Programming caps it off: final skill set of apprenticeship program is crowning touch.

Author:Rose, Steve
Position:Shop talk

Developing and implementing your own apprenticeship program can take much time and effort, but a highly trained employee is worth it. If you've built a program based on our first three skill sets, you may be happy to stop here. The final skill set involves programming, and remember, not every employee may be a programmer.

Skill Set No. 4

Skill Set No. 4 focuses on editing and programming skills. Throughout the apprenticeship program, you are gaging the growth and increased knowledge of the student. Some students will progress quicker than others. It is important that only fully proficient people be allowed to move up to Skill Sets No. 3 and No. 4.

Everyone may not have the capability to master programming skills. Also, it is doubtful that a company wants every machinist writing his or her own programs. Each company should clearly define its programming.

Observe any group of machinists and programmers and you'll learn that they all love to argue about the best way to do any job. Many people tend to follow the "My Way" rule of doing things. This can lead to chaos, as they say, "Too many cooks spoil the broth."

Each company should define what level of programming it wishes to be taught. It may be that your goals do not include programming skills, and you don't use Skill Set No. 4 at all.

Our first goal in teaching programming is to teach editing skills. Prior to teaching these skills, the supervisor must define the ground rules. These rules identify the staff members that are allowed to make changes and what types of changes are permissible. If supervisory approval is required prior to making program changes, procedural structures should be clear.

The first step in writing a program is to define the machining processes. New programmers should first develop a machining plan and then discuss the plan in detail with a supervisor or experienced programmer. A certain amount of control should be exercised over the new programmer to avoid major errors that could turn costly.

Programming training should be divided into separate lathe and mill sections.

Datum selection: One of the first choices of the...

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