ITAMCO Donates Coordinate Measuring Machine to High School Program


Indiana Technology and Manufacturing Companies (ITAMCO) has donated a Zeiss Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM) to the Precision Tool Manufacturing Training Program for high school students.  The donation was announced at the 2014 International Technology Manufacturing show in Chicago. The new machine is evidence of ITAMCO’s continuing support for the program that Mark Neidig, purchasing manager at ITAMCO, proposed to the Plymouth School Corporation superintendent in 2013.

The new machine will be added to the inventory of precision machining tools housed in the ITAMCO Manufacturing Center on the Plymouth High School’s campus in north central Indiana. In addition to ITAMCO’s $100,000 initial donation and ongoing technical assistance, the North Central Area Vocational Cooperative (NCAVC) and Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana are active contributors. NCAVC contributed funds to purchase equipment and the program’s trainer is an Ivy Tech employee. Students receive high school credits and Ivy Tech college credits.

ITAMCO provides open gearing and precision machining services and, like many manufacturers, needs highly skilled employees to operate their technologically advanced CNC equipment. Neidig said that he initiated the program because the ITAMCO team wants to encourage high school students to enter rewarding careers in manufacturing. “We need to keep the USA at the forefront of innovative manufacturing, but we obviously have selfish motivations as well. We need skilled workers in our own facilities,” Neidig said.

The ITAMCO staff donated a Zeiss DuraMax CMM because it’s a world-class machine, just like the Zeiss CMM machines they use on their own shop floor. The DuraMax replaces the limitations of manual measuring tools with CNC accuracy and flexibility. “Our facility is better equipped than a typical machine shop, and we want participants in the training program to be prepared to work on a plant floor like ours,” Neidig said. Zeiss generously discounted the price of the machine, contributed 12 educational licenses for their Calypso software for the DuraMax, and provided training for the manufacturing center’s instructor. The Calypso software enables users to create a measuring plan without programming code or text editing.

After only one year of operation, the training program has success stories. Thirteen students have taken Precision Machining I, and four were seniors. Three of these seniors are now working at ITAMCO after graduation, and one of the ITAMCO employees is continuing his education at Ivy Tech. The fourth student is also working for a local manufacturer. “The companies were pleased with our students’ training because they were prepared to work on the shop floor,” said Scott Kaser, the instructor for the Precision Tool Manufacturing Training Program, and a certified CNC Machinist with over 25 years experience as a machinist and trainer. “I was just like these kids. I didn’t want to go to college, but I wanted a good paying job. I like working with them, and I enjoy our partnerships with local companies that want to hire them,” he added.

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