MTM – Work design productive and safe

KOSTAL: Mechatronics Trainees Take Over Part of PALM4.Q Project

Designing the Testing Section at the Training Center to Profit Everybody

The PALM4.Q research project on process and work-related learning in assembly work, in which Leopold Kostal GmbH & Co. KG in Lüdenscheid and Deutsche MTM-Vereinigung e. V. are cooperating, is generating synergy effects beyond the scope of the actual project. One of the goals of PALM4.Q is to establish a training center that serves as a learning and development environment for qualification concepts in assembly work. The first KOSTAL employees were already able to make use of the new services in September 2017. Various sections have been defined for the training center and one of them is the testing area. The research team came up with the idea of making the design of the testing section the final task for the trainees on the mechatronics course.

The task facing the trainees involved developing a testing section that sensitizes the employees to this subject area by using a touch test on a seat adjustment switch. The aim was to steer the employees through the test process on a screen. The general conditions also included the fact that KOSTAL’s standard testing workplace and KOSTAL’s standard software had to be used so that employees would encounter the same conditions as on the shop floor. The project was also supposed to be completed by the trainees independently.

The testing section was handed over at the beginning of February this year after the trainees had also passed their final practical examination. Thomas Zoeller, Analysis Process Technician at KOSTAL and the man who developed the idea for this partial project, was extremely positive about the results. “This was a difficult project for the trainees and they handled it magnificently! Building a test device with this degree of complexity is a challenge and is normally too complicated as an examination task for trainees. But what did Albert Einstein say? Characters are not formed by beautiful speeches, but through hard work and effort,” Zoeller added.

The Research Project Manager at KOSTAL, Christina Hesse, was also full of praise for the trainees’ project. “KOSTAL as a corporation has only been able to gain through this teamwork. The trainees were given the opportunity to work on a task that is related to practice; first of all, it will be permanently used and, secondly, it matches the real conditions on the shop floor. The project team, in turn, was able to bank on having a section that would be completed quickly for its training center – beyond the production procedures that take priority.”

In the picture (from left): Thomas Zoeller, the trainees Joschua Szafranski and Eduard Harms, Peter Zeisberg