This immediately prompted fears that we had lost our worldwide dominance in the scientific arena and as a result were horrified by the thought of a space-based missile attack.

That was the wake-up call that caused the United States to boost investment in science and math education. Under the threat of national security, Congress immediately provided nearly $1 billion over four years to support improvements in teaching of science and mathematics, and fund low-interest loans for students pursuing higher education.

There we made a decision, we’ve put our minds to it, we got people together, we focused, we identified a very coherent and very particular vision of what to achieve, we formulated just a few very specific principles and above all: we got unified around an insistent, consistent and persistent shared practice.

And as a result, we not only did surpass the Soviets, we developed new technologies, industries, and jobs.

Since then, we have dismantled the essential support systems which helped make those gains possible. I am particularly thinking about two foundations of every economy: the education system and all manufacturing activities of building, creating, making life-saving things.

Both education and manufacturing have eroded rapidly. Investments have been neglected. This raises doubts about our future economic vitality, at a time when international competition from Asia and the Southern Hemisphere will pose serious challenges during this century.

It is only by creating great school cultures and great learning environments – where children truly can achieve great things and physically create a whole variety of great things – that we can be competitive internationally over the long run.

We cannot afford to cut back on creative technical education. But first we need to have a new sort of Sputnik event. We need a crack in the shell to move people. It seems to be very difficult for human beings to anticipate long-term forces in society and to jump over the walls of quick economic profitability, discomfort and immediate rewards.

Few will voluntarily embrace changes that make their lives more difficult. So few are aware of the importance and educational emergency.

The Huffington Post reports that it is nothing short of tragic to see that our kids aren’t getting the math and science skills they’ll need to thrive in their lives and jobs. “Government data show that almost all of the 30 fastest-growing occupations in the next decade will require a firm grounding in STEM.

>> Dear reader: what can change the status quo in education and/or in manufacturing?

Add to: Facebook | Digg | Del.icio.us | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Blinklist | Twitter | Technorati | Yahoo Buzz | Newsvine

Posted in Conversation Starter | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Future manufacturing depends on young talent with advanced analytical skills

Posted by Bert Maes on December 2, 2010


Like This!

We don’t know how the manufacturing industry will look like in 15 years. But Accenture gives it a try in “A perspective on tomorrow’s high-performance manufacturing firms: what’s your plan for 2025?

The management consulting company touches concepts such as hyper-customization & crowdsourcing, respond more quickly and accurately to customer needs, and tightly align with suppliers.

But they admit that all these strategic activities and new models hinges on having young people with the right skills on the shop floor.

A first-order challenge in this regard will be getting enough people with the right “thinking” skills (beyond operator skills or pure technical skills), coaching and management skills to regions where operations are expanding or being put in place. Advanced analytical skills will be in especially high demand, says Accenture.

The challenge today is to teach young people the skills to interpret quantitative methods from data in customer behavior, the supply chain, product development, and production lines, and then use those insights to shape business decisions and, ultimately, to improve outcomes.

Manufacturers seems to have loads of shop floor data, but many struggle to make sense of it all. The goal is to use real-time data from shop-floor systems to quickly anticipate problems in cost, quality, productivity, or customer service so that staff can make immediate course corrections.

But, shortfalls of skilled labor are projected for the fastest-growing markets. India faces a potential shortage of 2.45 million engineers by 2020, and China’s gap in skilled professionals could reach 5.9 million by 2015. This raises serious questions about whether education systems, societies and individuals understand the demand issue correctly. The younger generation does not step up its technical, maths and business management skills.

And a lack of quality training and education also contributes to the shortages. Given the increasing complexity of technology, people will need more quality education, not less. And this needs to be done on the most modern equipment. None of the young talents will want to learn old systems.

A great approach is the Stepping Up To Algebra program, designed for 7th grade students who struggle in math. Xavier testifies “I never liked math, I always got bad grades, until I got into Stepping Up To Algebra. My teacher made me feel like I could be successful in math and that I was good enough to go to college. The field trip to San Jose State and the engineering department was great, and made me start thinking about college. Now I want to be an engineer.

But even if the quality of education improves, there appears to be a cultural aversion among youngsters to enter the STEM disciplines. Parents must encourage their children to enter these disciplines. Parent engagement is the cornerstone of academic achievement. And studying in technical fields is absolutely worth it.

Related posts:

Add to: Facebook | Digg | Del.icio.us | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Blinklist | Twitter | Technorati | Yahoo Buzz | Newsvine

Posted in Solutions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

[VIDEO] European Commission Promotes Metalworking

Posted by Bert Maes on December 1, 2010


Besides a European manufacturing Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis, the European Commission now developed a video promoting the EU metalworking and metal articles industries.

Aimed at secondary school graduates and students, the clip illustrates that the metal-transforming industry offers a dynamic environment where innovation, development and potential for exciting careers are the reasons for continuing investment.

Illustrating a series of shots of young people enjoying leisure activities, the video clip projects them into a near future in which their career in the metalworking industries will have a significant impact for all of us.

Posted in Solutions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Machine tool manufacturing and 15-billion years of cosmic evolution

Posted by Bert Maes on November 18, 2010


Like This!

Story by Matt Bailey

If you are machine tool manufacturing specialist or a student considering a long-term career as a CNC technologist, the following might spur you on and add a little inspiration to your day.

MATT BAILEY - Technology marketing communications and PR professional

In 1979, American astronomer and astrophysicist Carl Sagan co-wrote and presented an epic, 13-part TV documentary called Cosmos, in which the Cornell professor contemplated the origins and the immensity of the universe, the wonders of the solar system and the possibility and likelihood of extra-terrestrial life. The show was a huge success, on both sides of the Atlantic, due in no small part to its host’s ability to communicate complex and fascinating concepts.

In the very first episode Sagan used the familiar Roman calendar to illustrate the enormity of time since the universe was formed, during what astrophysicists refer to as the ‘Big Bang’, 15-billion years ago. He asked his audience to imagine that each month, from January to December was equivalent to one-and-a-quarter-billion-years. Each day using this scale is ‘worth’ approx 40-million years and each second, 500 years.

Sagan went on to explain that if we imagine the Cosmos began on January 1st, it was in May that the Milky Way was born and September when our Sun and Earth were formed. Early life, he explained, began soon after, but the first humans only appeared on the cosmic scene sometime around the penultimate day of the year. It wasn’t until December 31st 11:59 and 20 seconds, however, that humans applied their ability to make and use tools, organised themselves into societies and built cites. ‘We humans, appear on the cosmic calendar so recently,’ said Sagan, ‘that our recorded history occupies only the last few seconds of the last minute of December 31st.

The first, primitive tools were found in Tanzania, on the African continent, and have been dated at around 2 million years. Using Sagan’s scale, CNC machine tools, and all of the modern accoutrements and conveniences that we create with them, including aircraft, motor vehicles, domestic appliances, computers, medical devices, space craft and satellites – we’ve engineered and manufactured in the last seconds, just before the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, where we live now.

We owe our standard of living to tools and their evolution and our future depends on how we choose to use them. When Sagan recorded Cosmos the world had a stockpile of 50,000 nuclear warheads, also made using numerically controlled machine tools, capable of destroying every city on the planet several times over. Thankfully, the world’s nuclear arsenal has been reduced dramatically and the global arms race is, we hope, forever behind us. But, unless we find new and better ways to engineer and make the things we take for granted; ways that do less damage to the environment and use less of our irreplaceable resources, we still run the risk of what came to be known in the Cold War as Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD).

We are the legacy of 15-billion years of cosmic evolution,’ said Sagan. ‘We have a choice: we can enhance life and come to know the Universe that made us, or we can squander our 15-billion year heritage in meaningless self-destruction. What happens in the first few seconds of the next cosmic year depends on what we do in the last few seconds of this one.

CNC machine tools, and the people who operate them, will play a vital role.


Add to: Facebook | Digg | Del.icio.us | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Blinklist | Twitter | Technorati | Yahoo Buzz | Newsvine

Posted in Conversation Starter | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Some publicity for my own projects: Haas Continues To Support Schools for a New Generation of Young CNC Top Talent

Posted by Bert Maes on November 12, 2010


Like This!

European Commission Endorses First European HTEC Student Exchange

The groundbreaking Haas Technical Education Centre (HTEC) CNC training programme recently received a resounding endorsement from the European Commission, which has agreed to sponsor and support the first international HTEC student exchange, in Spring 2011.

Between March 27th and April 9th, ten students and two teachers from the Belgian HTEC VTI St-Lucas Oudenaarde will travel to Sweden where they will work and study at host facility HTEC-Bäckadalsgymnasiet, in Jönköping. This exciting exchange is being staged and managed by Haas Automation Europe and five partner organisations, including the 2 HTECs, the Swedish Haas Factory Outlet (a division of Edströms) and two Swedish manufacturing companies, Linto and Fagerhult.

This is a very exciting development for the two pioneer schools and its students,” says Haas Europe HTEC coordinator, Mr. Bert Maes. “The HTEC network is the ideal platform for connecting schools, CNC teachers and students at an international level. Any school that commits to the HTEC program can benefit from international exchanges, and with the backing of the European Commission, HTEC students have wonderful opportunities to travel and learn.

This exchange program will allow teachers from the Belgian HTEC to cooperate with their Swedish colleagues and exchange ideas and best-practice for training young people as CNC machine tool specialists. At the state-of-the-art Swedish HTEC, the Belgian students will be further familiarised with the latest Haas CNC machine tools, as well as with new techniques in CAD/CAM, automatic welding, industrial design, 3D scanning and vacuum modeling.

The Swedish companies Linto and Fagerhult have agreed to mentor students during the ten days, with each student spending five days at each company. During their time at tool manufacturer Linto, the students will experience how the company’s 14 Haas CNC machines are employed and optimised in a demanding production environment. At Fagerhult, the students will study the manufacture of lighting systems, from raw material through to finished product, with a special focus on energy saving solutions and techniques.

Mr. Maes concludes: “From its investigation, the European Commission has ascertained that this HTEC student exchange is significant for European industry. The students will not only be exposed to innovative technologies, but they will also practice their skills in problem solving and working in teams, as well as learning how to adapt to different work cultures. We believe that companies who eventually hire these young specialists will benefit tremendously from their experience and international outlook.

HTEC – The Concept

The HTEC initiative is a partnership between European educational establishments, Haas Automation Europe (HAE), its distributor-owned HFOs (Haas Factory Outlets) and an alliance of industry leading, CNC technology partners. HAE launched the HTEC programme in 2007 to counter what it regards as one of the greatest threats to the continent’s sustainable economic development: Namely, a shortage of talented and motivated young people entering the precision engineering industry with CNC machining skills.

The programme provides Haas CNC machine tools to educational establishments in Europe, so enabling HTEC students to become familiar with the latest CNC machining technology. This hands-on experience ensures students graduate with transferable skills and better employment opportunities. Haas Technical Education Centres also benefit local and national engineering companies by increasing the supply of well-educated apprentices.

Since launch, the HTEC initiative has expanded rapidly across Europe. Governments – from Sweden to Romania and from Portugal to Russia – have enthusiastically backed the programme and recognise the need to build a stronger manufacturing infrastructure.

The HTEC Industry Partners are some of the best-known names in precision manufacturing technologies and have demonstrated a strong, ongoing commitment to the HTEC objectives, backing them with the investment of time and resources. Currently, the HTEC Industry Partner network comprises KELLER, MasterCam, Esprit, Renishaw, Sandvik Coromant, Schunk, Blaser, Urma, Chick, Air Turbine Technology, Hainbuch, and CIMCOOL.

http://www.HTECnetwork.eu

Add to: Facebook | Digg | Del.icio.us | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Blinklist | Twitter | Technorati | Yahoo Buzz | Newsvine

Posted in Policy, Solutions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

[VIDEO] CNC machines have shaped our lives, our history and our future!

Posted by Bert Maes on November 5, 2010


Like This!

What an AMAZING video, and what a SUPERB message:

For over 200 years, man has been surrounding himself with machines.
They shaped our lives. They shaped our history. And our future.

They changed the very nature of our being.
Everything we touch
is touched by them first.

They are everywhere.

They redefine the boundaries of what is possible
and they push back the edge of our experience.

[CNC] manufacturing is the backbone of our society:
[CNC artists are] engineers, designers and programmers all wrapped in one person,
using processes and technology for extreme achievement.

Turn up your sound for this:

Add to: Facebook | Digg | Del.icio.us | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Blinklist | Twitter | Technorati | Yahoo Buzz | Newsvine

Posted in Value of CNC | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

A video highlighting manufacturing career opportunities

Posted by Bert Maes on October 11, 2010


Posted in Solutions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Manufacturing is dead. Long live manufacturing!

Posted by Bert Maes on September 16, 2010


Like This!

CNC machinists have got difficult times. Although they are in general paid relatively generously (close to $20/hour), there are fewer job openings available for those whose formal education stopped after high school.

It’s not that jobs aren’t being created in manufacturing – they are. But they are fewer in number. Landing such work need certification after rigorous and lengthy course work.

Those manufacturers that are hiring again, demand advanced technical skills, linked with lean manufacturing techniques and labor-saving technology. The employers complain that they can’t find enough qualified workers, although the unemployed often want to find work.

Consider, for instance, the job of a machinist. The basic job function hasn’t changed: machinists produce precision metal parts. But the drills, lathes and mills and other tools they use on the modern factory floor are almost always computer numerically controlled — CNC for short — and only as precise as the instructions provided by their operators.

As a result, machinists today not only need to be able to write basic computer programs — they’re expected to be able to troubleshoot those programs, and rewrite them if necessary, if they encounter problems during production. They’re massively better educated, massively better trained and massively more productive today than they were back in the old days.

When you spend millions of dollars on a machine that does four things, and improves your productivity and accuracy, you can’t just hire somebody out of high school who can’t even do the computations to do the setup. You want someone highly skilled, very technical, very knowledgeable.” (Reuters)

To help bridge that cap, groups like the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council, the National Institute for Metalworking Skills, the National Association of Manufacturers and America’s largest machine tool manufacturer Haas Automation are working with schools around the world to develop programs to give workers the skills and certifications employers want today.

The Lorain County Community College for example offers an intensive, four-month program called “Transformations” that gives laid-off workers the core technology skills they need to find a job quickly. This program has been having a lot of success with laid-off workers like Mark Lute, a 48-year-old electrician who lost his job, after 22 years. Lute is now enrolled in a two-year program, where he’s learning wind turbine maintenance and automation robotics.

A second example: CNC machine tool builder Haas Automation has long been aware of the need for skilled CNC machining specialists, and the looming skills gap resulting from the decline of manufacturing training programs. As part of its service offering, Haas invests in strategic partnerships with all types of learning institutions to offer students a way of gaining production floor experience before entering the real world. Worldwide, more than 1500 high schools, colleges and universities participate in the so-called “Haas Technical Education Center (HTEC)” network.

Targeting inspiring schools with dedicated teachers searching for innovative technologies and the most effective way to teach, the HTEC program not only helps train skilled workers for modern industry, but also supports in developing the future owners and supervisors of operations with the right self-management skills, teamwork skills and -with frequent international student and teacher exchanges- international cultural awareness is covered as well.

From my experience in working with principals, teachers and students the past half decade, I know it is very difficult to get kids motivated into wanting to have careers in manufacturing given the fact that in every family there’s probably been some brother, sister, uncle, father, mother who has experienced a job loss and doesn’t speak kindly of the industry.

But think about it: can you build stuff as creative as you want, in those new jobs below $15/hour in service industries like retail sales, food preparation, waste removal, or health care?

Main source: James B. Kelleher (September 2010) SPECIAL REPORT- Blue-collar, unemployed and seeing red. http://link.reuters.com/heg83p

Add to: Facebook | Digg | Del.icio.us | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Blinklist | Twitter | Technorati | Yahoo Buzz | Newsvine

Posted in Solutions, Statistics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Manufacturing education IS economic development

Posted by Bert Maes on August 30, 2010


Like This!

Based on thoughts of Ryan Guina

There is no way to determine the absolute value of manufacturing education – it depends on the degree you get, how you use it, how productive you are, the exact career field you are in, the skills you bring to the table, the ability to continue learning, and many other factors.

Anyhow, many sources and research clearly shows that training and graduating in manufacturing and engineering usually means higher pay. As such manufacturing education IS economic development. “For a nation education is clearly as important as economics.” (Ralph W. Tyler)

  • Graduating, acquiring a diploma – no matter what field – adds an average additional income of €6000/$7600 per year. That brings increased investments and spending, generating tens of thousands extra jobs every year, and hundreds of millions of extra tax revenue per year. If all the students who drop out over a decade were to graduate instead, they would earn an additional $3 trillion in wages. That amount of money would do a lot to make the economic recovery that is now shakily underway sustainable in the years to come.
  • Manufacturing workers earn between 23% and 30% more than the average wage for the private sector workforce. Why is that? A lot of workers were pushed out of the industry due to automation and advanced manufacturing methods. The guys who can survive the automation and robot trend are more technically capable than anyone else. So they are paid very well.
  • Even if you do go to college, learn a trade in the summers. You’re likely to be less damaged, and quite possibly better paid, as an independent tradesman than as a cubicle-dwelling tender of information systems or low-level creative.” (Mathew Crawford in his book Shop Class as Soul Craft)

For example, Ryan Guina reports on one of his friends, an electrician in his 40’s, owning a small business focusing on residential and small commercial electric installation and repair jobs, employing a couple of people and making €200,000 a year. The best part is his job will never go away. People will always need electricians and mechanics.

But these kinds of jobs – electrician, plumbers, mechanics, CNC machining specialists – require

  • passion,
  • independence,
  • being a ‘contrarian’,
  • hard work,
  • challenging what is,
  • creativity to solve problems in ways that haven’t been done before at lower costs,
  • planning constructively in association with others,
  • willingness to share power collectively,
  • putting in that extra effort,
  • and a continuing desire to learn and improve.

Many schools don’t seem to teach that…

We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.” (Tyler Durden, Fight Club)

Add to: Facebook | Digg | Del.icio.us | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Blinklist | Twitter | Technorati | Yahoo Buzz | Newsvine

Posted in Solutions, Statistics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Future of Modern Manufacturing Explained in 12 Tweets

Posted by Bert Maes on August 12, 2010


by Peter Zelinski ~ mmsonline.com

1. Technology is pushing in two directions—bigger and smaller. Manufacturers will continue to find fresh fields by meeting the demands for workpieces that are significantly different in scale from mid-sized parts with mid-sized tolerances. (see article: Going to Extremes)

2. The cost of manufacturing overseas is rising, but the cost of manufacturing in lower-cost areas of the U.S. is holding firm. The smart choice is proving to be not outsourcing internationally, but outsourcing from one U.S. region to another. Pennsylvania for example is less expensive than Chicago or Detroit. (also see article: “In tough times, many companies turn to outsourcing, yet that strategy may doom their products“)

3. As material prices increase the cost of stock, and as technologies such as 3D printing improve, manufacturers will increasingly employ additive part-making as an additional option alongside CNC machining(also read: “In the manufacturing industry of the future, sophisticated 3D automation and robots will play the key roles.”)

4. Even though manufacturing facilities have reduced their staff, demographics still predict an industry-challenging lack of technical and engineering talent. Young people are not entering manufacturing at a rate that is anywhere near fast enough to replace those who will retire.  (Check: US Report Skills Shortage and EU Report Skills Shortage)

5. On the other hand, population trends also bode well for U.S. manufacturers. A surge in new consumers is coming: the Millenials. This upcoming generation’s expectation of variety will favor short production runs. This in turn will favor an increased reliance on manufacturing in the United States.  (also view: beat offshoring by having a local ready stock and producing faster than firms with foreign factories.)

6. Manufacturing enterprises are much more diverse than what the government and media seem to be able to imagine. Much of our national conversation about manufacturing still focuses almost solely on “factory” production. (see article: The “factory” is one way we organize people and capital to produce real and useful things – but team of mechanically-minded people who come together is just enough)

7. The skills and other attributes needed in modern manufacturing are getting more difficult to define, particularly for small and lean facilities. The people who can best recognize these attributes are likely to be the ones who already have them. A manufacturer’s current employees are probably its best link to new employees. (find out: The 7 skills we should teach in technical education.)

8. Traditionally, the start-up shop was a job shop. Tomorrow, it might just as well be a captive shop. Cheaper, smaller and easier manufacturing equipment will produce a new sector: “basement manufacturing” of niche or custom products. (see articles: (1) machine tools used in non-shop locations and (2) the small batch movement, an example of the current Third Industrial Revolution in manufacturing)

9. Tool steel? Try tool aluminum. As product lives shrink, steel won’t automatically be the moldmaking material of choice. Increasingly, what was once called “soft” tooling will be seen as full production tooling.

10. Similar to what occurred in the aircraft industry some time ago, the medical device industry will be colonized by regulators. Processes will face new validation requirements, and the pace of innovation will slow. The requirements will also create barriers to competition, resulting in small and nimble manufacturers becoming large and established ones.

11. Any manufacturer today should look out across the production floor and ask: What would my process look like if it was more automated? Then ask: What steps can I take today to move in that direction? (also read: Automation protects the future of our economy’s manufacturing base.)

12. The United States is the world leader in terms of global manufacturing market share. U.S. manufacturing also has become significantly leaner, cleaner, more efficient and more responsive in just the last few years. To be sure, there are challenges. However, the idea that the United States is turning away from manufacturing is dramatically overstated. U.S. manufacturing will remain a leading economic force in the world for a long time to come.

Add to: Facebook | Digg | Del.icio.us | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Blinklist | Twitter | Technorati | Yahoo Buzz | Newsvine

Posted in Policy, Solutions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »