For over 40 plus years now, Prospect Machine Products has partnered with Warren F. Kaynor Technical High School sponsoring toolmaking pre-apprenticeships with students, age 16, in its work based learning program. Upon high school graduation, Prospect Machine continues its sponsorship in partnership with the State of Connecticut’s Department of Labor Apprenticeship System.
For a high school pre-apprentice student, the work experience includes the use of lathes, milling machines, drill pressesand grinders. At all times under the direct supervision of a PMP tool and die maker, the student begins the process of learning to make tools for the deep draw stamping process. Most importantly, the student is instructed in all safety procedures and proper housekeeping practices. Further, the student is instructed in basic theory of deep draw metal forming as well as new tooling set-up and new tooling development. Through this practice the student’s toolmaking skills will extend from the completion of the tool itself to the application of the tool in motion within the press, forming the deep draw shape.
Cross training in other departments is also an added benefit for both the student and the business. The student will learn inspection procedures through the use of various measuring instruments for both the tooling and deep draw parts. The student will also learn deep draw press operation as well as packaging and shipping requirements. All of these combined tasks allow the student the experience of the real-world conditions of a deep draw manufacturing business. These varied work experiences help the student to assess if this is a career path for him or her to follow.
Upon graduation, the student is hired as a full time employee and begins an 8,000 hour apprenticeship under the guidelines of the state apprenticeship program. Offsite instructor based educational training continues, supplemented with on-line courses from Tooling U. The course work is accomplished within the first year. All the pre-apprenticeship tasks are now expanded for more in-depth training in the deep draw process. Mentors continue to assign, oversee, and assess the toolmaking process expanding the apprentice’s skill into jigs and fixtures. Concurrently, the apprentice is engaged integrating tool fabrication into the tool performance within the deep draw stamping press. The deep draw press set-up process is a critical milestone for each apprentice. Tool setting and the multiple mechanical requirements of the transfer press must be aligned for a successful first piece. The deep draw ratios within each station and built within each tool must be properly timed and limited in the length of each stroke within the bed of the transfer press in order to avoid cracking and other deformations to the work piece. All of this work in full production mode takes less than a minute to produce one deep drawn part.
Our alliance with Kaynor Tech has been a valuable one. The students they send to us are intelligent and well versed in the academic basics. Their instructors are to be commended for instilling a solid work ethic and assessing the candidates they send to us for their seriousness, commitment to a career path, and the contribution they believe each candidate will make to the deep draw business of Prospect Machine Products.
Thank you, Kaynor Tech, for sustaining our business all these years, and thanks to the Connecticut Department of Labor in sustaining the means of a career path for so many talented students.