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Trends and Benefits of In-Person Training

Mike Andersen
By Mike Andersen Training and Center Manager for the Americas, Sandvik Coromant

As machinists and companies know, the rate of change is ever increasing. Industry 4.0 is here, and it’s fueled by automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies, including the internet of things, cloud computing, machine learning, and AI. Plus, the need to machine lighter and stronger materials is greater than ever, as emerging technologies like wind power, electric vehicles, and other sustainable transportation options drive innovation in material usage. How does all this relate to workforce development?

As the industry changes, it’s vital that all machinists continue their education to help keep their shops and skill sets up to date.

Historically, machinists have relied on a combination of on-the-job training and vocational or technical college education. However, hands-on experience in a dedicated, modern training environment can help machinists keep up with trends and rise to the challenges of evolving technologies in a way that other training cannot.

To tackle the ongoing challenges of the industry, it’s critical that machinists understand which tools are most appropriate for a given job. Hands-on training is an effective way to learn the theory behind modern cutting tools and how to properly use them. Training like this is different from technical school or apprenticeships because of the perspective on modern cutting tools.

In an in-person training environment, theory is often presented through interactive conversations or presentations in a classroom. The hands-on part is then conducted in a modern shop environment where participants get to practice techniques and methods on real machines.

For those machinists and shops in search of training that directly benefits their businesses, there are certain criteria to look for, including instructor resources, a digital environment on the training floor, R&D investment, and customized training options.

Instructor Resources

A tool manufacturer’s training center often has an advantage due to the number of experts on hand. In addition to their full-time, dedicated instructors, training centers can bring production, engineering, and R&D experts into the classroom. These experts are the people making and applying the actual cutting tools, so they intimately know how the tools are supposed to work. If a class wants to learn about grades and edge prep technology, the instructor can ask a specialist to speak about grade development. Some training centers are even connected to a production facility, so instructors can take participants into the factory to see tool manufacturing in real time.

Hands-on training teaches machinists the most effective ways to confidently use the latest cutting tools.

Digital Environment

Machine shops have evolved into highly digital environments. In addition to focusing on cutting tools, it’s vital that machinists know how to effectively use digital tools and analyze the insights from the gathered data. For example, collecting data from the machining operation allows machinists to gain insights about machine utilization, stop causes, alarms, and faults that could decrease productivity. Look for training facilities that include digital technology in their classes. Sandvik Coromant, for instance, includes its smartphone applications and cloud-based software as part of our standard training. Incorporating digital tools in this way not only transfers key skills, but it also makes classes more interactive and engaging.

For on-site classes, it’s important that a facility has an advanced machine shop with different CNC machine tools for hands-on application of metal cutting operations. Some training centers even put cameras on each machine so that participants can see real-time processes up close rather than huddle around a tiny window on the front of a machine tool.

R&D Investment


High-quality training centers don’t simply teach the same things over and over. They invest in modern cutting tool innovation and the continued education of their teaching staff. In addition, some training facilities are part of a larger network of global centers, each with its own machining specialties. With the help of digital live machining equipment, instructors can call into other centers to view machining demonstrations and share capabilities they don’t have on site. This multiplies the capabilities a single center can offer, providing a greater range of skills to participants and bigger benefits for shops.

Customized Training Options

In addition to standard training, look for training facilities that offer customized training, which can help shops go further on their digital transformation journeys. For example, a shop may have specific questions about something as specific as computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) and verification tools, or it may simply want to know where to start. Customized training can break down complexities so shops can understand the possibilities of what they can do to improve productivity and reliably achieve business goals.

Finding In-person Training

The simplest way to find quality training that focuses on modern cutting tools is to check in with your cutting tool provider. Some providers list their training schedules on their website. If preferred trainings aren’t available, check with your sales team to see if your provider offers customized training. As the industry changes, it’s vital that all machinists continue their education to help keep their shops, and their own skill sets, up to date.

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