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Training & Education

Cooperative learning

By Lauren Duensing

Sawblade University moves the reference library to video

July 2021 - While working, people often run into problems. And those problems need solutions. This basic concept is at the root of Sawblade.com CEO Chris Luke’s new online manufacturing training library, Sawblade University. Luke says he began to assess the idea of a collection of educational videos when talking with students at trade shows. “They’re a pulse on what’s going to happen in the future.”

Sawblade.com was already producing videos for customers detailing how best to cut specific materials, Luke says. For instance, if an aerospace manufacturer showed interest in how to successfully cut a specific grade of titanium, “they send us a small piece, we put it on the saw and produce an entire video for that company—a video they can keep and review and show employees.

“We have so much footage where we explain to people how to do things that we decided to make it a school.”

At first, Luke envisioned the training site consisting of these “Tech Tips” plus a few additional lessons, but over the past two years, the project has grown to more than 300 video lessons covering precision metalworking topics from training in tool and die making to welding and sheet metal working. “It had a mind of its own,” he says.

Teaching tools

The Sawblade.com team has always believed in listening to its customers because continuous dialogue leads to great ideas. Every Sawblade University online class has been reviewed and validated by industry experts, and every instructor-led class is delivered by experts that have been carefully vetted. And the site is continually being updated as companies, schools, teachers and students provide feedback. For example, teachers wanted to know if they would be able to monitor whether students completed assignments. In response, “we implemented supervisory roles where a supervisor or teacher can sign up students, and then when a student takes the test, the supervisor will get a course-completion notification with their scores,” Luke says. “Once they’ve taken the class, they can always log back in” for review.

Each video is a short (about a minute and one-half to two minutes long) “mini lecture” on the subject. For instance, in the category of safety, there will be about 16 video modules, including one on how to decipher earplug ratings. “The idea was to make it easy so people would want to watch it and absorb it,” Luke says.

“We’ve grouped classes together: quality overview, metal manufacturing, elements of the cutting process, introduction to metal, physical properties of metals, personal protection and safety, how to classify metals, and so forth. Each of these classes are clearly defined.

If you just want to know the characteristics of metal, you can go to Intro to Metals, which has 18 lessons, and select number four to view the information you need.”

Accessible education

Luke is planning for the site to be fully on the market in early June, and the pricing structure will accommodate trade schools with free memberships. Luke stresses that the lessons are for everyone. “We tried to develop a program that is conducive for all types of learning. The videos are configured so they will run on slower broadband speeds. Students can go to any public Wi-Fi and stream our classes.” He hopes Sawblade University will help schools provide interesting and engaging programs to their students. “We will consistently put a lot of effort into it and fix it as it goes along, listening to users’ constructive criticism. We have budgeted for these improvements.”

Digital communication and learning has grown and improved impressively over the last year, and Luke thinks the model is here to stay—after people have recovered from Zoom fatigue. “I think people are going to want to get off the screen for a little bit [post-pandemic]. But when the opportunity comes to go back to school, they know this works.” FFJ

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Company Profiles

AIR FILTRATION

IRONWORKERS

NESTING SOFTWARE

SERVICE CENTERS

Camfil APC - Equipment Trilogy Machinery Inc. Metamation Inc. Admiral Steel
Camfil APC - Replacement Filters

LASER TECHNOLOGY

PLASMA TECHNOLOGY

Alliance Steel
Donaldson Company Inc. AMADA AMERICA, INC. Messer Cutting Systems Inc.

SOFTWARE

BENDING/FOLDING

Mazak Optonics Corp.

PLATE

Enmark Systems Inc.
MetalForming Inc. MC Machinery Systems Inc. Peddinghaus Lantek Systems Inc.
RAS Systems LLC Murata Machinery, USA, Inc.

PLATE & ANGLE ROLLS

SecturaSOFT

BEVELING

TRUMPF Inc. Davi Inc. SigmaTEK Systems LLC
Steelmax Tools LLC

LINEAR POSITION SENSORS

Trilogy Machinery Inc. Striker Systems

COIL PROCESSING

MTS Sensors

PRESS BRAKE TOOLING

STAMPING/PRESSES

Bradbury Group

MATERIAL HANDLING

Mate Precision Tooling AIDA-America Corp.
Burghardt + Schmidt Group EMH Crane Rolleri USA Nidec Press & Automation
Butech Bliss Fehr Warehouse Solutions Inc.

PRESS BRAKES

STEEL

Red Bud Industries UFP Industrial AMADA AMERICA, INC. Alliance Steel
Tishken

MEASUREMENT & QUALITY CONTROL

Automec Inc.

TUBE & PIPE

CONVEYOR SYSTEMS

Advanced Gauging Technologies MC Machinery Systems Inc. BLM Group
Mayfran International

METAL FABRICATION MACHINERY

SafanDarley HGG Profiling Equipment Inc.

DEBURRING/FINISHING

Cincinnati Inc.

PUNCHING

Prudential Stainless & Alloys
ATI Industrial Automation LVD Strippit Hougen Manufacturing

WATERJET

Lissmac Corp. Scotchman Industries Inc.

SAWING

Barton International
Osborn Trilogy Machinery Inc. Behringer Saws Inc. Jet Edge Waterjet Systems
SuperMax Tools

METAL FORMING

Cosen Saws Omax Corp.
Timesavers FAGOR Arrasate USA Inc. DoALL Sawing

WELDING

HYDRAULIC PRESSES

MetalForming Inc. HE&M Saw American Weldquip
Beckwood Press Co.

MICROFINISHING TOOLS

Savage Saws Strong Hand Tools
Triform Titan Tool Supply Inc.

 

T. J. Snow Company

TPMG2022 Brands


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