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Fascinating competitions with SINUMERIK at the WorldSkills Leipzig 2013

The WorldSkills taking place last week were full of emotions: More than 1,000 participants competed to be the champion in their job.

Further, prizes were awarded in four CNC disciplines. The winners are listed on the following pages.

We would like to congratulate all winners! But also those participants who have not won any medal could gain new knowledge and make great experiences.

Interview with the supervisor for Plastic Die Engineering

The demonstration competition in Plastic Die Engineering will be held for the second time at WorldSkills Leipzig 2013. We held a short interview with supervisor Johann Keller.

CNC4you: Hello Mr. Keller. Could you say a few words about yourself and tell us something about the jobs you have done in the past and how you came to WorldSkills?

Johann Keller: I'm a pensioner and worked as an engineer for process control systems in Germany and abroad. It was my work at SES (Senior Experts Service) that first brought me into contact with WorldSkills. SES is a foundation which gives retired people the opportunity to pass on their skills and know-how on a voluntary basis in projects at home and abroad. WorldSkills was looking for an expert in the field of plastic die engineering to establish the competition and organize everything in Leipzig. That roused my interest and I've been actively involved ever since.

CNC4you: Could you give us a brief description of plastic die engineering – the skill for which you are the Workshop Supervisor? This skill is one of the more recently established competitions, isn't it?

Johann Keller: At the moment it is still a demonstration competition. It won't become an official WorldSkills discipline until it has been held at three events. In this discipline, the competitors produce an injection mold within a specified time. Their starting point is a drawing of the finished plastic part. The participants use this to design the injection mold and have to take, for example, the separation surface, the ejectors and even the material shrinkage into account. The NC programs are then generated in the CAM system and the corresponding molded parts are milled on the CNC milling machine. After that, the surfaces are polished and the mold is assembled. Finally, ten trial injections are carried out on the injection molding machine. The judges evaluate both the mold and the finished plastic parts.

CNC4you: What machines will be used in Leipzig?

Johann Keller: There are MILLTAP 700 complete machining centers from DMG / MORI SEIKI available for milling. They are equipped with SINUMERIK 840D sl controllers and the SINUMERIK Operate user interface. An Arburg machine will be used for injection molding.

CNC4you: This discipline calls for extensive know-how which does not have so much in common with your specialist field, process control systems. What kind of support do you receive?

Johann Keller: Each competition has a whole team of its own to work on organizational aspects. I plan each step together with the highly qualified Indian senior expert and other experts from around the world. You can see by looking at the participating countries like Japan, India, China, Indonesia, Korea, and India which countries specialize in this field.

CNC4you: What do you hope WorldSkills Leipzig 2013 will do for the demonstration competition?

Johann Keller: The only European competitor is from Ireland. I, of course, would like to see more European participants, German participants in particular, and I hope that Leipzig will provide a certain stimulus for the competition. In Germany of all places – the "center of mechanical engineering" – there should be enough qualified participants to take on the task. Perhaps we will be able to find a suitable partner from industry to become involved in the organization for SkillsGermany's Plastic Die Engineering – as is the case with milling and turning. Such a partner could then introduce a German championship for this discipline. Of course, it would be great if a German competitor were to vie for the title in 2015.

CNC4you:  Mr. Keller, thank you for the interesting interview and for explaining this new discipline. We hope that you and your team experience an exciting competition in Leipzig and that you perhaps receive one or two inquiries from partners for future competitions.

Herbert Mattes, trainer and expert for CNC milling

Herbert Mattes is a trainer at CHIRON-WERKE GmbH & Co. KG in Tuttlingen, Germany. Since the world championships 2007 in Japan he has been the expert for the CNC milling sector at SkillsGermany. Together with CHIRON he hosts the CNC milling preliminaries for the SkillsGermany and attends the competitions as an expert. In an interview we could talk briefly about the contestants.

CNC4you: Hello Mr. Mattes, could you please introduce yourself briefly?

Herbert Mattes: I have been working at Chiron for more than 30 years and for 10 years I have been responsible for the vocational training.

CNC4you: How did you come to the SkillsGermany as an expert for CNC milling?

Herbert Mattes: That happened relatively fast. In June 2007 I was asked whether I wanted to become an expert at the SkillsGermany and after I had said yes I already attended the 39th world championships in Shizuoka/Japan in September with the first contestant. By then I hadn't known what I was in for. In 2008 we at Chiron hosted and organized the first prequalification for the SkillsGermany and then the big competition at the AMB (International Exhibition for Metal Working) in Stuttgart. Since then, the SkillsGermany competitions have been taking place again regularly. In 2010 at the Euroskills in Lissabon we had the greatest success so far as the winner of the European championship in CNC milling.

CNC4you: What requirements have to be met by the contestants? Apart from machine operation, programming with the CAM system is an additional component.

Herbert Mattes: First of all, the contestants should have profound knowledge of how to read drawings and of CAM system programming. Usually, Mastercam is used due the global application. The contestants have to create the best programming solution in a very short time. Since they only get a paper drawing, they have to convert the contour skillfully in the CAM. The contours are designed so tricky that some thinking is required. In particular tolerance class 7, with a tolerance of one to two percent, requires adapted programming. So, the contestants have to describe the contour such that they are in the middle of the tolerance because otherwise they will later have problems when programming exactly to zero measure. Apart from that, good tool knowledge is required. The candidates decide with which tool the most effective and fastest machining is possible.

CNC4you: Are the tools provided or do the contestants bring their own assortment along?

Herbert Mattes: There is a tool pool which they have to have available. They get a tool suggestion with standard tools. However, the candidates select their tools and strategies themselves; there are no specifications with regard to that. The goal is to execute the machining as quickly as possible.

CNC4you: You as an experienced Skills expert could watch the candidates at many competitions. In your opinion, what are the strengths of the German contestants?

Herbert Mattes: The contestants from Central Europe, especially from Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Austria, and also Germany, of course, who have experienced a dual vocational education and training, can spontaneously adapt themselves to changing situations. That is, if something does not go as expected, they can quickly search for a new solution and implement it. Other contestants who have strongly been trained for a schematic system react rather unskillfully. The technical knowledge of all contestants is on the same level.

CNC4you: Why should a company invest time and money for their trainees' participation? The loss of time and the costs are considerable.

Herbert Mattes: The company's participation in the competitions makes the training much more interesting and attractive for potential trainees. For the applicants it is quite impressive that they could participate in the world championships. For the candidates it has enormous advantages. They are trained in systems that are usually not trained that intensely, for example CAM systems, and they work on most diverse machines. In particular the special trainings for milling strategies and tools with the tool manufacturers yield a lot. Adding to that is, of course, the meeting of the global competitors in order to compete and also to establish contacts.

CNC4you: So, this is a good basis also for the later professional life. Have you also gained this experience with the contestants?

Herbert Mattes: For our two contestants from Chiron I can only say that after the end of their training period they immediately changed to application technology and are no longer in production. Both now work all over the world and have made a real career jump. The third candidate from a different company started to study after his training period and is supported with a scholarship by his company because of his good performance.

CNC4you: So, the Skills really seem to be a talent pool. Thank you very much for the informative conversation.

CNC machines DMG / MORI SEIKI with SINUMERIK at the WorldSkills Leipzig 2013

We could talk briefly with Jörg Harings, the person responsible for the overall training management at the DMG / MORI SEIKI Academy, about the competition machines and the WorldSkills in Leipzig. Mr. Harings already attended the world championships in 2007 as an expert for CNC turning and has since then been organizing, among others, the SkillsGermany CNC Turning competitions and will also attend the WorldSkills in Leipzig as a technical coordinator in this sector.

CNC4you: Hello Mr. Harings, coming from Siemens we are, of course, first of all interested why the competition machines are equipped with SINUMERIK controls.

Jörg Harings: We decided in favor of SINUMERIK 840D sl with SINUMERIK Operate because in this competition we want to present our latest high-end machines with cutting-edge technology. Moreover, Siemens provides a universal control with an identical operator interface for turning and milling. That was important to us.

CNC4you: As an expert at the competitions as well as at DMG / MORI SEIKI you have gained experience with Skills contestants. From your point of view, why should a company have its trainees enter in the Skills competitions and what are the benefits?

Jörg Harings: We at DMG / MORI SEIKI, in particular those responsible for training, have found out that contestants bring in many new impulses into the vocational training. The trainees approach difficult issues on their own initiative and work much more practice-oriented; the thirst for knowledge has clearly increased. On the whole, the quality of the trainees and the training has improved. Of course, the contestants bring back lots of experience from the competitions to the company, from which everybody benefits.

CNC4you: You are also the one organizing the training for the contestants in the CNC sector around the world. With the considerable number of more than 50 contestants, this is an enormous logistical effort.

Jörg Harings: We established two training bases: one in Germany and one in Singapore. At these bases, the competitors can acquaint themselves with the machines for two and a half days in advance. The trainers are available on site.

CNC4you: Now the world championship is back in the own country after a long time. Where do you as an experienced WorldSkills observer see the strengths and chances of the German contestants?

Jörg Harings: One advantage is surely the application of the Siemens control. This is widely used in Germany and the German contestants get on with it very well. Moreover, the quality of the German vocational training is ahead of the other countries in terms of flexibility. This means that the German contestants have a clear advantage in independent, action-oriented problem solving.

CNC4you: Thank you very much for this interview and we wish you successful WorldSkills 2013.