Sets up finishing school focussing on practical aspects of modern machining
Two years ago the machine tool industry, an integral part of any manufacturing activity, was struggling to not only pay shop floor workers their salaries but also retain them, owing to the slowdown in industrial activity and cancellation of orders. Today, the sector is not only recruiting in large numbers, but also making workers undergo additional training to meet the new skill requirements.
The Indian Machine Tool Manufacturers’ Association (IMTMA), the apex body of the machine tool industry in India, has launched a Finishing School in Production Engineering to focus on all the practical aspects of modern machining – from reading an engineering drawing through measurements and quality control – including machining processes, CNC programming, CNC machining and operation, process planning, tool materials, selection of cutting tools and optimising machining parameters.
M Krishnamoorthy, director-training, IMTMA, said, “Productivity standards of metal cutting industries are less than 50 per cent and the units are making losses due to idle time. This is mainly because young engineers lack skills to handle sophisticated machines. One of the major reasons why engineers, even from reputed institutes, are not easily employed is because they lack hands-on skill.”
Quoting a study done by the Union ministry of labour and employment, he said nearly 200,000 engineers and 132,000 diploma holders were unemployed in 2007. A Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) report recently revealed that the manufacturing sector needs 12 million people, but just one-tenth of this number is available now.
In Bangalore alone the machine tool sector is adding more than 3,000 persons every year. The job market in the entire manufacturing sector is set to grow further, with new jobs being created in sunrise sectors like aerospace engineering (as a result of the offset clause), medical devices manufacturing, nuclear energy and railways, Krishnamoorthy said.
He said CNC machines have become the order of the day in all manufacturing industries — irrespective of the type of activity, like mass production, batch production or even one-off components. University-trained engineers lack the “feel” of how things are made and how they fit together. They lack shop floor experience, hindering their ability to programme CNC machines, he said.
In addition to technical inputs, emphasis at the school will be given to development of soft skills. To equip students with practical inputs, hands-on training in production of CNC machinery, CAD/CAM systems and other accessories is a part of the curriculum. Industry visits are organised to simulate real-life experience of actual production.
The school has designed a four-week programme for fresh graduate engineers with a degree or diploma in mechanical engineering or applied disciplines. New recruits or trainee engineers and practising engineers from industries can join the course for a fee of Rs 15,000. On completion of an intensive training programme, the school will assess their level of understanding of the course through a test and issue a certificate, which is well recognised by industry, he said.
IMTMA has approached PSG Engineering College, Coimbatore for affiliation for its programme, Krishnamoorthy said, adding, “Though we don’t need any academic recognition, already many industries have recognised our programme. Companies such as Godrej & Boyce and TVS have approached us to conduct intensive customised training programmes for their fresh recruits.”
A special training programme for Godrej employees was completed last month and another batch will start in February for employees of TVS Motors, he said.
With India emerging as a global manufacturing hub, this course will improve the employment potential for fresh engineers in automobile, auto components manufacturing, aerospace, die mould and other industries using CNC machines, he added.
The school is located at the IMTMA Technology Centre in Bangalore. It is equipped with the latest equipment and other required resources to impart training in all aspects of machine tools and production technology.
It also imparts soft skills like safety aspects on the shop floor, dress code, importance of right attitude at the work place, discipline and punctuality, communication with peers and time management. The school has engaged the full-time services of three faculty members and is supported by visiting speakers drawn from the industry.
The school plans to start several job-oriented courses and certificate programmes. It is also planning to enter into an agreement with Karnataka Small Industries Development Corporation (KSSIDC), Karnataka Small Scale Industries Association (Kassia) and Peenya Industries Association (PIA), to conduct training programmes for small and medium industries in and around Bangalore, Krishnamoorthy added.