Teaching The Art Of Machining

Continuing the tradition of quality craftsmanship in a manufacturing organization, while often a challenge, has played a large role in keeping the industry moving in a positive direction.

Continuing the tradition of quality craftsmanship in a manufacturing organization, while often a challenge, has played a large role in keeping the industry moving in a positive direction. Particularly in the world of high-production, small-turned parts, such a large percentage of companies are family-owned businesses that get passed down from one generation to the next. For many employees, a lot of training takes place at a young age, on the shop floor, on real jobs, while learning the ropes of the business that will one day be theirs.

But even in most of these shops, there is still a need to hire a supply of machine operators from a dwindling pool of qualified and talented machinists. It has almost become standard conversation during shop visits to discuss the pains of finding good workers for the shop floor. And the consensus seems to be that the problem lies in a lack of training and education programs that promote the industry in the United States.

At a conference that I attended recently, I spoke with Dr. Kazuo Yamazaki, a professor and director of the IMS (Intelligent Manufacturing Systems)—Mechatronics Laboratory at the University of California Davis. Dr. Yamazaki is also CEO and president of the Machine Tool Technologies Research Foundation (www.mttrf.org). The MTTRF was established to help the activities of educators, students, professional researchers and technical specialists by providing them with machine tools, other manufacturing equipment, software and cash funds.

With more programs such as MTTRF, and continued focus from industry leaders on supporting such programs and educating students and young professionals on the significance of manufacturing as a whole, we can reverse the trend of diminishing numbers of qualified and motivated shop personnel.

To read a transcript of the entire interview with Dr. Yamazaki, visit Teaching Machine Tool Skills.