“How can new operators learn the equipment quickly?”

Published on April 3, 2023

Today’s manufacturers and distributors are facing unprecedented staffing challenges. Not only is it difficult to find enough labor that is dependable and sustainable, but experienced workers? – Near impossible. So, bringing untrained operators and technicians up to speed quickly is more critical than ever before. Here are ways Pearson supports your organization in doing just that.

Select an OEM committed to machine usability

Over the course of the last decade, Pearson has invested in a number of initiatives to understand and overcome the challenges machine users are up against. For more than three years, a dedicated User Centric Design team interviewed customers to understand their pain points, observed user behaviors, and conducted endless studies and testing. Their findings drove machine design changes that help novice users perform basic operations without formal training, and becoming proficient in machine operation as quickly as possible.

Consider practical user features when purchasing equipment

Ask the question: “What makes your machines easy to operate and maintain?” If the OEM you’re considering can’t answer that question, find a vendor who can.

Common, easy-to-use HMIs (Human Machine Interfaces) across all machines

Operators and maintenance technicians may need to support multiple machines in a line. Depending on staffing needs, they may also have to help out on different lines or machines. When that happens, having a common interface on all or most of these machines is extremely helpful. Pearson offers a comprehensive line of case erectors, bliss formers, packers, sealers, palletizers, bag and partition inserters that all have a uniform user interface that allows operators to easily transition from one piece of equipment to another.

Pearson HMIs incorporate large color screens with minimalistic menus and universally-recognized icons rather than extensive text. The interface uses common website and phone app design principles that allow machine users to tap into their existing experience and intuitively learn the navigation of the HMI.

Changeover, troubleshooting & maintenance tools

Changeovers may happen frequently. The longer they take, the longer the machine is not producing. Similarly, if there is a fault, the machine is in a downtime condition and a speedy recovery is critical. Pearson machines all offer interactive maps for changeovers, fault recovery and other troubleshooting with step-by-step instructions that identify each point on the machine that must be adjusted in the proper sequence. The changeover points are also numbered on the physical machine, and step-by-step instructions are simple to follow with supportive images and set-point values. Generally, adjustments are made using easily-identifiable orange release handles and scales rather than tools.

Maintenance screens detail tasks that can be set to appropriate intervals – for example, daily, weekly, or monthly – depending on your operating schedule. Information on how to properly complete recommended tasks is also accessible for learning and reference.

Machine visibility & accessibility

Whether you’re clearing a jam or troubleshooting an issue, the ability to clearly see into your equipment is important to identify the area of concern quickly and rectify the situation. For this reason, Pearson changed the standard machine color from dark grey to light grey, and added interior lighting to improve visibility of internal machine components.

Horizontal glass sliders, floor-to-ceiling swing doors, and low-to-the-ground machine frames provide easy access to the machine interior.

Status beacons & lighting

Especially for operators overseeing multiple lines or pieces of equipment, long-lasting LED beacons  offer a good indication of machine status (i.e. running as intended, down machine, waiting for cases, requiring consumable restocking, etc.) and are visible from a distance. While nearly all manufacturers offer such beacons, Pearson ensured that it is a standard part of the machine, not an additional expense.

Remote support

What if your new operator or maintenance technician could lean on the OEM for support if needed? Increasingly we are seeing new operators taking advantage of our remote support as they are learning to keep their machines running efficiently. Pearson offers remote support free of charge and includes remote machine access capability as a standard feature of the machine. However, we have many different tools to help troubleshoot or give guidance and many times a simple two-way video with augmented reality is all we need. Our techs can annotate the live video to help guide your operators unfamiliar with the correct component terminology. Remote support saves time, cost, and facilitates operator learning.

Invest in staff training

Beyond the designs and features of the packaging equipment, Pearson also offers a variety of training options to suit the various needs of customers. Onsite training often occurs during the equipment Factory Acceptance Testing (FAT), when users can observe their equipment running on Pearson’s assembly floor and receive guidance from technicians and engineers with decades of experience. Some customers record the FAT training to bring back and share with other team members or reference in the future.

Factory training is also available for companies who prefer to have a machine expert train operators and techs within their own operating environments, or for training larger groups. Train-the-trainer and refresher programs are also available, and the content and materials can be customized to best support the unique goals of customers.

Ready to coordinate your staff training or arrange a demonstration of the User Centric machine design features discussed? Contact us today.