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Future-proof training

Rapid technological progress presents major challenges for trainers – and many companies and vocational schools are still teaching on outdated machine tools. The training workshop run by tire manufacturer Michelin is breaking new ground in CNC technology while taking advantage of the benefits of technology leasing.

At Michelin, CNC technology is an important part of in-company training

From l. to r.: Alois Penzkofer , user support at Siemens, Witali Reiswich, trainer at Michelin, and Martin Trepesch, head of the technical department at Optimum, are delighted about the successful collaboration.

Modern car tires are incredibly high-tech products. Manufactured using complex production processes, they can ensure traction and short braking distances in almost any weather, while also being extremely long-wearing and fuel-efficient. Every day, more than 22,000 tires in sizes from 16 to 18 inches leave the Michelin factory in Hallstadt – near Bamberg, Germany – which employs over900 people. In order to keep up with the demand for skilled employees, there are currently 45 young men and women in the training workshop going through their three-and-a-half-year training as industrial mechanics and electricians. “We train to our own requirements, and employ all of our trainees whenever possible. CNC technology has not been a priority in the past. It was merely part of vocational school training, and not relevant to the exams in our training professions. We wanted to strengthen this area in order to better prepare our trainees for the future and to maintain Michelin’s long-term competitiveness as a training company,” explains trainer Witali Reiswich.

However, there is a stumbling block on the road to this goal: the age-old issue of cost.

Special leasing concept for training workshops

At the central workshop in Hallstadt, precision blades that are used as tools in tire production are manufactured on a machine tool equipped with Sinumerik 840D sl. The programs – for both series production and for the many prototypes – are developed in a tool chain with SolidWorks and Sinumerik. The trainees occasionally used the machine to create smaller programs and workpieces, such as trophies, but with increased utilization of the machine overall this was no longer possible. “We then looked into investing in a three-axis milling machine for the training workshop. However, this was financially unfeasible. Our biggest concern was that the technology becomes outdated very quickly. After all, training on an old machine is counter-productive,” highlights Reiswich. “Thankfully, we then came into contact with machine tool builder Optimum and found out that we could benefit from its concept for schools and training workshops.”


Optimum works closely with the publishers and teaching aid specialists from Dr.-Ing. Paul Christiani GmbH & Co. KG, based in Konstanz, Germany. Together they are able to offer machines for teaching and training, as well as provide training sessions to help trainers and trainees gain certifications in Sinumerik.

Always up to date

Witali Reiswich, Trainer with tire manufacturer Micheli : »We now know that we will always have access to the latest technologies, machines, CNCs and tools in the training workshop.«

A collaboration between machine tool builder Optimum and Siemens Financial Services ended up resulting in an opportunity that was able to support the Michelin training workshop’s investment plan. With technology leasing from Siemens Financial Services, Optimum offered the tire manufacturer an OPTImill F150 with Sinumerik 828D. The benefits are clear: instead of a one-off large investment, Michelin now pays fixed, calculable leasing installments which can also be deducted as operating costs. The leasing contract runs for five years, after which Optimum – working together with Siemens Financial Services – switches out the used machine. Michelin receives the current successor model featuring the latest technology, and the cycle of leasing installments begins again.

Reiswich is delighted, particularly for his trainees: “We now know that we will always have access to the latest technologies, machines, CNCs, and tools in the training workshop. That is a key plus point for our training.” In addition, trainees can now create and simulate programs with Sinutrain on the computer in the teaching room, away from the machine. Thanks to Sinumerik Operate, the machines have the same operator interface and the programs are fully compatible, meaning that the programs can also run in the training workshop. The advantage here is that the training machines can assist in the production of the precision blades during peak workloads.

"The OPTImill F150 was set up in the training workshop in October, 2017. We are currently working on integration into the training schedule and shopfloor operation, as well as concrete training content. We receive support in the form of the documents available on the Siemens website, as well as additional certification options through training sessions from Optimum – especially as it is located nearby," explains trainer Reiswich.

04/26/2018 | Author: Armin Bärnklau