AKRON, OHIO — For the first time, Paulson Training Programs Inc. plans to customize versions of its CD-ROMs for commercial brands of plastics machinery. For years, machines that appeared on a Paulson instructional-training videotape or CD-ROM were always generic, not from any specific manufacturer. While the bulk of Paulson instructional materials will continue to have the generic format, the company has decided to branch out into custom products to reach a wider audience, said General Manager Craig Paulson.
The Chester, Conn.-based company has sold training systems to about 750 molding companies — just a fraction of the total. Linking with machinery makers and other suppliers is a way to reach a wider audience, Craig Paulson said.
"The key thing in our business is to get people started on it," he said.
The company already has set up a deal with Mold Masters Ltd., the hot-runner supplier in Georgetown, Ontario. Paulson Training is creating a special Mold Masters version of the Paulson hot-runner training program, which is scheduled to be introduced at NPE 2000 in June.
Mold Masters will sell Paulson products in all of its offices. Also, both companies are teaming up to offer training seminars.
Now Paulson is talking with two injection press makers about similar arrangements, Craig Paulson said during a Feb. 1 interview at Plastics News' offices in Akron. Paulson, who declined to identify the companies, expects to make an announcement before NPE.
In other news, Paulson Training has launched a simulation program for injection molding and has hired Torsten Kruse as technical program development manager.
The SkillBuilder injection molding CD-ROM boasts advanced animation and realistic sound. Directions, both written on the screen and in spoken word, run the student through 15 short lessons with titles such as "Setting Machine Controls" and "The Effects of Back Pressure."
After the student changes one parameter in the program, other parameters change as the software runs through some 20 million calculations, Paulson said. For example, SkillBuilder shows how a change in melt pressure impacts melt temperature.
When the student clicks on the cycle icon, an animated injection press closes with a satisfying ker-chunk. When it opens, the part falls out. Part defects are shown.
Paulson is pitching SkillBuilder as a virtual lab, where the student actually runs the machine, Craig Paulson said. Earlier Paulson programs, which are set up in more static, question-and-answer format, are the "classroom."
"We can make it so you get an A on the test. That doesn't mean you can walk out in the plant and run the machine," he said. "We want to bridge the gap between the classroom setting ... to the production floor. SkillBuilder allows us to do that."
Skilled molders can run the "Free Mold" option, which lets students set up all parameters without any help.
Paulson plans to extend SkillBuilder to other processes, including extrusion and blow molding. Also, it has beefed up its staff by hiring Kruse. He has moved his firm, Kruse Analysis Inc., from Newington, Conn., into the Paulson headquarters.
Two years ago, Paulson first hired Kruse on a consulting basis to push the company's training products in Europe. Now Kruse is on the payroll as a full-time employee, Craig Paulson said.
Kruse will focus on script writing and content management. He also will help create software that simulates injection molding. He teaches Paulson's three-day injection molding seminar.
Kruse will continue his business as a consultant to molders for Moldflow mold-filling simulation software.