Linamar Powertrain GmbH was founded in Crimmitschau near Zwickau in 2010. It belongs to Linamar Corporation, the second-largest Canadian automotive supplier based in Canada in Guelph, Ontario, and it supplies parts and components for various automobile manufacturers as well as for the industry. The company is listed on the stock exchange, has over 44 production plants in North America, Europe, and Asia, and employs a global workforce of approximately 18,000. Sitrain spoke with the CEO, Mirko Karlovsky, and the maintenance manager, Andreas Bergmann, of Linamar Powertrain.
Growth requires training
About the various benefits of Sinumerik courses Sitrain spoke with the CEO, Mirko Karlovsky, and the maintenance manager, Andreas Bergmann, of Linamar Powertrain.
What makes Linamar Powertrain GmbH special?
Mirko Karlovsky: We have a philosophy of balancing the satisfaction of customers, employees, and shareholders. All company decisions are based on this philosophy. Linamar Powertrain was founded in 2010 and has experienced rapid growth since then. In May 2010, the company had 15 employees; that number has now increased to nearly 600 employees. Another part of the company’s philosophy is that several factories are established as a cluster at one location – as is the case here in Crimmitschau.
What requirements do you have when it comes to employee training?
Mirko Karlovsky: The goal of each individual production facility – which means it is also our goal – is to maintain the highest possible level of machine and system availability. Other very important factors include a very short response time and fast action in the automotive industry. That’s why personnel have to be able to quickly and efficiently solve a problem.
Andreas Bergmann: We send employees to take standard courses at the Sitrain training centers on a regular basis. Top priority for us is the high availability of machines and systems and relatively low response and repair times. But in the case of the Sinumerik courses, our focus was somewhat different than with standard courses. That’s why the training requirements had to be adjusted to our conditions in this case. Most employees already had some background training in the field of CNC-controlled machines. The basics were already there, and the objective was to build upon that with specific information about Sinumerik, tailored to our needs.
How did that work?
Andreas Bergmann: We coordinated the content of the training with the training center, and then Sitrain developed a training plan that was specifically customized for Linamar Powertrain. A standard course served as the foundation, and we then modified it slightly to meet our requirements. After the course was held, we gathered feedback about how the training was received, how our employees were able to implement what they had learned in their work, and what they thought about the overall structure of the training. This feedback was very positive.
Were there any aspects that were particularly well received?
Andreas Bergmann: Participants really liked the fact that the courses were very practice oriented. Although theory is important, it’s even better if you can actually try something out yourself and cement the theory through hands-on practice. Employees were able to try things out on training racks without being afraid that something might happen with the actual machine. In addition, the Sitrain teachers have a great deal of practical experience. Even if they cannot answer a question about a problem right away, they always provide an answer no later than the next day. We have shared the feedback and are now considering whether it might be possible to adapt the training courses to meet the needs of the other factories in Germany.
Why did you decide to go with Sitrain?
Andreas Bergmann: We’ve been working with Sitrain from the very beginning and have always received excellent support. As the manufacturer of the controllers, Siemens offers the total package of product and product training. Sitrain uses training equipment that is just like the real equipment, and training takes place in very good centers. The same places, in fact, where I have also attended training courses. Those are the best conditions when we can have our employees trained and qualified at Siemens. As the manufacturer of the controllers, they have the highest level of expertise. That was ultimately the decisive factor.
What is your conclusion?
Andreas Bergmann: The training courses have helped us tremendously in terms of overall comprehension, in working with the machines, and in troubleshooting and error analysis. We are – in a positive sense – very much biased towards Siemens. That has the advantage that we don’t have to deal with different controller types, and instead we can simply concentrate on Sinumarik 840D powerline and Sinumerik 840D solution line. With support from the Siemens specialists, we can conduct a detailed error analysis. We can expand our existing knowledge and we can be more confident when it comes to using a system with a new controller. The training courses help enormously with our daily work. This was positive feedback that was once again received from employees who had undergone training recently.
Mirko Karlovsky: Rapid growth, which continues into the future, is an important aspect when it comes to employee qualification. There will be further tremendous demand for training because we will continue to hire new employees. Refresher training courses are important as well and have to be repeated about every three years. Ongoing qualification of employees is indispensable.
We would like to thank you for talking to us today.