After years of work, the Association of Rotational Molders has launched an online operator training program, and is providing it free to ARM members.
"It's been a request from the membership for a long, long time," said ARM President Dru Laws.
Ultimately, ARM leaders will make and record 11 webinars covering six hours of training, divided up into segments of about 15-20 minutes. The training gives an introduction to the rotomolding process, with a focus on operator-specific issues. Companies can do the video training at work — maybe over lunch in a conference room — or employees can do it at home, Laws said.
Officials with Glen Ellyn, Ill.-based ARM plan to conduct a new presentation every two weeks. The webinars are presented live, and ARM wants companies to encourage operators to take part in the live version. Later, they are edited and posted online. Laws said the free-to-members training is funded by the Rotomolding Education and Development Foundation, a charitable entity that is separate from ARM, as well as the ARM Education Committee.
"This operator training program that ARM is doing, in my opinion is the greatest benefit that we have ever offered our membership," Laws said.
Laws conducted the first webinar on Feb. 14, "What to Know on Day One." More than 80 people participated live — more than any previous ARM webinar. The online recordings have been viewed more than 400 times since the program began, said ARM's executive director, Adam Webb.
Nick Henwood, ARM's technical director, will conduct many of the sessions
After each session goes online, ARM sends a survey out, and uses that feedback to improve the next session. Some of the feedback also will spliced back into that specific session. Webb does the editing.
"So if we missed everything that people were anticipating, we fill in the gaps in the next module," Laws said.
Other sessions from the first four webinars are entitled "Venting" and "Parting Lines, Contamination Minimizing Waste." The final session is a review.
Other topics will cover tooling and tool maintenance, correct weighing and material handling, what happens during rotomolding, mold release agents, identifying the correct materials, safety, shrinkage and warpage and thickness control.
Laws said every session will cover safety for that specific task.
Laws is senior vice president of the plastics division at Seljan Co. Inc. in Lake Mills, Wis.