SCHOOL SPOTLIGHT: Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College
"PACKAGING PLAYS A CRITICAL ROLE IN OUR GLOBAL ECONOMY and touches the lives of everyone," notes the Packaging Machinery Manufacturing Institute (PMMI), and at Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College (WITC), the automated packaging systems technician program is working to help fill the need for skilled workers in the industry. The two-year technical diploma, which is offered at the New Richmond campus, is the only one of its kind in the state - and one of only a few in the country.
According to WITC, the program is also unique because of the support provided by the packaging industry, both locally and nationally. That support includes equipment and supplies as well as scholarships. PMMI even provides each student in the program with the opportunity to apply for a tool scholarship in the form of a toolkit. When the students complete the program, the toolkit becomes theirs to use in their careers in the industry.
According to Kevin Lipsky, an instructor for the WITC program who is a graduate of WITC and the University of Wisconsin-Stout, mechatronics is a style of automation that considers all of the possibilities in the design of the system, and PMMI is focusing on this as a way to develop European standards of our computer-controlled machines. "Robotics and machine efficiencies are now more than ever on the minds of manufacturing developers," Lipsky explains, "and there is a need for using standardized programming languages and creating similar operator interfaces." He also notes that packaging now has challenges such as recycling, ease of use, protection, marketing and tracking.
The WITC program includes general studies courses such as math, written communication, oral/interpersonal communication, technical reporting, information resources, and either applied human relations or psychology of human relations. Students also learn about welding for mechanics, AC/DC circuits, programmable logic controllers, fluid power systems, electromechanical componentry, power transmission componentry, and either motion controls or industrial power electronics. They learn how to use engineering and machine layout drawings to assemble, install and troubleshoot machines and machine assemblies.
Among the occupation-specific courses are packaging machine maintenance, packaging machine operations, packaging machine rebuilding, packaging systems equipment control, installation of packaging machines, packaging materials/processes, and processes of manufactu ring-packaging. …