Mid-June 2018 saw the official inauguration of the Polymer Training Centre (PTC) at Kunststoff-Institut Lüdenscheid positioning it as an industry-wide training centre for industrial companies and their plastics/rubber process mechanics trainees.
The education and training centre for the plastics industry, PTC, has a new and unique training offer tailored to the plastics industry. Karl-Uwe Bütof, Head of Innovation and Markets Division, Ministry of Economic Affairs, North Rhine-Westphalia, explained why his ministry funded this project with over €3 million: "The innovative concept of this education and training centre and its close integration and interaction with the industry inspired our ministry right from the outset and will play an important role in mitigating the skills shortage in the plastics industry."
As the first training centre of the South-Westphalian Chamber of Industry and Trade (SIHK) in the field of plastic technology, the PTC will help improve the infrastructure as there is no polymer training centre in the region as yet. Furthermore, the combination of direct content-related and spatial connection between theoretical learning and practical experience is now available in the region for the first time. The offer is similar to a boarding school and can be regarded as a nationwide pilot project.
PTC project manager Torsten Urban noted that now with the PTC, Kunststoff-Institut Lüdenscheid has been positioned as an industry-wide training centre for industrial companies and their plastics/rubber process mechanics trainees and that PTC will fulfil several tasks and continue to deliver complex offers in future, which must always be tailored to the changing needs of the industry.
Stricter product requirements and global competition in the plastics industry mean that processes, machines and tools are being further developed in ever shorter cycles, while becoming technically more demanding and complex. In Europe's high-wage countries, it is thus imperative to make greater use of production cells that enable a high degree of automation and also to keep assembly-intensive production in Germany and Europe. All to result for the need to increase the level of employee training. Also, to keep pace long term, plastic processing companies must train their personnel, while developing new products and continuously improving their production processes – a reason why the plastics industry permanently requires specially trained, higher-qualified personnel, bearing in mind that this is hampered by the demographic development especially in Germany. Training institutions, as such, have to adapt to the latest training contents and equipment. While this is long practiced in the metal and electronics sector with the establishment of training centres for them, it is not the case for the relatively "young" plastics industry.
The institute will have an additional floor space of 1,965 m², including 48 office workplaces, individual laboratories for material testing, failure and defect analysis, generative processes as well as several training rooms, each equipped with an injection moulding machine for specific types of material. The project cost is €5.1 million, including €2.1 million alone for technical equipment of the facilities.