Clow Stamping: A METALFORM EDU Power User

June 9, 2023

The 520 employees of Clow Stamping, formed in 1970, produce parts for OEMs in markets such as agriculture, recreational vehicles, fitness equipment and petroleum, to name a few. Processes in use at the manufacturer, comprising 286,650 sq. ft. under roof in Merrifield, MN, include stamping via 77 presses in capacities to 400 tons, tool build and maintenance, laser cutting, bending, welding, finishing and assembly.

Clow-Stamping-METALFORM-EDU-trainingA major part of the manufacturer’s efforts to keep employees trained involves extensive use of the Precision Metalforming Association’s (PMA’s) METALFORM EDU online training system. Through 2019 and 2020, Clow Stamping became aware of METALFORM EDU and assessed its capabilities, with a few supervisors taking blueprint-reading courses as part of that assessment to determine what training might be applicable to its needs. By late 2021, the company began full group training via the training system.

METAFORM EDU features nearly 40 PMA-exclusive courses and more than 800 total courses, covering topics such as precision measurement, blueprint reading, SPC, CNC, Six Sigma, lean manufacturing and safety. Also available: the newly created METALFORM EDU Press Brake Operation module, and the Die Setter Training module, containing 12 and five courses, respectively. Courses on advanced stamping press operations also are in development and will be introduced later this year.

Alternative to Sometimes-Problematic Hands-On Training

“Prior to METALFORM EDU, we had some older training courses that had become outdated, and we relied on hands-on training for new employees, using lead operators, for example, going over part inspection and blueprint reading,” says Jasmine Johnson, Clow Stamping pressroom manager. “But there’s room for error with hands-on training, and people can pick up bad habits without formalized training.”

Since adopting PMA’s METALFORM EDU online training, Clow Stamping has been using the system to train groups of employes in about three-month increments, Johnson reports.

“We buy 30, 40 or 50 licenses at a time, and we set up employees to train during their work hours in one of our two training rooms,” she explains. “We have 360 employees in our production departments, and thus far, 213 have taken the PMA training.”

METALFORM EDU courses taken by Clow Stamping personnel fall under the banners of engineering drawings and math, with others centered around production processes such as press systems and welding.

“Basically, each production operator is required to take nine courses that we select,” Johnson says, detailing the METALFORM EDU training regimen at Clow Stamping. “Then, employees in our automation department, for example, take three additional courses, and welding-department employees take two additional courses. We’re re-evaluating our welding training because I think that we can add additional METALFORM EDU courses that would greatly benefit our welding operators.”

Clow Stamping employees complete individual courses at their own pace and can retake courses as refreshers.

“Employees may have taken a course 2 yr. ago,” says Johnson, “and perhaps they’ve recently entered leadership positions and want to brush up on a topic before they begin to train other employees.”

In addition, Clow Stamping employees, with company-purchased licenses for required training, can avail themselves of other METALFORM EDU courses for their personal fulfillment by logging on to the system’s website on their own time. 

Advantages: Flexibility, Range of Courses

Moving forward, Clow Stamping hopes to take greater advantage of METALFORM EDU courses to build a curriculum of training for lead positions, reports Johnson. And, with the manufacturer employing press brakes, the newly created press brake training courses, she says, may be very useful and are under consideration.

Overall, the flexibility and the range of courses offered by METALFORM EDU pay big dividends for Clow Stamping, and provide opportunities for growth throughout the company’s ecosystem, which sets this training system apart, according to Johnson.

“METALFORM EDU gives us the ability to select and customize what we want an employee to be trained on,” she says. “It's very nice to be able to select courses based on job position or on positions that employees are being promoted into or trying to achieve. This system allows us to tailor training to their needs and to the knowledge bases that they need to expand on.”

Industry-Related Terms: Bending, CNC, Die, LASER
View Glossary of Metalforming Terms


See also: Precision Metalforming Association

Technologies: Training


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