Haidlmair: Digitalization starts during vocational training
Operation, technologies, processes — digitalization will affect and revolutionize large parts of the machine tool industry over the next few years. How does training need to change accordingly? Initial answers can be found in the training workshop of the Austrian toolmaker Haidlmair.
From forge to leading manufacturer of injection moulds
Beverage crates, folding boxes, drawers, garbage containers, boxes for storage systems — we encounter products made by Haidlmair GmbH’s high-quality injection molding tools all the time in our day-to-day lives. Over three generations, the Haidlmair family, from the idyllic town of Nussbach in Austria, has transformed the company from a small forge to one of the world’s leading developers and producers of high-quality injection molding tools.
Focus on quality
The management team, headed by managing director Mario Haidlmair and controller Rene Haidlmair, consistently focuses on quality and innovation in order to further develop the company’s market position. The many CNC4you 2/2018 24 Each year, 8 to 12 trainees begin their four-year training at the Haidlmair training workshop. They are supervised by Wolfgang Eisterlehner, head of training, and Roman Dannesberger, CNC trainer machine tools in the large production hall are almost completely paper-free and work as a data hub with Siemens NX and Teamcenter. The products are developed using Siemens NX as a CAD/CAM and PLM system, data and programs are transferred from production planning to the machines via Teamcenter, and they are then viewed by the operators on their own monitors.
In terms of training, there are certain consequences, as Christian Riel, deputy technical manager at Haidlmair, explains: “We have been using NX as a CAD/CAM system since 1985 and were certainly one of the first users in the tool and mold-making sector. Even in the training workshop, all employees learn how to work with CNC systems, including with the Sinutrain training software and Siemens PLM software. Their various modules are the core of our technical IT landscape. This allows us to work completely paper-free in production.”
Each year, eight to 12 trainees begin their four-year training at the Haidlmair training workshop. They are all employed productively on the CNC machines after a very short basic training in manual metalworking. The trainees manufacture small workpieces for orders or as spare parts on the machine tools — and 3D printers are also available for teaching. The goal is that every single workpiece that is produced in the training workshop will later enter production.
In addition to classic CNC programming on the milling and turning machines, which is also required for the final examinations, trainees experience and learn the completely digitalized value chain from very early on — starting with CAD/CAM design and downloading programs right through to company-specific process chains. This comprehensive and practical training in the digital value chain is the reason why all newly hired skilled workers at Haidlmair start off in the training workshop.
Because Haidlmair uses machine tools with Sinumerik CNCs in the most modern area of production, this CNC has become an important part of the training. The full-time trainers received comprehensive training for Haidlmair this during a train-the-trainer course in the Erlangen DEX (Digital Experience and Application Center). In the training workshop, the basic training in Sinumerik programming and operation takes place offline on the Sinutrain virtual programming station. The comprehensive documentation that Siemens provides especially for trainees and trainers is also used there. In the virtual Sinutrain Workbench, different machines with different software versions can be simulated, allowing the trainees to quickly get to grips with the version they will be working on in the future. The training workshop includes a DMG Mori milling machine with Sinumerik 840D sl as well as an EMCO milling machine with Sinumerik 828D, on which the trainees will later put the simulation from the PC training area into practice. They manufacture in a very specific way here, learning not only how to program and operate the Sinumerik CNC, but also all the machine-oriented work steps..
What is striking is how many new and well-equipped machines the training workshop has. Stefan Knödlstorfer, technical manager at Haidlmair GmbH, explains: “We deliberately invest a great deal in state-of-the-art equipment. Some trainees have told us that they work on more modern and higher- quality machines than their fathers, who work as trained professionals in other companies in the area. In our training workshop, we want to use representative of the machines and modes of operation that our next generation of skilled workers will also come across after completing their training — for example multi-touch, integrated measuring cycles and additive processes.” Trainees who stand out with excellent performance are even given the opportunity to gain experience at one of the company’s foreign locations.
Haidlmair has already received several awards for its work as a trainer (becoming a state-approved training company, for instance), but that is not the only reason the company is popular among trainees. “As yet, we have not had much difficulty filling apprentice ship spots. Of course, we prepare all trainees for the traditional examination content in the qualification, but the young people know and immediately see that we train for the digital future of our industry here,” says Knödlstorfer with pride.
Fully automated machine cluster
It is precisely this future that the trainees can see and experience in the production halls. In a new building, there are four DMG Mori DMU 80 P duoBLOCKs, equipped with completely identical hardware and software — all controlled by a Sinumerik 840D sl. The special feature is that the four 5-axis machines act as a networked cluster, as a uniform manufacturing system. The workpieces are loaded and unloaded via an automated pallet warehouse. When completely filled, the pallet warehouse is sufficient to allow the four machine tools to operate completely autonomously around the clock for four days. The process is fully automated. The tool magazine, pallet warehouse, the entire automation technology and the master computer come from the Austrian company Promot Automation AG. All in all, this production system is a prime example of the production concepts that trainees will find in the industry in the future — and Haidlmair trainees are well prepared for this.