The Importance of Education in the Tube and Pipe and Roll Form Industries (Part 1 of 2)

The need for education in the tube and pipe and roll form industry presents itself in many forms.  An order that’s late in delivery could have been delayed by numerous factors.  An order rejected due to inferior quality and defects not only creates waste, it presents yet another opportunity to repeat the same mistake.  Regardless of what may have caused these and other problems, the underlying truth is that too many things went wrong, too many corrective attempts, however well-intended, were made too late and probably by too many hands.   Consistency breaks down; methods become incompatible, while each individual is asked to perform to a standard which has not been clearly defined.

Establishing Standard Operating Procedures

This then becomes the focal point of the preparation effort, establishing these standard operating procedures (SOPs).  The lack of standards is indiscriminate in its effect on the overall profitability of the firm.  It neither starts at the beginning, nor stops at the end of the production line.  

  • Errors made in scheduling can affect proper mill and tooling setup.
  • Errors made in setup affect tooling wear and product quality.
  • Errors made in tooling maintenance affect mill productivity.
  • Errors made in production affect scheduling.

Then the phenomenon occurs, and not surprisingly, the cycle repeats itself, over and over again.
In reality, total elimination of errors is unrealistic. Even though all is done that is possible at each juncture to adjust for errors, more often than not, the subsequent task will also require adjustment. Therefore, adjusting for errors properly becomes critical and a concerted effort to establish standards and procedures must be taken to properly prepare all involved personnel. This effort is generally best accomplished by trained and experienced professionals though a comprehensive seminar, complete with audio-visual aids and hands-on problem solving sessions.

The Need for Tube and Pipe and Roll Forming Seminars

There are two basic forms of education: formal education and informal education. Formal education requires objective "text book" studies followed by examination and graduation, and then practical application. Informal education employs subjective instruction practiced through experience and applied during the entire process.
Generally speaking, education is passed on from one individual to another. Yet neither formal nor informal education necessarily hands down the whole truth or picture. In the business of tube and pipe and roll form manufacturing, both forms of education contribute and detract from effectively achieving optimum standards. To achieve such standards, it is imperative that ample preparation be taken beyond formal and information education.

Having a "well-rounded" conception of the tube and pipe and roll form manufacturing process enables the individuals to think correctly, ask the right questions, and pursue a common standard of excellence, which of course directly benefits the firm's performance and profitability. Merely performing a task does not fully explain what an individual does. As an integral part of a unitized mechanism, each singular task becomes the foundation upon which the next level is to be built on.

To help achieve this goal, consultants and tooling manufacturers offer various seminar programs designed so that tube and pipe and roll form producers can capitalize on all available knowledge and effectively channel that knowledge towards the betterment of the individuals, the operation and the end product.
Beware, as some seminars are nothing more than a sales pitch in a seminar's clothing. Although the "FREE" seminar is appealing in nature, the real value lies in the seminar's ability to truly enhance the overall performance of your mill operation. The content of the seminar and the instructors you select must be of the highest caliber.

Although you can probably gain something from just about any seminar, get to know the firm offering this service. Meet and discuss your needs with the instructors, learn of their credentials and find out if their knowledge and experience is current. Much advancement has been made, particularly in the area of computer aided manufacturing. Thus, many mills have been re-configured to run a diversified range of product and materials which put an added burden on the operators if they have not been properly instructed on how to run their mills under these modified conditions.

A customized program will best address the need to improve quality and establish an organized approach to problem solving. A thoroughly targeted seminar can yield immediate results. Aversions to seminars are easily dismissed when even the smallest application of learned practices produces drastic changes such as the reduction of scrap from the tube/pipe/roll form mills.

Part two of this series on education will cover the specifics that you should expect from a tube and pipe or roll form seminar and how to go about choosing your provider. Click here to read on.

Written by:
Robert A. Sladky
Vice President Tube Mill Engineering


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