Future-proof training - technology leasing!

Up-to-date machine tools for practical qualification

At Michelin, CNC technology is an important part of in-company training

Modern car tires are incredibly high-tech products. Manufactured using complex production processes, they can ensure traction and short braking distances in almost any weather, while also being extremely long-wearing and fuel-efficient. Every day, more than 22,000 tires in sizes from 16 to 18 inches leave the Michelin factory in Hallstadt – near Bamberg, Germany – which employs over 900 people.


In order to keep up with the demand for skilled employees, there are currently 45 young men and women in the training workshop going through their three-and-a-half-year training as industrial mechanics and electricians. “We train to our own requirements, and employ all of our trainees whenever possible. CNC technology has not been a priority in the past. It was merely part of vocational school training, and not relevant to the exams in our training professions. We wanted to strengthen this area in order to better prepare our trainees for the future and to maintain Michelin’s long-term competitiveness as a training company,” explains trainer Witali Reiswich.


However, there is a stumbling block on the road to this goal: the age-old issue of cost.


Special leasing concept for training workshops

At the central workshop in Hallstadt, precision blades that are used as tools in tire production are manufactured on a machine tool equipped with SINUMERIK 840D sl. The programs – for both series production and for the many prototypes – are developed in a tool chain with SolidWorks and SINUMERIK. The trainees occasionally used the machine to create smaller programs and workpieces, such as trophies, but with increased utilization of the machine overall this was no longer possible. “We then looked into investing in a three-axis milling machine for the training workshop. However, this was financially unfeasible. Our biggest concern was that the technology becomes outdated very quickly. After all, training on an old machine is counter-productive,” highlights Reiswich. “Thankfully, we then came into contact with machine tool builder Optimum and found out that we could benefit from its concept for schools and training workshops.”

»We now know that we will always have access to the latest technologies, machines, CNCs and tools in the training workshop.«
Witali Reiswich, Trainer with tire manufacturer Michelin

Always up to date

A collaboration between machine tool builder Optimum and Siemens Financial Services ended up resulting in an opportunity that was able to support the Michelin training workshop’s investment plan. With technology leasing from Siemens Financial Services, Optimum offered the tire manufacturer an OPTImill F150 with SINUMERIK 828D. The benefits are clear: instead of a one-off large investment, Michelin now pays fixed, calculable leasing installments which can also be deducted as operating costs. The leasing contract runs for five years, after which Optimum – working together with Siemens Financial Services – switches out the used machine. Michelin receives the current successor model featuring the latest technology, and the cycle of leasing installments begins again.


Reiswich is delighted, particularly for his trainees: “We now know that we will always have access to the latest technologies, machines, CNCs, and tools in the training workshop. That is a key plus point for our training.” In addition, trainees can now create and simulate programs with Sinutrain on the computer in the teaching room, away from the machine. Thanks to SINUMERIK Operate, the machines have the same operator interface and the programs are fully compatible, meaning that the programs can also run in the training workshop. The advantage here is that the training machines can assist in the production of the precision blades during peak workloads.


"The OPTImill F150 was set up in the training workshop in October, 2017. We are currently working on integration into the training schedule and shopfloor operation, as well as concrete training content. We receive support in the form of the documents available on the Siemens website, as well as additional certification options through training sessions from Optimum – especially as it is located nearby," explains trainer Reiswich.


Collaboration between Optimum and Christiani:

Complete solutions for modern training

Everything for the training workshop from a single source – from CNC machines, shopfloor equipment, didactic concepts and teaching materials, all the way through to the raw parts for the examination task. This is what machine tool builder Optimum and teaching aid specialist Christiani want to work together to offer worldwide in the future. The two companies have established an intensive collaboration, and soon customers will even be able to order Optimum machines from Christiani. The complete, modular offerings of the two companies aim to make work and investment in modern training easier for schools and teaching institutes all over the world. "Training is in great need of modernization all over the world. At the same time, companies are desperately seeking employees that can understand and operate digitalized workflows, modern machines, and tool chains. The lack of qualified workers threatens to bring progress to a halt. In collaboration with Christiani, and using modern financing tools from Siemens Financial Services, we offer solutions that will allow training to keep up with technological advancement and digitalization," says Martin Trepesch, head of the technical department at Optimum, in explanation of the machine builder’s involvement.

EXPLAINED IN BRIEF: Technology leasing

“Technology leasing offers considerable benefits in markets and times of rapid technological change. The reason? The lessee only pays during the defined usage phase – meaning that they pay considerably less than the purchase cost. The lessor remains the owner of the machine. At the end of the term, the lessee returns the machine and receives an offer for a new technology leasing machine. Alternatively, they may choose to extend the lease or purchase the machine outright. This flexibility is a key advantage. If the market changes or there are more modern versions of technologies or machines, this concept allows companies to always be using the latest technology. Technology leasing is a cost-effective way to handle technology risks and investments required for short-term peaks in the order situation. However, because this form of financing requires a lot of industrial and technical expertise on the part of the lessor, there are very fewproviders. Siemens Financial Services offers this financing directly to companies, or in conjunction with manufacturers. The manufacturers’ ability to take back and retrofit the machines reduces the depreciation even further, and the lessee benefits from especially favorable conditions – as have we in our collaboration with Optimum for the Michelin training workshop. The tire manufacturer is always able to train based on the latest CNC technology and gains a clear upper hand in the competition for trainees.”


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