Maintenance Technicians Dive Deep into Automation Training at Automotive Plant

After spending millions of dollars on its assembly plant to accommodate production of a new vehicle, a major automotive manufacturer needed a tailored solution to train maintenance technicians on its automated systems. The customer selected LEONI Engineering Products and Services, Inc. (LEPS) to provide the service because of LEPS’ experience in developing automation training unique to the needs of the facility and its people.

Using the plant’s existing equipment and LEONI mobile training units, LEPS instructors trained 140 maintenance technicians, covering 100–120 hours each, for the body-in-white assembly process. The curriculum included three levels of Robotic Applied Troubleshooting, two levels of Controls Applied Troubleshooting, and one level of plant-specific Drives Training.

“LEPS automation training is system level. This isn’t just a robot class or PLC class or application class,” says Keith Burgess, with Business Unit Industrial Solutions at LEPS. “Our hands-on instructors teach to the plant’s standards as well as how each application communicates with the others.”

LEONI’s comprehensive approach to automation training emphasizes learning by doing. For example, Level III of Robotic Applied Troubleshooting involves a full mechanical teardown of the robot so that the technicians responsible for maintaining it understand how it operates.

The training program also creates a more engaging environment for students — and better retention rates. Adult learners retain about 75 percent of their training when it’s experiential, as compared with 30 percent from demonstration. And when you’re participating in more than 100 hours of training in any form, the mind naturally strays.

“LEONI instructors have done a great job as far as keeping our people involved and interested in the training,” says a representative for the automotive manufacturer. “We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback on the training program.”

That same customer points to other advantages of the training program: LEONI’s flexibility to make changes, its professional instructors, and its competitive costs. “We have been using LEONI for over a year now, and the training has been very successful,” says the representative.

When a manufacturing facility measures success in productivity gains, reduced downtime, and improvements in quality and safety, a modest investment in system-level automation training can pay off for years to come.