Apprenticeships and further training are becoming essential for machine tool manufacturers if they are to continue to thrive in Germany. Mitsubishi Electric is therefore lending its support to the Tool- and Mouldmaking Teaching Factory. German tool- and mouldmakers rank among the best worldwide. Few other sectors have comparable staff expertise combined with so much productive technology. And few other countries have such thriving and dependable customers as the automotive industry, electronics and communications industry, medical technology, aerospace and precision engineering.
Germany’s infrastructure, from the component supply industry and tool- and mouldmaking through to the customer industries, still leads the world. All the same, it is important not to forget that we are in the throes of in some cases rapid change, and this is confrontingGerman tool- and mouldmakers with new and increasingly tough challenges. Responding appropriately to the changing situation presupposes, however, a redefinition of the services provided. Required among other things is advanced and highly productive software coupled with high-performance machine tools and workshop management systems. For instance, it will be increasingly important from now on to invest in automated machine systems displaying high flexibility and process availability. The machine rate and hence the cost of a tool or mould will then be lower and the price-performance ratio will be competitive or, better still, superior so that purchasers do not inevitably turn to alternative suppliers on the global market. Right at the top of the list, therefore, are suitable software and equipment and, crucially, the matching manpower. Human resources with initial and further training will thus become increasingly important so that the labour market can be supplied with those people whose high standard of expertise is vitally important for German industry as a whole and for our small and medium-size businesses.
Only those who manage to go about their exacting work quickly and with high productivity from the outset will have outstanding chances of success in the long term in our high-wage country. We at Mitsubishi Electric are therefore committed – and this is an important strategy for the future – not only to develop high-performance technologies in the electric discharge machining sector, but also to take responsibility for the training of the necessary technical staff. Mitsubishi Electric is an extremely large company. But a company doesn’t become successful today through size alone. One of the sources of our success is our cultivation of partnerships locally all over the world. This philosophy has made Mitsubishi Electric into a strong and efficient supplier of EDM technology for many years. In the context of our cooperative approach, we attach great importance to partnership with schools, training establishments and universities – always, and with long-term vision, in the company’s own interests. We have therefore approved a package of measures that, in connection with an internal funding programme for teaching establishments, schools and universities, also extends to the financing and sponsorship of tool- and mouldmaking, industrial automation and general CNC technology. We are very happy to have found a partner in the visionary Innovationszentrum Fennel (IZF) initiated as a foundation by businessman Bernd Fennel. With this centre, we share the same ambitious corporate values in the social sector and the same attitude towards technology. We believe that the strategy of the IZF perfectly embodies our conception of the modern training of skilled staff. The structure of the newly established Tool- and Mouldmaking Teaching Factory transcends the conventional approach that considers the various technologies in isolation without an overarching strategy, making it, in our opinion and one shared by experts, excessively one-dimensional. It is precisely this holistic consideration of a continuous process chain that is becoming more and more important and will ultimately bring forth the skills that are capable of strengthening our tool- and mouldmakers and Germany as a manufacturing nation. The standards today are already high and will continue to rise. The profession of tool- and mouldmaker will continue to evolve and, viewed in its entirety, will culminate in an integrated profile of design, software, programming techniques, advanced process engineering and automation.
The “Industrie 4.0” project initiated by the German Federal Government, a high-tech forward-looking strategy that promotes intelligent production and networking with the involvement of advanced, web-based technologies for the control of automation processes, self-diagnosis methods, self-optimisation and self-configuration is additionally reinforcing this general thrust. These trends call for a broader array of proficiencies. In addition to an understanding of the process proper, there is a need for the ability to think outside the box, practical skills, decision-making competence and a broad conception of customer orientation. Anyone who appreciates this will have better opportunities for the future, we believe. Located in an exciting cluster region with a strong tradition of plastics processing and metalworking, Bad Oeynhausen is an extremely fitting location for our commitment in Westphalia. To mark the launch of the Tool- and Mouldmaking Teaching Factory, Mitsubishi Electric is installing a highly advanced MV1200R wire-cut EDM system.
Wire-cutting today is an essential key technology for tool- and mouldmaking. It is only natural and good sense to integrate this technology in the overall process chain in a network with other important technologies. It is therefore important for Mitsubishi Electric to found this network with highly reputed partners who also stand for cutting-edge technology. And this is very much the case at the IZF. CAD, NC programming, the adherence to the relevant standards, the milling and clamping system technology and the automation inclusive of software-based cell management provide the fitting environment for electric discharge machining and facilitate training in the process chain that will plot the course for the future. From now on, German tool- and mouldmakers will have to be integrated in the customer’s development activities to a far greater extent than hitherto. Far from being merely suppliers of tools and moulds, they will become indispensable and gain an edge over the competition. Unfavourable demographic trends, on the other hand, are confronting tool- and mouldmakers with a shortage of suitably skilled personnel. The Tool- and Mouldmaking Teaching Factory at the IZF can play a part in remedying this situation. Comprehensive technical training geared to the needs of modern industry constitutes a solid foundation on which to build a career. It offers benefits to both sides, employers and employees alike.
Mitsubishi Electric wishes to make a meaningful contribution to this in cooperation with the IZF. In addition to its Tool- and Mouldmaking Teaching Factory, the IZF also provides the training of EDM specialists. The training course over a period of 12 weeks covers all the basics from programming through to die-sinking and wire-cutting. The first IZF Tool- and Mouldmaking Fair (izf Werkzeug- & Formenbaumesse) is taking place in Bad Oeynhausen on 16 and 17 April. This comprises not only an exhibition, but also offers those interested a chance to find out more about the IZF approach to training.
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Initial and further training – vocational foundation and training workshop at the interface between industry and society aerospace
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