Case Study: Applied Learning Model Accelerates CYT Training

Like many manufacturers, Cardington Yutaka Technologies Inc. (CYT), an automotive parts supplier to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), faced a talent challenge.

The Cardington, Ohio-based company that produces torque converters, catalytic converters, and exhaust systems, needed to increase the number of trained associates available to perform repair welding functions.

CYT approached the Manufacturing Extension Partnership Center (MEP) at Columbus State and together they created a blended learning program which supported the development of the specific skills needed to perform the repair function including:

  • Weld and safety procedures
  • The basics of TIG operation and set-up
  • Review of the Miller welding equipment used at CYT
  • Discussions about the repair process

Students met for a total of six sessions resulting in 18-hours of instruction—approximately six hours of theory paired with 12 hours of hands-on instruction and application.

The three-pronged Applied Learning Model combined computer-based training, the use of a virtual reality welding simulator, and on-site welding with CYT equipment which allows students to quickly acquire the needed skills.

1. Computer-based Training

The MEP at Columbus State has a partnership with Tooling U-SME to provide online technical training. For CYT, they identified online content covering welding theory and basic safety. Instructors engaged with students while they took their online coursework. Optional coursework was also offered and tracked.

“This online learning enhances hands-on training to create a job progression plan and required minimal upfront preparation,” said Jeff Spain, director, MEP, Columbus State. “The Tooling U-SME classes are efficient, practical training, developed with input from manufacturing experts.”

2. Virtual Reality Welding Simulator

To better develop the muscle memory needed for consistent welding in a safe way, the course utilized a virtual welding station to practice specific welding techniques. The virtual devices realistically simulate actual guns and torches’ look, feel, and action. For instance, an incredibly realistic weld puddle is visually and audibly responsive to operator behavior, helping welders learn when to adjust the welding technique. Spain said older students enjoyed the virtual training as much as recent high school grads.

3. CYT Equipment

The final three days of training occurred within the plant using CYT welders on “scrapped” parts.

To minimize time away from work, the training was conducted on-site at times convenient for each of their three shifts.

The results have been outstanding. To date, 42 people have completed the program. Skill acquisition using the Applied Learning Model is 25 percent faster than traditional methods.

To expand their overall program, Spain says the MEP at Columbus State is introducing a three-phase pilot program using virtual reality training including Tooling U-SME’s new Virtual Labs. The first phase helps Central Ohio high school students discover more about manufacturing careers. The second offers a manufacturing boot camp and the third provides contract training with incumbent employees.

Virtual reality will continue to be an important part of the training program moving forward.

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