Train Up – Machine Tool Training

Why would anyone want to work in a machine shop? It’s dirty, grimy and dangerous. Besides, everyone knows U.S. manufacturing is dead. Why train for a career that’s going to China?

Wrong, wrong, wrong. Manufacturing is a high-tech industry, utilizing state-of-the-art equipment and software that would leave your Grandpa Joe, the guy who lost his thumb running a Browne & Sharpe 60 years ago, shaking his head in wonder. Despite what the pundits say, U.S. manufacturing is making a comeback. That is, if shop owners can find enough machinists.

According to Bob Appleton, applications/training manager for machine builder Doosan Infracore Machine Tools, Pine Brook, N.J., this is a serious issue. “Over the years, machinists were told they weren’t needed anymore; the U.S. was going to be a service and financial country. We outsourced manufacturing to the lowest bidder. As the outsourced countries developed, the U.S. declined.”

The result, according to Appleton, is that the U.S. is down to a small pool of machinists as qualified people retire and few enter the field. Worse yet, the level of technical skill required to operate modern equipment has increased substantially, raising the bar for aspiring machinists. “Left unchecked, this gap will expand. Machine operation training is becoming more important than ever before,” Appleton said.

The problem can’t be fixed overnight. Therefore, machine builders, such as Doosan, are taking action. “We have to start by establishing trust in a good manufacturing future,” Appleton said. “And we need to begin training people to become qualified machinists, not operators to push the green button and hope for the best.”

To this end, Doosan provides free basic operations training for customers in all current machine models, as well as mechanical, logic and electrical maintenance classes, at its tech centers in New Jersey, Illinois and California. In addition, Doosan offers non-machine-specific G-code programming classes a couple of times a year.

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