How Would Training Benefit My Plant?
Some people may feel that training is not a good use of time and money. They may ask themselves, “Are my employees actually going to get anything out of this?” or, “Why should I shut down production on my machine when I just got it?” At Douglas, we understand your concerns. We hope the following information helps alleviate your worries and provides answers about how training your employees upfront can save time and money.
There are many benefits to training your machine operators. Studies have shown that well-trained employees are more likely to continue working for a company. Work longevity can lead to more experience, less downtime and fewer expenses. Employees that are well-trained can also share their knowledge and experience with employees that are hired after the initial operator training.
Research also indicates that operator error accounts for half of all unscheduled production downtime. Lost production time can be reduced by teaching operators and maintenance personnel how to spot issues so they can be fixed properly before major problems arise. Well-trained employees are also more likely to recognize when components need maintenance, or if a few adjustments can help the equipment run better. Recognizing these elements can result in reduced downtime, machine wear-and-tear and product loss.
An effective training program reduces unscheduled production downtime, increases employee retention and teaches employees about important safety information so they have the knowledge to work safely in their environment and around the equipment. Safe practices can also help the plant comply with OSHA regulations and prevent minor and major accidents, keeping your products, equipment and—most importantly—your employees safe.
What Types of Training Programs Does Douglas Machine Offer?
Douglas provides several types of training. Our service technicians provide an informal hands-on training during every machine install. This informal training gives your operators basic knowledge on how to get the machine started and running. Initial changeover settings, quick changeover and troubleshooting guides are also provided with each machine. Douglas offers many job aid options that can be created for your machine as well.
Formal Operator and Maintenance Training can be purchased to provide employees with additional training information. The Formal Operator and Maintenance Training can be customized for your plant’s specific needs and time constraints. The training program typically includes information on safety, controls, machine startup, machine shutdown, cleanout, changeover, theory of operation, machine components, maintenance, cleaning, lubrication, servo homing and troubleshooting. Certified trainers arrive at your plant and provide personal copies of the training manual for each employee to keep. The trainers go through the manual, as well as a presentation with videos of the machine in operation. Throughout the training, the trainers bring the employees out to the machine for advanced hands-on training. During this time, the trainers will answer any questions and set up troubleshooting scenarios for employees to work through.
The Advanced Electrical Training goes into the Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) and Human Machine Interface (HMI) programming details for electrical technicians. The Advanced Electrical Training program will focus on PLC and HMI program organization, tag structure, PLC inputs and outputs, program faults and messages, HMI to PLC interfacing, machine and servo routines, servo cams and electrical troubleshooting. A Douglas Machine Electrical Technician provides the Advanced Electrical Training.
When Is the Best Time to Train Employees?
While basic hands-on training is provided during installation for all Douglas equipment, the formal training programs are recommended to take place after employees have had a chance to get some basic familiarity with their machine and think through more informed questions. We recommend that the machine is up and running for four to six weeks before the formal training session takes place.
The employee-owners at Douglas understand that sometimes training may need to be purchased further down the road due to timing, production, etc. That’s why we videotape and photograph every machine, so if your plant decides to purchase training five years or more after install, we can still create a customized training program for your machine.