Now that the summer’s over, your employees have taken their vacation time, and you’re ready to get back to an ordinary schedule on the shop floor, it may be a good to time to re-evaluate your staff’s training levels and whether or not this fall is a good time to dedicate resources to more training programs. One area where your crew might benefit from better training and cross-training is your metrology software. The job of programming and operating your coordinate measuring machines too often falls to the same person, or a limited number of employees. As you may have experienced this summer, when they go on vacation, call in sick, or take time off for a family emergency, you don’t have anyone who can competently perform inspections, and your whole production line falls behind.
Cross-training is training an employee does to work in a different area of an organization or fulfill different responsibilities. It creates a well-rounded staff that better understands how different parts of the same operation work. It also gives you more flexibility with scheduling; coordinate measuring machine programming and operating can be covered by staff whose secondary training is in metrology software.
One way to cross-train in metrology is to send your staff to training programs from metrology dealers like Canadian Measurement Metrology (CMM), which offers regular courses in a number of levels of PC-DMIS, from basic to advanced, as well as DataPage+ and other software programs. Portable arms, coordinate measuring machines, data management, probe calibration, CAD, alignment, GD&T, offline programming, and more essential metrology skills are all covered in their training courses.
You can also purchase unique E-Courses for PC-DMIS from CMM, giving you greater freedom and flexibility in how you train your staff. It can be expensive to send an employee off-site and put them up in a hotel for a work week while they gain new skills. It can also lead to labor shortages and bottlenecks, which is what you’re trying to avoid by cross-training. E-Courses allow you to keep employees on-site, training at a pace that allows you to keep the workflow running smoothly. E-Courses also come with FAQ sections and a library, so that operators and programmers can quickly look up tasks. This is an especially valuable feature for cross-trained employees who don’t use these tasks daily.
You may also need more advanced training to keep up with the latest CMM software such as the latest PC-DMIS or the new Polyworks, which comes with many advanced new features. Polyworks 2017 can now communicate results directly in 3D, connect and predefine multiple laser trackers, and probe surface features before components are aligned to CAD. But to make the most of these features, you need programmers and operators who have put in the training hours. Managers operating on a tight budget may question the efficiency of duplicating skills, but cross-training is your defense against indispensable employees. You don’t have to shut down your inspections department because your metrology expert is taking some time off when you have other operators and programmers who can take their place. Talk to your metrology dealer about coordinate measuring machine programming courses and e-courses this fall.