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November 2013

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INDEX Corporation Hosts Vincennes University Manufacturing Training

(far left) Gary Jones, INDEX Marketing Manager; (back row, l-r) Ethan Masterson, Brian Sheckell and Joe Nebel of INDEX; (front row, l-r) Ryan Stoll and Dalton Williams; (far right) Jeffrey Reinert, INDEX Corporation President and Vincennes University alumnus.

In order to address the lack of young people being trained in the sophisticated machines and automation found in manufacturing today, INDEX Corporation, at its own expense, hosted four select manufacturing technology students from Vincennes University and introduced them to the advanced machining technology the company designs and markets.

"With the technological advancements represented by CNC machine tools today, the educational requirements needed to work in the CNC machining area have been significantly increased," said an INDEX spokesperson.

"According to one estimate, the United States graduates more than 3 million students from high school each year, but only about 125,000 apprenticeship slots open annually - just 4%, compared to 40% to 80% in most other high income countries, such as Germany, Austria and Denmark," said the spokesperson. "In those countries, companies partner with local schools to operate a program that combines technical training and some traditional academic instruction."

INDEX President Jeffrey L. Reinert, Vincennes University Class of '75, said, "We connected with Vincennes, and together we determined we could provide three weeks of meaningful training for Vincennes University at INDEX Corporation's 100,000 sq. ft. sales and engineering facility in Noblesville, IN.

"We decided our objectives would be to familiarize the senior-year students with INDEX and TRAUB machine tools and the features that separate our products from the competition. We would provide an overview and add to their knowledge base, rather than try to train them on every facet of the machines.

"So with Mr. Tim Bauer, Director, Advanced Manufacturing at Vincennes Unversity, we hand-selected four 'best of the best' senior students who were proficient in manual programming, Mastercam computer-aided design and basic machine operation. Their training has given them practical experience with tool-room machines, Haas single-spindle lathes and 5-axis machining centers."

These students, who have studied together and been in competition with each other for the last 2.5 years, wanted to be exposed to hands-on machine set-up and operation, CAD/CAM software training and different types of control programming, which at INDEX are mainly Siemens and Mitsubishi.

The students were primarily from vocational education backgrounds in high school with machine training all four years, including manual machines and grinding tools, and basic computer numerical control (CNC) of the machines. "The more we got into CNC the more we liked it," said one student.

The basic premise of the new course is to use demo parts from INDEX as training samples, program the parts using simulation software, machine the part and inspect the parts on equipment that is not available at the school.

"Our intention was to provide a meaningful experience at an OEM machine tool vendor and a completed sample part to take back with them," said Reinert. "Further, the course provided the students with enough experience for them to make an interesting and detailed presentation to their classmates. Each of the students intends to work in manufacturing, such as applications engineering, a precision CNC shop, a large-work machine shop, or mining and power plants."

From INDEX's point of view, it is an opportunity to interact with prospective employees. "What is needed is to start introducing manufacturing to capable students while they are in high school - and not only to students who may struggle academically," said one student. "Students need to be shown that there is a future in manufacturing."

U.S. companies already spend tens of billions of dollars on training and more than 20,000 of them offer apprenticeships. Many of these companies are foreign-based and understand the benefits to their operation of training the next generation of employees.

"We used no state funding for this training," said Reinert. "We are paying the cost ourselves. We believe it is a smart investment in the long-term success of our company. The investment we make pays off in a workforce of long-term, highly dedicated, highly skilled employees. I would say the program was successful in its intention and we plan to repeat it with new students next year at our Noblesville facility."

INDEX Corporation, part of INDEX Group (Esslingen, Germany), is a producer of high-precision turning machines, turn-mills, multi-spindle CNC machines and multi-function metalcutting machines for rapidly producing complex chucked parts, bar and shaft parts. Markets served worldwide include medical, aerospace, automotive and precision machined parts.

For more information contact:

INDEX Corporation

14700 North Pointe Blvd.

Noblesville, IN 46060


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