marzo 28, 2006
Lincoln High School wins a top award three times with WorkNC
Lincoln High School, Warren, Michigan, USA runs vocational machine shop courses for pupils aged between 15 and 18. It has 1000 students, and around 100 go through the four machine shop courses run each year by Vocational Machine Shop Teacher, John Kovalchuck. Teaching takes place in groups of 3 or 4 in daily 90 minute sessions. The High School is located close to major centers of manufacturing, and research and development. These include the General Motors Technical Center, which is just 3 miles away, Daimler-Chrysler, the Hydromatic transmission plant, and one of the highest concentration of machine shops in the whole of the USA.
WorkNC plays a key role in the machine shop courses, enabling students to be creative in the projects they select. Compared with other High Schools, Lincoln High School is unusual in that students machine parts in 3-axis and not just 2-axis, thanks to WorkNC. John Kovalchuck was enthusiastic, "Students treat WorkNC just like any other tool in the toolbox. We use it to drive our two Bridgeport machines, verifying the cutterpath in WorkNC's simulation package VisuNC before we go to the machine. We have a 40 inch plasma screen for the students which is a powerful teaching aid. Seeing their work on it is a great incentive for them."
Lincoln High School has been the winner of a MITES (Michigan Industrial Technology Education Society) award in computerized machining for the past 3 years. The society, which provides an opportunity for teachers to meet and learn from one another, has been active for over 75 years and holds an annual competition covering 5000 projects in a wide range of subjects including wood, drafting, metal and computerized machining, the field where Lincoln High School has been so successful. John Kovalchuck said, "WorkNC is crucial in helping our students to win. The software is far superior to the systems used by the other high schools." The successful entries have been on an 'insect' theme "One was a wasp like mud dowber, and another was a cricket with wings. Each insect requires the students to cut 30-40 parts in 3-axis, including programming in WorkNC, machining, deburring, cleaning the machine and creating full documentation".
After initial instruction, students are left to create all the parts themselves. John Kovalchuck continued, "WorkNC is the most powerful tool in the shop, enabling students to use their creativity to fulfil the curriculum requirements, on a system which is used industrially in factories around the world. If a 16 year old can use it competently it will be very easy for an experienced engineer."
Cooperation with local companies has resulted in an externship scheme for Lincoln High School. Students share their time between the school and local firms, working at school in the morning and in the engineering workshop in the afternoon and evening, 4-5 days per week, to gain corporate experience. John Kovalchuck said, "The externship provides a challenging learning environment, and gives us feedback on current industrial techniques when the students return to school in the morning. We can learn some valuable lessons from the experiences of our students, which we can build into future courses."
Students at Lincoln High School are virtually self sufficient in the use of WorkNC, only requiring assistance when they hit a snag. Support from Sescoi provides additional backup. "Sescoi's engineers help us on conference calls with the students, making sure that our questions are resolved to our satisfaction. The support has been fantastic." Companies value the students completing the school's vocational machine shop courses, telephoning John Kovalchuck to find out when students will be ready for placement. He concluded, "WorkNC is the best thing since sliced bread. Our students are unique in that they have experience in turning, milling and the CNC programming skills to drive the machines. Employers are queuing up to take on our students, forming a valuable bond between the school, the local community and local industry."