"Learning by doing" with simple and precise tools
Combining a training centre with industrial subcontracting in mechanical engineering requires up-to-date, reliable and easy-to-use machinery like the TIGO CMM from Hexagon.
"Learning by doing" is the motto that Mr Pacheco, the current GDL director, makes a point of honouring in teaching the students trained as part of a programme that above all enables young people to be prepared for a trade. The course also leads to several diplomas: a CAP CIP (Certificat d'Aptitude Professionnelle Conduite d'Installation de Production) at the end of the second year; an internal certification as a CNC (computer numerical control machine tool) Setter Operator at the end of the third year; or a BAC PRO TU (Machining Technician) at the end of the fourth year. Some young people can of course continue their studies afterwards on these bases.
As a production school, subcontracting is at the heart of GDL’s teaching methodology, and thanks to customer orders in various fields such as railways, nuclear power, food processing, automotive, naval or construction, young people are trained and put into real-life situations. They are thus confronted with time, cost and quality constraints that they must respect in order to guarantee the full satisfaction of their customers.
The Hexagon training on the TIGO was very complete, with a lot of in-depth explanations that were very interesting and saved us a lot of time. Gorge de Loup has a rich and developed machine park and can therefore offer many industrial subcontracting services to companies on different types of parts made from different materials (aluminium, stainless steel, steel, PTFE, etc.). Mr Pacheco, who recently took over the reins of GDL after more than twenty years of experience in various management positions in large industrial companies in the field of machining, explains: "My objective is to recreate a sense of vocation for these noble production trades, which are often neglected and yet indispensable in today's industrial world. Thanks to my experience, I would like to give machinists all the necessary tools to give them confidence in their future professional lives."
An old CMM was one of the machines in GDL's fleet, but with unsupported software that could not be updated or maintained. "We really want to enhance the value of metrology by adding it to the very complete experience of our students and have therefore decided, together with the school's board of directors, to invest in a new state-of-the-art three-dimensional measuring machine, adapted to the current requirements of today's companies," says Mr Pacheco.
As the school already had a measuring column and an Absolute Arm portable measuring arm, they naturally turned to Hexagon again for the new machine. "I had been working with Hexagon measuring machines for the last ten years and was always very satisfied,” explains Mr Pacheco. “My teams found the Hexagon solutions very easy to access and simple to use, so the choice was quite easy.”
The Absolute Arm is used for other applications that require less accuracy within GDL, making it a natural decision to complement it with a CMM, ensuring that the pupils were familiar with and trained on different types of common modern measuring instruments.
"The standard for the professional baccalaureate only stipulates knowledge of the basic principles of a CMM as well as one or two manipulations,” says Mr Pacheco. “However, we want to take our students further, because the school's training aims to be as close as possible to the needs of companies and to give the students as much knowledge as possible. This is why the school not only teaches them the basics of metrology, but also provides them with a complete apprenticeship in the use of CMMs."
The school opted for a TIGO SF model CMM. Precise, compact and highly versatile, it combines robust design, innovative technology and configuration flexibility to guarantee high-precision measurements. Specially designed for workshops, it has a measurement volume of 500 x 580 x 500 mm (X/Y/Z), making it an ideal measurement solution for schools.
"I was familiar with the other Hexagon machines, but the temperature range and the possibility of using the TIGO also in the workshop was interesting,” says Mr Pacheco. “And even though we ultimately installed it in a metrology room, its accessibility and volume are ideal. As expected, the students took to it very quickly and were able to get to grips with it very easily."
Ease of use and accessibility: the students quickly learned how and are already using the TIGO intensively.With his CAP and Bac Pro in his pocket, Quentin Dussau is a first-year student continuing his BTS studies at GDL. "I have two weeks of theoretical courses at the CFAI in Lyon and then two weeks in the workshop at GDL, which is becoming my company,” he explains. "I discovered general mechanics after an internship in machining that introduced me to the world of control. Measuring tools are taught from the first year at the Gorge de Loup school. You learn how to read on a calliper, how to use a micrometer, and then you set up increasingly precise dimensions and you need more elaborate and more efficient control tools. We are very fortunate to have access to the latest technology in terms of metrology."
Quentin is already very familiar with the advantages of TIGO SF. "Being sure of the results given by the machine is a real plus. With other instruments, the results vary depending on the person. This guarantees that measurements for series are accurate, easy and, what's more, time-saving. It is possible to machine and check at the same time. Tolerances to the hundredth and the possibility of measuring complex geometrical dimensions allow us to do more and open up new markets. For me, who had never done metrology before, this new and very interesting approach gives me access to new concepts and allows me to develop further know-how – which can open doors for later.”
"It is a personal choice on my part to advance and develop metrology in our training because there is a real need and a lack in companies,” the director of the Gorge de Loup production school concludes. “It's a good job in addition to machining and the school wants to train young people in a comprehensive way. When Quentin finishes his studies, by mastering both machining and 3D control, he will have a business card that many young people don't, as well as six years of experience with a company – a more than competitive advantage in a young person's career path.”