For some time now, many plastics companies have struggled trying to find well-trained processors. The ideal candidate has a wealth of knowledge in a variety of molding skillsets. It may seem as though the “jack-of-all-trades” technician has faded from our industry, but the truth is that this type of individual is developed over a long period of time. This article outlines a series of steps to develop and train your current and future processors.

The plastics industry has grown exponentially in the last few decades. Many training programs are available to us, but in reality these forums can be narrowly focused toward various tasks or abilities that a processor will need to perform certain functions required in his job. The purest training core for any technician comes from the training he receives in the position he holds. Outside training merely complements the core training he receives in his work environment. For a processor to have strong technical knowledge, he must be exposed to nearly all departments within his working environment. The following sections outline specific departments and training that your processor should be exposed to, and the benefits of a long-term training approach.

Production

One of the best ways to troubleshoot problems within the scope of production is to understand the requirements of the operation itself. A technician should be able to perform every task that the operators are responsible for carrying out. Place your processor in every position within the framework of your production line. This gives him the ability to understand what the physical/ mental requirements are for each position on the floor. With this knowledge, he is better able to evaluate and control production needs as he addresses various technical problems. In addition, it also allows the technician to experience the true nature of the operations he is overseeing. This type of hands-on training can potentially produce continuous improvement opportunities. The technician better understands what the positive and negative actions are for the operator responsible for the task. With this knowledge and experience, solutions are more apt to be based on wisdom rather than supposition.

Quality

The quality system of your plant is an important key variable to the overall success or failure of your molding facility. As such, it is critical that your processor have a full understanding of how your quality system operates. In addition, quality requirements for every job need to be fully communicated to the processor. Training should include several days to a week of shadowing auditors, reviewing reject histories and learning what defects are most common to each job. In addition, it is important for the processor to be fully versed in each part’s aesthetic, dimensional and fit-to-function characteristics. A good processor quickly identifies problems and uses the best approach to alleviate them because he has a solid understanding of the quality system. Make sure that your technician has the ability to read blueprints, use inspection measuring instruments and is familiarized with all of the testing equipment used in your plant.