Apprentices progress to CNC machining
Apprentices have now progressed on to the state-of-the-art CNC machinery in the AMRC Training Centre. Around 50 apprentices on the Mechanical & Manufacturing pathway are now hands on with the CNC machines. Apprentices initially started with classroom based learning using virtual CNC control panels, this involved writing coding programs on paper before entering them on the virtual panel to visualise the outcome.
The apprentices have all moved on from machining parts using manual lathes a process that can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days to machining parts on the CNC machines in a matter of minutes. The parts produced by the apprentices on the CNC machines are far more complex and include different radiuses, tapers, grooves and threaded parts to screw in to internal bores.
Ben Hanwell, an apprentice machinist at TATA Steel said: We have all really enjoyed having the opportunity to work on the CNC machines. I have found it much easier and its a far quicker process than working on the manual lathes, but it definitely requires more concentration and focus as there is much less room for error.
There are a limited amount of further education and apprentice providers able to offer CNC training, partly due to the lack of advanced machinery but also because of staff lacking the industrial experience to deliver effective training on these machines.
Mick Fairman, Machining Trainer at the AMRC said: The apprentices have all really benefitted from training on the CNC machines, this is what they will be doing when they go out to industry so it is really important that we are able to offer training in this area. Many other apprentice training providers either do not have access to this kind of machinery or do not have the trainers with the right experience to deliver practical CNC training - at the AMRC Training Centre all the trainers have come from industry which gives us a real advantage. I worked for over 30 years at TATA Steel so I have a wealth of experience in operating CNC machines which I have hopefully been able to pass on to our apprentices.