The Blog

Industry 4.0 Meets Learning 4.0

by Torsten Kruse

We don’t want to just revolutionize the training industry; we want “evolutionize” your way of learning.

Everyone has heard the maxim “time is money” and nowhere is that truer than with training. Consider the time your employees are attending off-site or on-site training, away from their desks or the molding floor, and not productive in their jobs. Most likely you are paying them and paying their training costs. If you add in travel expenses for off-site training and multiply these costs by your number of trainees, the costs can become prohibitive. So, what can you do?

Recently there has been a big shift away from traditional in-person training (day/multi-day/weeklong seminars) to e-learning and now, more specifically to focused-learning and micro-lessons.  Focused learning is a way of teaching and delivering knowledge to engineers in smaller, more efficient content bundles. Micro-lessons are even smaller and more specific. Focused learning can be a 10 to 20 minute lesson while micro-lessons can be 2-4 minutes within that course.

These smaller “nuggets” of content allow students to learn when and where they want. If someone wants to sit for a couple of hours and go through several lessons, they have that option. If an engineer prefers to watch three or four 2-minute videos during their lunch hour, that’s ok, too. The important thing is that they are logging on to a training site and LEARNING.

Pay Attention!

One of the primary reasons that micro-learning is trending is because our attention spans have gotten shorter. By 2025, millennials will make up 75 % of the workforce — and the average attention span of this generation is considerably shorter than that of their forebearers. So, from a training delivery standpoint we need to not only get peoples’ attention, but then we need to keep it.

But it’s not only millennials with short attention spans who are driving the surge of micro-learning (here is where the “time is money” maxim comes in). How can everyone, from an entry-level employee to a seasoned professional, use their time most effectively? If you could take 15 minutes out of your day to take an important lesson, or take 2 minutes to watch a video to refresh your memory on an everyday task, would you do it?

Training 101

There are many training opportunities in the plastics industry, from on-the-job training to seminars and conferences to books and e-learning. Finding the right approach is important for every individual but generally a combination of training methods is optimal. One way Kruse Training is becoming part of this blended learning approach is by offering a focused-learning training platform. Neither the time nor financial commitment is prohibitive, allowing for increased efficiency for your company. Your staff will have more time to do other things and potentially more money to be spent elsewhere!

Molding MachineIt’s all about Industry 4.0

As the plastics industry moves toward Industry 4.0, or the fourth industrial revolution, technological innovation and new protocols for machine-to-machine and machine-to-central-computer communications will become commonplace. Plastic machinery companies and suppliers of auxiliary equipment can now train engineering staff online. Training modules and online tutorials focused on operating procedures, processing tips, tutorials and preventive maintenance procedures for machinery can be provided from a central location to a global audience. Kruse Training is positioned to ride the wave of Industry 4.0 with learning 4.0 innovation alongside the leaders from broad range of industry disciplines.

Circle of Knowledge GraphicWhat is the “Circle of Knowledge?”

Simply put, the “Circle of Knowledge” is a way for part designers, mold designers and process engineers to better understand the work of their co-workers. With an improved awareness of each role, the engineering team can make effective, big-picture, data-driven design decisions. Of course, part designers will not become molding experts, and molders will not become designers, but even a slightly improved understanding of each other’s expertise will result in improved workflow and productivity.

Here’s an example of where the “Circle of Knowledge” would be applicable: a part is designed, the mold is built, and then when the molder begins to work the process he/she discovers that the mold can only be optimized in a window that too small for molding a quality part.  Therefore, the part and mold would each need to be reworked to address the issue. This costly setback could be avoided if each team member had a better understanding of the challenges and processes of their colleagues and the opportunity for earlier input into the design process.

Torsten Kruse developed the “Circle of Knowledge” because he had been using simulation technology at Kruse Analysis to show part and mold designers cause and effect behavior in molding. Using this strategy, he would recommend changes to optimize part and mold design, giving the molder a robust and wide process window. This first-hand experience in how collaboration and interaction between these three job areas created a more successful outcome and inspired him to share his knowledge with the industry.

Living Hinge Moving Side Tool

Focused Learning for the Injection Molding Industry

Kruse Training stands out from other training programs because of its focused learning approach and through its multimedia format which pulls the student into the learning process. The lessons are short enough to hold a learner’s attention, yet thorough. The lessons contain simulations on real parts that reinforce the learning outcome and the engineers’ overall understanding of interactions in a real molding environment.

Because of the program’s multi-level approach, Kruse Training is a valuable tool for a wide array of professionals, from entry-level to experienced engineers. Kruse is designed for part and mold designers, mold makers, and molders – basically everyone in the injection molding industry.

Kruse is confident his customers will be both large companies that will invest in training for their engineers, as well as individuals and companies interested in continuing their employee’s education.  With the launch of the program in Spanish, Portuguese and Mandarin, Kruse Training will appeal to an international audience as well.

Some of the topics covered by Kruse Training include: part design, mold design, polymer materials, processing, and in the future special molding techniques (e.g. silicon LSR molding, rubber molding, thermoset, MIM/PIM, MuCell, over-molding, insert molding, two-shot, gas assist, co-injection, chemical foaming, injection compression, etc.).


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