We developed and presented training courses to bring AHMSA's engineers and electricians up to speed on their hot strip mill's new control system. An innovative approach was employed where the class participated in the development of a maintenance manual containing sub-system diagrams and short articles explaining the operation of various components and technologies.
The diagrams depicted how signals flowed between field devices and the various components of the control system. They were annotated with wire numbers, variable names, and any other identifiers required to trace and examine signals. The diagrams also included digital photographs, many of which were provided by the engineering class, showing the location of cables and components. Class participation in development of these diagrams gave the students a sense of ownership and immersed them into the material.
The short articles were designed to be stand alone and targeted specific and usually theoretical topics. For example one article explained the operation of single and dual resolver feedback devices and the signals they produced. Other articles dealt with strain-gauge force sensors, position and gauge control algorithms, control network protocol, etc.
The front cover of the maintenance manual featured a photo of the engineering class and credited each of the students and their managers with it's production. This simple act generated a great sense of pride among the AHMSA personnel and guaranteed the successful publication and use of the manual.
Three groups completed the training course. The course was presented to first group, comprised of engineers, in the English language. It was presented to the other two groups, comprised of electricians, with the help of a Spanish language interpreter. The students and their management were pleased with the results and were able to successfully apply the knowledge presented in class and contained in the course materials.