In the few months since US-based Haas Automation launched its European Haas Technical Education Centre (HTEC) programme at EMO 2007, the HTEC team operating out of the Haas Automation Europe offices in Zaventem, Belgium, has been setting up new collaborative CNC teaching facilities at universities, colleges, and technical schools across the continent. One high-profile HTEC facility was opened in October at the Minsk Technical Vocational College of Mechanical Engineering, a branch of the Republican Institute for Vocational Education (RIPO), Belarus.
The grand opening ceremony in Minsk was attended by more than 300 international guests from Belarus, Russia, Germany, and the United States, including representatives of more than 50 technical educational institutions and 68 manufacturing companies. It marked what the Belarus minister for education, Alexander Radkov, hoped would be the beginning of a new era of cooperation between manufacturing and education in his country.
With the opening of the HTEC, “unique in Belarus,” said Radkov, “we have made a positive step toward achieving high-quality vocational training.”
“Vocational education has to keep pace with production demands,” added the rector of RIPO, Arkadi Shkliar. “But this challenge cannot be met without introducing truly innovative production machines into the training process.”
The new Minsk HTEC has four Haas machines—a Haas Mini Mill, an SL-40 CNC turning centre, a VF-1 machining centre, and a TL-1 tool-room lathe—and employs Keller CNCPlus-Training software, which is designed for teaching inexperienced operators how to programme a Haas machine using the proprietary Haas CNC. The facility is close to more than 200 local engineering companies. It is intended to ensure that students are very familiar with the latest CNC technology when they complete their education and begin their working careers.
“We’ve seen a tremendous response to our HTEC programme across Europe,” says Haas Automation Europe managing director Peter Hall. “For 2008, we plan to have 40 HTECs open and operational across Spain, Italy, Germany, and Eastern Europe.”
More than 635 HTECs, with well over 1,500 machines, have already been set up in high schools, vocational schools, community colleges, and universities in the USA and Canada.
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