The entire sheet metal fabrication and powder coating process is an intriguing sight to see in person, yet not many people have this opportunity to see a piece of metal turned into a finished, functioning product or work of art. However, a unique opportunity presented itself for 17 students from Springfield Technical Community College, Springfield, MA.
A GLANCE INTO THE SHEET METAL FABRICATION WORLD
On Friday, November 4th, 17 students and three faculty members from Springfield Technical Community College’s (STCC) Mechanical Engineering Technology (MET) department headed to Holyoke to see R.R. LeDuc Corporation’s sheet metal fabrication and powder coating processes. The half day tour took the students through R.R. LeDuc Corporation’s entire facility where they got to witness a piece of metal transform into a functioning product.
The point of the visit to the sheet metal fabrication facility was to get the students excited and interested in the sheet metal fabrication process. The students were broken up into two groups, each starting in the design office where all the sheet metal product design work is laid out and programmed on one of many CAD software programs. Next, the groups moved to the fabrication section of the facility and witnessed both the CNC punches and the laser cutters in action (CNC punching and laser cutting is pertinent and normally the first operation performed on the product). The students then followed the parts through the robotic press brake cell where the parts are formed, then to the welding area, and then the grinding area where the parts are prepped for powder coating. Finally the two groups moved to the finishing section where the products are powder coated on R.R. LeDuc Corporation’s custom powder coating conveyor belt and then sent to final assembly.
The importance of teaching the next generation
Both R.R. LeDuc Corporation and STCC both realize how important the sheet metal fabrication industry will be in the following decades. As the technology continues to advance, it’s necessary to find the next generation of students who will propel the industry into the future.
“We plan on doing this annually,” said Eric LeDuc, Head of Sales at R.R. LeDuc Corporation, “and hope to further educate students about the fabrication process. In the future we will be working with STCC to generate co-op programs.”
The purpose of a co-op program would be to expose freshmen and sophomore MET students to sheet metal fabrication techniques and practices before students graduate. R.R. LeDuc Corporation is also hoping to bring in students for summer internships for some hands-on experience before heading back to school in the fall semester.
“The tour was warmly received by all the students and faculty,” said Joe Sipitkowski, PE, MET Associate Professor, “It triggered a lot of enthusiasm and interest with the MET students regarding the fabrication of sheet metal parts and sheet metal manufacturing processes.”
The R.R. LeDuc Corporation is a family owned and operated sheet metal fabrication and custom powder coating facility based in Holyoke, Massachusetts. The company has customized thousands of projects in various industries such as the medical, telecommunication, military and point of sales industry. Questions or comments? Contact us today at 413.536.4329