(l-r) Instructor Jim Mealor, Students Cody Mokrzycki, Kyle Livingston and Nathaniel Mauldin (background).
Machine Tool Technology Lab with students
Moriya Fan Project
It's no secret that there is a critical shortage of skilled workers in today's labor force. Manufacturing and trade publications feature numerous articles about job vacancies in the technical fields that cannot be filled. Lanier Technical College in Oakwood, GA, is helping to meet that demand by developing students' academic, technical and professional knowledge and skills required for job acquisition, retention and advancement.
One such program at Lanier Technical College that prepares skilled labor for the workforce is the Machine Tool Technology (MTT) Program. Equipped with a well-tooled lab and experienced instructors, this program combines machine tool theory with the all-important practical application and produces work-ready machinists and CNC machinists.
A recent machining project completed by MTT students is indicative of the practical metalworking skills that students learn. Working from engineered prints, students made fans powered by Stirling engines. Originally developed in 1816 as a rival to the steam engine, the Stirling engine is a heat engine that operates in cycles of compression and expansion of air, or some other gas, at differing temperature points so that there is a net conversion of heat energy to mechanical effort. Precision and detail are vital to creating fans that work properly and efficiently. In addition to machining multiple types of material to close tolerances, this project challenged students to make a mold, stamping die, and bending die to complete the necessary parts. They had to make all the work holding and fixtures required to machine the parts in their Haas CNC vertical mills and CNC turning centers, and they had to rely heavily on teamwork and communication to ensure that the parts they were responsible for making fit with other students' parts.
This Moriya Fan project is the culmination of skills these students have learned while participating in the MTT Program. Not only were students responsible for planning the procedure for manufacturing their parts, they also handled all of the operations required to complete each part, and because each part was unique, each workstation concentrated on a different machining process encompassing both conventional machining techniques and CNC machining. Project components that were of particular interest to the students included creating a mold for the fan's display mat and building the die to stamp the fan blades. These novice machinists were able to transform the raw materials into working fan units in 7-1/2 weeks.
Lanier Technical College offers two diploma programs in the Machine Tool Technology field: Machine Tool Technology, which focuses more on conventional equipment, and CNC Technology, which emphasizes modern computer numerical control machining.
By: Jim Mealor, Amy Mealor and Dana Nichols, Lanier Technical College
For more information contact:
Jim Mealor, Instructor
Lanier Technical College
2990 Landrum Education Dr.
Oakwood, GA 30566