10 years of successful cooperation: a unique training and demonstration centre works in Perm Polytechnic University

04 December 2018

The training and demonstration centre is a unique form of cooperation between Perm Polytechnic University and Ural-Tool-Pumori, one of Russia’s largest engineering companies. The press service of the University interviewed Director of the PNIPU–PUMORI Training and Demonstration Centre Mr. Timur Ablyaz, Cand. Tech., Docent, Head of Materials, Technologies, and Machine Design Department. He dwelt on the main activities, continuity of technologies, and nearest future plans.

Perm National Research Polytechnic University cooperates fruitfully with some major industrial enterprises of the country. What is the mission of the collaboration with Ural-Tool-Pumori?

Today, Perm Polytechnic may rightly be called a machine-building competence centre. Our graduates hold senior positions in the majority of leading machine-building companies of the city of Perm. During the time I have been head of the department, five of its graduates became — within three years — shop managers or engineering office heads. Scientific development by the researchers of the university translates into advanced items of oil production equipment, fifth-generation aircraft engines, special-purpose products, etc. One of the reasons why this work is so effective is continuous investment of the university administration in the development of the student training laboratory facilities. This is a distinctive feature of our university: we don’t hide advanced technical items behind the glass, we put them to the forefront in our educational process. However, the development dynamics of the technical fit-out in machine building look very similar to the development pace of the IT industry. More than that, the instrumentation of modern machine tools is more and more like that of computers. Collaboration with Ural-Tool-Pumori allows us to stay up to date with all new developments in the market of machine-tool and tooling productions. Opened in 2007, the PNIPU–PUMORI Training and Demonstration Centre is one of the key elements in the development of this activity, making it possible to train teachers, students, and personnel of industrial businesses with state-of-the-art equipment and tools. This type of collaboration format is exceptional not only for Perm Krai, but for the whole of Russia.

You called the collaboration exceptional. How does it make itself felt?

Actually, the trends in the development of CNC machine tools are changing at the same rate as telephone models. Everybody remembers the 3G iPhone, which appeared in 2008 and literally conquered the world. And now we are being offered the X series iPhone already. There are quite a lot of training educational centres in this country where machine tools are purchased by the university. However successful a university might be, none would be able to completely replace its lineup of machine tools even once in five years. Now, back to our iPhone analogy. That means that other universities teach use of the 3G iPhone, while in Perm they study the X iPhone. The key lies in the unique agreement made by PNIPU and Pumori. The equipment of the Centre is owned by the company, and is used exclusively within the educational process of the university. The company renews the whole machine fleet at its own cost at least every three years. On the other hand, cooperation with PNIPU enables Pumori to bring in leading industrial enterprises as customers for engineering.

At present, there are several units of modern machinery in the training and demonstration centre. They are turning, milling, sinking and wire-cutting electrical discharge machines; there is also a well-equipped multimedia classroom for students to train the techniques on simulators before starting work on machine tools.

So, PNIPU students always use state-of-the-art equipment. And it’s not just words. The high-tech machines installed in the PNIPU-PUMORI Centre can be seen in the world’s leading concerns, such as Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ltd, The Boeing Company a. o.

How does the training of students in the Centre go on? What do they learn, what skills do the acquire?

On a daily basis, training is given here to students of the Mechanical-Technological and of the Aerospace faculties. They work through the process of manufacture of a very simple part, for example a shaft. At first, they use modern CAM/CAD systems to design the technological process. Then they drop it on a USB stick and integrate into the CNC machine. After that they “teach” the machine to work according to the process, assign the tools,set all necessary movements, and start the machine. In doing so, they go all the portions of the route: the designer’s, the process engineer’s, and the CNC operator’s. Those are precisely the competencies they will need in their work. Besides, the Centre regularly gives tours round the facility to students from other faculties. This experience broadens the minds, allows the students to view a problem at various angles, making them more competent and competitive in their areas.

Are they taught by teachers of the University?

The Centre involves staff of the Materials, Technologies, and Machine Design Department as well as specialists of Ural-Tool-Pumori. The company also brings in speakers from major companies manufacturing metal-cutting and metalworking equipment. Thus, representatives of such companies as Sandvik, Siemens, FANUC, conduct study groups aimed not at the development of commercial relations, but in terms of reviewing the knowhow that students must be keen on looking into in order to become really creative in the future.

You mentioned that the students only use advanced equipment. And do you tell them anything about machine tools of the past?

By all means. We strain after continuity of technologies. We saw that in European universities, where they first show the students how it all began, and then, where it's come to. As it’s said,.students should know their onions: what’s the speed-change box, the gearing, the feed gearbox. Therefore, in the process of their studies, the students familiarize themselves with manual machines, they have obligatory hands-on courses of operating millers and lathes, and it is only in the third year that they proceed to NC machinery.

What other areas of activities are important for the Centre?

We place a lot of emphasis on the development of career guidance counselling with schools. Our city is one of the leaders of machine building in Russia. However, the appeal of the engineering profession is, unfortunately, paling beside such classy notions as digitalization. Young guys think it is a dull occupation, but when they come to our Centre, they clearly see what production looks like nowadays. It is maximum of competencies in operating a CNC machine tool. Such advanced machinery can only be run by highly skilled workers. If earlier one spoke about good hands, now we are speaking of a good head. We try to involve school students of classes 8 and 10 in more in-depth master classes, while those of classes 9 and 11, since they face state examinations, might be taken on more generalized tours.

Do school students also create something during the training?

Yes, certainly. To be sure, we take extreme care of the students’ safety. With our guidance, they use their own hands, or rather brains, to operate the computer and design a model and the technological process; after that, they walk over to the machine tool to work there.

According to statistics, do many of them then come to the university?

We monitor the trend. For now, it's like this: over 60 percent of those who have visited our Training and Demonstration Centre and attended career guidance classes here, later choose our university.

What are the nearest future plans of the Centre?

A promising activity is designing a robotic cell within the Industry 4.0 concept. Together with Ural-Tool-Pumori we enlisted the cooperation of the partners — FANUC and Renishaw, leaders in the area of machine building. It is planned, within the framework of this collaboration, to set up a completely robotized line, from loading through machine setup to measuring. The main goal is to teach students running robotized systems and stay up to date within Industry 4.0 when absolutely all production processes will be automated.

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