Thanks to PTC University eLearning, the Swiss manufacturer of equipment and systems for the graphics industry was able to almost entirely dispense with the usual instructor-led training during transition to the new CAD solution, Creo 2.0.
Müller Martini Marketing AG with headquarters in Zofingen, Switzerland is a worldwide leading manufacturer of postpress processing systems and variable format web offset printers that are primarily used in job and package printing. The conglomerate group develops and manufactures equipment and systems for web offset printing, press delivery, saddle stitching, soft and hardcover production, and newspaper dispatch, as well as digital printing at several sites in Switzerland and Germany.
Like all print machine manufacturers, Müller Martini is under extreme cost pressures and must adapt its equipment to the requirements of the individual customer, and then deliver the customized machines as quickly as possible. In order to improve company-wide collaboration during the product development cycle, the Swiss company implemented Windchill® PDMLink® as their data management system.
In order to put this system into action, however, Müller Martini had to first update its CAD installation. “In order to be able to utilize the advantages of Windchill, we first needed to implement Creo 2.0,” explains Christoph Gysin, Head of Corporate Development at Müller Martini. “However, our challenge was not the CAD switch but the implementation of the new database because we had to migrate approximately two million data records.”
The transition to a new PDM occurring at the same time that Creo replaced a number of disparate CAD systems the company used produced a corresponding need for training at all sites. With a traditional training approach, there might have been a relatively long preparation, including revisions of more than 200 Microsoft® Word® documents consisting of general training documentation and customer specific standard operating procedures.
As an alternative, the local PTC University Authorized Training Partner, who has been supporting Müller Martini since 1996 in CAD training and application support, recommended the PTC University eLearning program. “In this way, we could dispense with trainer-conducted Creo training and the users only needed a half day of training on-site on working with the new PDM system,” says the training and PLM advisor at the Swiss system integrator.
Individualized user training
More than a hundred employees currently work in mechanical design at the various Müller Martini sites, and of these hundred approximately 20 are apprentices. However, the design engineers do not spend the entire work day in the CAD system, but accompany their design teams through manufacturing and assembly and take care of coordinating the machine layout with the customer. Their job descriptions are constantly changing. For this reason, they needed a CAD system that operates intuitively and adapts quickly to the new tasks put before them. “Creo 2.0 really meets these demands,” assures Christoph Gysin. “With the context sensitive PTC Learning Connector, users can activate the eLearning lesson that corresponds to the task at hand or even the normal Creo Help directly from their work surroundings.”
All users were assigned the ‘Update to Creo 2.0’ training via eLearning, which they could complete at a time of their choice. Some familiarized themselves with the operator guidance of Creo during Christmas vacation prior to the switch-over, while others took training during working hours when time permitted.
Creo is used in a wide variety of applications at Müller Martini. Most use it for the familiar range of parametric design functions which can easily be located via the integrated command finder. Others like the company’s colleagues at Müller Martini Hasle who produce rotating parts, drilling, and machined parts along with metal plate components for internal and external customers, leverage the advantages of the new direct modeling functions. These are new features which enable them to more easily import CAD data.
PTC University’s eLearning helps in conveying the processes required for different tasks very effectively. The user can access the appropriate lessons in real time, which are related to the function or process they want to become proficient at. The online training sessions are similar to the standard instructor-led courses, and include theory, demonstrations, and exercises. The contents are available in German and English, as well as other languages to facilitate the training of foreign colleagues.
Accelerated training process
PTC University eLearning also includes the ability to test and assess the user’s learning success in online training. In the beginning, Müller Martini did not embrace this included functionality because they were concerned it would distract employees from using eLearning as a learning aid versus a control instrument. However, the PTC University Authorized Training Partner considered it absolutely necessary to assemble several tests from the training documentation so that users could test how much they were able to learn on a voluntary basis and remediate any gaps in knowledge. In particular, this would facilitate orientation of trainee design engineers or new employees.
Have the users at Müller Martini already become more productive through eLearning? The long-term benefits of being able to access training on-demand whenever a user question comes up will show once the team has been working with the new software version for some more time. What can be said at this point is that the changeover went smoothly and the update was wellreceived by the users. Gysin reports that the users have become faster after a certain period of orientation as a result of online learning, and that Creo is easier to operate and offers more functionality than the previous software version they used. “We were immediately impressed that the handling of the simulation functions became easier,” said Gysin.
A significant advantage of online training is the flexibility of the entire training process, which is in line with the culture at Müller Martini. eLearning saves time—not just for the users who can decide for themselves what content they need, but for the persons responsible for training. Up until now, over 200 training documents needed to be updated for every software change, which meant a time expenditure of several hundred manhours for every update.
This expenditure has been cut in half, as Gysin says, because only company-specific operating guidelines have to be revised. “From our point of view, it would also be desirable to incorporate company-specific documents into the eLearning library and be able to search them via full text searches. The customization is actually already available in the PTC University functionality and is the next logical step for us.”
Gysin also believes eLearning will have a positive effect on data quality in association with the new PDM environment. In the future, all 3D models will be checked for quality and integrity with Creo ModelCheck prior to release in Windchill PDMLink. In fact, this possibility existed previously but it was not obligatory, which led to the fact that during data migration, models sometimes had to be corrected by hand. It’s believed that the training will lead to fewer errors and reduce the need for multiple revisions. Summarizing the beneficial effects of online training, Gysin states that, “Thanks to eLearning updates will be significantly easier and faster in the future.”