How FANUC built CNC, robotics training programs

Dean Steadman, CNC Education program manager for FANUC, joins Amanda Del Buono and Thomas Wilk, editor in chief of Putman Media’s Plant Services magazine, to share how the company built its training program to help manufacturers throughout the United States find the trained CNC machinists they need. The following is an excerpt from the interview. Read the full transcript here: 

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Amanda: Let's just get started. Can you tell me what the story is behind your CNC program? Why was it important to your company to get involved in education in the first place?

Dean: Absolutely. FANUC is a large industrial supplier of CNC controls to other machine tool builders. We have a large install base out there, and we were getting feedback from some of our large industry customers, the end users, that they were struggling to find people with adequate skills in CNC programming and machine operation and things like that. We really listened to that feedback that we were getting and decided to put a program in place. And this all started about six or seven years ago.

Amanda: Oh, wow. And how has the program grown in that six or seven years? I mean, what was it to begin with?

Dean: Before we had my program we were, like I said, a manufacturer of equipment, but we didn't interact with schools or anything like that. We didn't have a curriculum for the students. We didn't really have training specific equipment either. Everything was very industrial, so we worked with our parent company in Japan to develop simulators. We worked with an outside company to actually provide and develop curriculum for the students to use and then training courses as well for the instructors to come to FANUC to learn as well.

Amanda: Oh, wow. So there's a lot going into just putting it together.

Dean: Yeah, there's a lot of moving pieces and it's an evolution as well. Manufacturing doesn't stand still. We're always looking at what we can do next and trying to collaborate with the schools and collaborate with other industry companies to bring all of this together. It's not just CNC, it's CNC and robotics and PLCs and data collection and those types of things.

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