Training programs

An example of a training program offered to the plastic industry is presented. The Plastics Institute of America (PIA), in collaboration with the Division of Continuing Studies and Corporate Education at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, offers a series of modules providing employee training designed to enhance the knowledge, understanding and skills of mechanics and other technical staff working primarily with plastics.

Examples of their training programs follow:

Control Systems (40 hour Module)

• Safety (Ohm's Law) lockout tagout importance, machine guarding schemes

• IO devices (operations, identification, advantages and disadvantages, purposes of encoders and resolvers)

• PLCs (basic components, analog and digital domains, basic ladder logic instruction)

• HMI (password protection, HMI functions and purpose)

• Electronic Cam Switch Bank (function review)

• Control Systems Evolution (definition, examples)

• Troubleshooting and Diagnostics (mechanical and non-mechanical problems, determination of probable problem cause, mechanic's responsibilities.)

• Servo Systems (concepts and purpose, type motors and variations, explanations and applications of direct, gearbox and screw motor-to-load coupling, motor and encoder shaft alignments, servo system concepts, servo tuning, servo profiles)

Metric Measurement (12 hour Module)

• Linear Measurement (micrometers, dial calipers, surface plates, optical comparators, scientific rotation)

• Temperature (thermometers, thermocouples, RTDs)

• Hardness/Friction/Gloss/Color

• Calibration

• Measurement and inspection re: quality control

• Overview of sizes (pins, holes, identification of sizes)

• Pressure (strain gauges, piezoelectric transducers, Bourbon gauges)

• Test methods of Plastics ASTM/ISO

Engineering Drawing (20 hour Module)

• Print reading and interpretation

• Standard notation and symbols

• Assembly and part drawings

• Surface finishes

• Basic machining processes and expected outcomes

• Screw threads and fasteners

• Basic shop terminology

Computer Fundamentals (12 hour Module)

• Overview of computer systems

• Windows 98: help screens, mouse, pull down menus, icons, passwords, menu bars, etc.

• Introduction to database management and databases

• Navigating through databases

• Interpreting screens produced by databases

- Interpreting database results

- Databases

• Communicating with remote sites

Statistical Process Control (20 hour Module)

• Fundamental mathematical skills

• Target values and variances

• Process variability

• Processes that are out of control

• Use of SPC to improve the processes

Polymers (20 hour Module)

• Markets for plastics

• Commercial production of plastics

• Physical properties of plasties

• Fabrication of plastics

• Applications

Introduction to Injection Molding (16 hour Module)

• What is injection molding?

• Plasticating systems

• Clamping systems

• The electrical system

• The injection mold

• The molding process

• Process conditions

• Auxiliary equipment

• Resins-processing

• Troubleshoodng

• Profile extrusions

Industrial and Molding Hydraulics (20 hour Module)

• Standards, basic fluid power law and terminology

• ANSI/ISO Circuit symbols, print interpretation

• Circuit elements and their functions

• Mechanical descriptions

• Control concepts

• Examples of molding circuits and automation circuits

Mold Design and Maintenance for Diagnostics (20 hour Module)

• Design considerations

• Mold design basics

• Cavity and core construction

• Heat transfer considerations

• Cold runner molds

• Hot runner systems

• Freeing mechanism/part ejection

• Mold maintenance

Elastomers (16 hour Module)

• General classes of elastomers

• Compounding and the rubber recipe

• Vulcanization and vulcanizing agents

• Processing and processability testing

• Physical testing

• Thermoplastic elastomers (TPE)

Rotational Molding (16 hour Module)

• Process parameters

• Design guidelines

• Secondary finishing

• Troubleshoodng

Preventive /Predictive Maintenance (20 hour Module)

• Injection molding plasdcadng unit

• Injection molding hydraulic maintenance

• Care and maintenance of electrical components

• Safety inspection and procedures

• Storage maintenance of molds

Blow Molding (16 hour Module)

• Blow molding processes

• Primary equipment

• Process controls

• Auxiliary equipment

• Troubleshoodng

• New developments Extrusion (20 hour Module)

• Principles of extrusion

• Description of single screw extruder

• Smooth bore and grooved-feed extruders

• Blown film process

• Cast film process

• Extrusion coating

• Profile extrusion

• Materials for extrusion

• Auxiliary equipment

• Principles process control

• Troubleshooting

• New developments

Plastics Process Control (20 hour Module)

• Principles of process control

• Instrumentation

• Data acquisition/monitoring

• Servo control for injection molding

• Control of extrusion processes

• Blow molding/parison control

• Integrated manufacturing

• New developments

Thermoforming (20 hour Module)

• Basic process/variations

• Processing conditions

• Product design

• Secondary operations

• Twin sheet forming

• Decorating

• Trimming/recycling

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