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EEF expands machine tool training with Hurco
EEF expands machine tool training with Hurco
EEF expands machine tool training with Hurco
EEF expands machine tool training with Hurco

EEF expands machine tool training with Hurco

Added to MTDCNC by Hurco Europe Ltd on 07 October 2014

EEF (www.eef.org.uk), the organisation that supports and represents the views of UK manufacturing, engineering and technology-based businesses, opened a new, larger technical training centre in Aston, Birmingham last September (2013). As part of the multi-million pound investment, it upgraded the machine tools it uses to train apprentices and upskill the current manufacturing workforce.

Three VM10i vertical machining centres and a TM6i lathe from Hurco (www.hurco.co.uk), together with an offline seat of the manufacturer’s WinMax conversational programming software and a stand-alone control panel, accounted for a large part of the spend. All machine controls are networked to an adjacent computer-aided engineering training department, which has standardised on Delcam prismatic and turning CAM software embedded in SolidWorks CAD.

Other equipment bought at the same time included an additional CNC lathe, a drilling machine, a press brake and MIG/TIG welding plant. They joined pre-existing CNC lathes and mills, including 14 desktop models, and a number of manual turret mills. The maintenance department was expanded and so also were the classroom areas.

Part of EEF’s rationale for opening the new training centre was the significant increase in student numbers since the recession. Over 400 apprentices are in full-time or day-release training at any one time, 160 at the Aston centre and the remainder at their employers’ premises. In addition, about 50 mature operators of CNC machine tools are retrained each year.

Employees from a wide spread of industries have their skill levels raised, from automotive, aerospace, nuclear and other OEMs to their extensive subcontract supply chains around the Midlands. The organisation delivers services further afield through a network of regional offices in England and Wales.

In addition to improving practical skills, the courses involve academic studies that lead to City & Guilds or National Diploma qualifications. An increasing number of students are going on to complete HNCs, HNDs and degrees.

Peter Winebloom, Technical Training Director of EEF, explained, 'We selected Hurco for the bulk of our new machine tool investment for three main reasons.

'First was the high quality build of the machines. Another was the supplier’s reputation for good after-sales customer care, including service and training, the latter being especially important for supporting our instructors.

'The third benefit to us was the versatility of WinMax software. It allows us to teach a powerful conversational programming method in a control that also accepts cycles prepared externally as blocks of G and M code, which can even be merged with conversational elements.

'Many of our member companies have Hurco machines on their shop floors, so it makes sense to train students on equipment they are likely to encounter afterwards. It is all part of our strategy to support the sector by providing work-ready employees with skills that are fit for purpose.'

While the existing machining centres at Aston are 3-axis models, Mr Winebloom said that the training centre will install fourth and fifth axes later this year to extend the scope of the training it offers.

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