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Alternatively, if you cannot provide a good training environment in-house, send your employees away for training. Vendors who offer such services should have better facilities for this than you do.
But don’t just assume they do — make sure! For example, Ludeca built and equipped its own state-of-the-art training center, with all necessary, and even some not so necessary, amenities. We offer students lunch each day, and even transportation to and from their hotel if necessary. We also have negotiated special hotel rates for our trainees in our neighborhood, and the hotels offer free shuttle service to and from the airport. We also offer a discount for each trainee beyond three.
If you cannot afford to send away 4 or more employees at a time, consider sending just your most qualified employee or resident training instructor for more in-depth training. This will allow you to have the knowledge brought back in-house. For example, Ludeca also offers intensive “train the trainer” courses, as well as in-depth courses for day-to-day users of its alignment and vibration systems. For the company, as a training vendor, it also is a win-win proposition: Well-trained users of Ludeca systems like them, use them properly and use them more. Its customers benefit, and in consequence buy more systems and more training from the company. Ludeca also offers an educational discount for systems purchased by training programs or educational institutions – and many vendors who understand the importance of good training will not hesitate to offer you similar concessions.
Another aspect to consider is the training course itself. Ludeca makes a point of having small class sizes. Six students per class is ideal, and 8 is the maximum. This allows the instructor to devote individual attention to each student, answer all questions and make certain each student gets plenty of hands-on practice.
Each pair of students is assigned their own training simulator and complete laser shaft alignment system or vibration data collector, computer and necessary peripherals. Each student gets a complete set of training materials and an operator’s handbook for the system being trained on, which they can take home with them.
Vibration training is regarded as complex, and it can be, at the more advanced levels.
Nevertheless a solid understanding of the basics of machine vibration and its underlying causes will benefit a plant since maintenance employees will be more attuned to spotting potential problems they might otherwise miss. All maintenance personnel should have at least basic vibration training, just as they all get safety training. Understanding what causes imbalance and its consequences, and what causes a bearing to fail prematurely, is all valuable knowledge for your employees to have, which will save you money in the long run. Only your dedicated vibration analysts need to undergo the more advanced certification courses.
Now let’s discuss the politics of training for a minute. In many plants, union labor regulations require that training opportunities be granted equally to all employees in a department. This can be inconvenient if you don’t have the time, resources or need to train all 50 mechanics in laser shaft alignment when you only have two systems, and only 8 of these people regularly perform this task for you. Moreover, these regulations often inhibit the creation of specialist teams that enhance the level of expertise and efficiency of personnel in given activities. There may be a way around this:
Create your teams anyway, but make participation voluntary, and on a rotational basis.
The plant with 50 mechanics cited above had such a situation and formed a specialist alignment team for the whole plant with 6 members, 4 on day shift, two on night, on a three-month rotation.