Contributed by Casey Curtis, UAHT Communications Coordinator
The University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana recently purchased a Haas Mini Mill computer numerical control (CNC) vertical milling machine with funds provided by the Regional Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (RAMP) Grant. Vertical Machining, also known as milling, relies on rotary cutters to remove metal from a workpiece. Vertical machining occurs on a vertical machining center, which employs a spindle with a vertical orientation. Training on the new CNC machine is built into the curriculum of the Industrial Maintenance Programs at UAHT.
Shaun Clark, UAHT Director of Industry Outreach and Continuing Education, said, “We are very excited to be able to offer this high-tech training to both our students and incumbent workforce. The use of these machines is becoming commonplace in the manufacturing field, and we want to ensure that we are providing students with up to date skills that will make them stronger candidates when seeking jobs after graduation.”
A CNC machine operator, also known as a CNC machinist, implements the plans created by a CNC programmer to run a computer-numeric controlled machine. This is done by setting the machine and loading it with the right cutting tools as indicated by the program which was developed to produce a particular part. The work of a CNC operator results in precisely cut parts created to fill orders from a variety of industries. CNC operators may also have experience in machining or programming.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that CNC operators working with metals and plastics can expect the field to grow by 17% or more between 2014 and 2024 (much faster than average). In May 2015, the BLS reported the median annual earnings among computer-controlled machine tool operators (metal and plastic) as $37,030.
The RAMP grant was created in October 2013 when the Southwest Arkansas Community College Consortium (SWACCC) obtained a four-year grant through the U.S. Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) Grant Program. The assignment for this proposal was to address the advanced manufacturing skills gaps and industry needs in Southwest Arkansas. The grant is a partnership between four community colleges in the Consortium–UofA Cossatot, UofA Hope-Texarkana, SouthArk Community College, and SAU-Tech.
For more information about Industrial Maintenance programs or industry training at UAHT, call 870-777-5722.