Many questions, many answers
THE GRINDING WHEEL IS SET UP, the dresser is applied, the workpiece is measured, and machined: “We did everything on the machine and went through the entire production process,” explains Henning Hols. He is the master of the grinding shop at the German gear specialist KORDEL. He and his machine setter, Michael Düppmann, attended a training course at STUDER. “We bought an S33 with the StuderWIN software, and because we had not yet worked with either, we booked the training in Thun.” For three days, instructor Fabian Wirz taught the theoretical basics and practical handling of the machine and answered many questions.
KORDEL is a specialist in special gears. “We develop and produce gearboxes for agricultural and construction machinery, as well as for industrial vehicles such as forklifts,” explains Henning Hols. The traditional company based in Dülmen, North Rhine-Westphalia, 60 kilometers north of Dortmund, operates a larger machine park, including five other cylindrical grinding machines from STUDER, but as yet none of them an S33.
“The StuderWIN course is one of our most popular,” explains Stephan Frei, Head of the Customer Center at STUDER. Ten machines are available for training in the customer center; nine highly qualified and continuously trained instructors are responsible for running the courses. STUDER offers over 25 different training courses for its customers, from the basic course on cylindrical grinding to courses on operation and programming, as well as training for maintenance and repair. Most of them – depending on the level of knowledge of the participants – are offered as a basic, advanced or expert course.
In addition to training courses, grinding tests and demonstrations take place in the Customer Academy. It is one of the three pillars of the STUDER Academy in Thun, the others are the Service Academy for STUDER‘s own service technicians and the Sales Academy for sales staff. “Training our customers‘ employees is certainly one of our most important tasks,” emphasizes Frei. Before the coronavirus pandemic, around 200 customer training courses were held in the Customer Center each year. During the pandemic, it was significantly less. “We are also working on online offers,” says Frei. “It works well with software training, but work on the machine is difficult to map digitally.”
Henning Hols and Michael Düppmann‘s training began with a theoretical part on the computer. Training manager Wirz first explained the basics, then it was time to program a workpiece. “The machine‘s user interface is installed on our training PCs,” explains Stephan Frei. This allows operation and programming to be directly understood.
The second day was spent on the machine, which was particularly exciting for the participants. “We produce special gearboxes in small series,” says Hols. In contrast to the highly automated production in the automotive industry, in the production of agricultural machinery gearboxes for example, the same workpiece is not machined for months in a row, but rather for a significantly shorter period of time. The machines are retooled on average twice a day, says Hols. And this is the work of machine setter Michael Düppmann: “It was very exciting to experience the entire process, from the preparation to the actual grinding.”
Hols and Düppmann are very pleased with their course. “We had a lot of questions and got an answer to them all,” says the machine setter. “The training was very intensive and really packed with information,” emphasizes Henning Hols. And if there is one thing they could do differently for the next course – it would perhaps be to book it for an extra day.