Training New Press Brake Operators? Safety and Production Tips to Help Them Succeed

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Safe, productive press brake operators are crucially important to the success of businesses that produce products made from a wide range of metals, plastics, and other materials. Designed for exact precision through hundreds of cycles over each work shift, press brake machines require skilled operators capable of  monitoring their machine and the quality of the product they are producing. Manufacturers who want to maintain a workforce of highly qualified, productive press brake operators who can safely operate these machines can use these tips to improve their training process. 

Make standardized education part of every employee's initial training

Whether your new hires are experienced brake operators or raw recruits with skills that should lend themselves well to the industry, having a standardized training program is the best course employers can set to help them succeed. To begin this type of proactive training, start all employees with a course of the general safety guidelines that your company requires for the operation of machinery and handling of materials in your specific manufacturing process and environment. 

Instead of relying on having the employees read documents or instruction manuals that can seem boring, consider using instructors or seasoned employees who can help lead active discussions about real safety issues that will help new employees get more from the training. 

Use job shadowing to help employees develop successful techniques and work habits

Once new employees have completed basic safety training and are ready to go out onto the production floor, employers should make sure to pair them with more experienced employees with proven work histories of maintaining excellent production and safety goals. Job shadowing seasoned brake press employees and being able to work with them over several days to develop proper component-handling skills is one of the best and most cost effective ways to assimilate new employees into the work force without creating excessive waste costs from mis-loading the press brake machines. 

Involve new employees in the maintenance of each press brake machine

While skilled maintenance positions are required to keep press brake machines operating correctly, the operator is usually the first to note developing issues with the function of the machine or quality of the finished component. Therefore, it makes sense to also provide cross-training in quality control and basic machine maintenance so that each operator will be able to spot potential problems and have the confidence to stop production and call for maintenance or quality inspectors when needed. A good way to accomplish this is to have press brake operators observe maintenance and quality control procedures on the machines they operate and the components they help to produce as part of their initial and ongoing training.

For specific questions about press brake designs, maintenance, or quality control issues that can affect the training of new employees, employers should start by discussing their concerns with Sierra Victor Industries and work with them toward a viable solution.