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GD&T

Lack of GD&T Knowledge Can Impact Your Bidding Process

Read the first part of our GD&T Blog “3 Factors that Affect Understanding

As a complex standard, geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T) can lead to reading and interpreting errors. Users who do not have the prerequisite print reading knowledge and ability to see in 2D and 3D space will have an increased difficulty in acquiring the necessary GD&T language fluency. As a result, potential disconnects can occur between the design, manufacture, and inspection of parts, all affecting a company’s bottom line.

Engineering drawing illustrating complex datum reference frames.

Engineering drawing illustrating complex datum reference frames.

One critical area in which a lack of GD&T knowledge can be detrimental to an organization is in the bidding process. Ways in which a limited understanding of GD&T can affect cost estimating includes the following:

Underbidding: Individuals involved in cost estimating who do not understand GD&T could potentially underbid as a result of their lack of knowledge. A limited level of GD&T fluency can cause individuals to undervalue the requirements necessary to make the part. As a result, the responsibility is now on the manufacturing team to make sure the part is manufactured correctly within cost, a task they may not be able to execute.

Overbidding: On the other hand, individuals involved in cost estimating who do not understand GD&T could also potentially overbid due to their lack of knowledge. In this situation, their limited language fluency may cause them to panic at the sight of the GD&T-related symbols, making them add cost. This additional cost arises from the belief that GD&T increases the time it takes to manufacture the part. As a result, the company could lose the bid for a product they could have manufactured. If they do win the bid, they may have made it easy on themselves to manufacture the part; however, they still may not realize how GD&T is going to help make the part more profitable.

In the bidding process, both underbidding and overbidding have their own ramifications. Whether a bid is won but undervalued or lost where there could have been profit, both realities affect a company’s bottom line profitability. It is in these crucial situations where having a full comprehension of GD&T helps organizations and individuals have the greatest potential for success.


Kavita Krishnamurthy is an ASQ certified Six Sigma Black Belt with over 15 years of experience in the field of process improvement, manufacturing engineering, and quality management in the automotive and gear industries. She is also the subject matter expert of our GD&T Fundamentals course.

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Uncategorized

Is your issue a skills gap or a knowledge gap?

You may have received a call to action to address the skills gap, which might feel making a bridge across the Grand Canyon with a few sticks and some string. The overarching term, “skills gap,” encompasses a variety of workplace topography with very different types of solutions. Perhaps, because of its large scale “skills gap” doesn’t come close to identifying the specific scope or the needs of your organization. The problem may lie in defining what the problem really is.

How do you define a skills gap?

There are a variety of reasons for the rift between matching people with available jobs. 

The Technology Gap

Robotics, artificial intelligence, and other advanced technologies may pose one of two types of concerns. Either your facility is expanding toward the future and your people have skill shortages, or your facility is crawling toward these endeavors and you can’t keep your people from being lured away.

“The types of skills that employees need to possess are rapidly evolving, and it seems increasingly difficult for the workforce to keep pace.

If your facility has embraced AI and robotics in the workplace, educational bridges for these gaps may already be started. If this technology is still in a galaxy far, far away, perhaps first laying a foundational understanding of the basics the technology is addressing is a timelier approach for your current workers.

The Perception Gap

Misconceptions of what a career in your industry involves could be adding to your labor shortage. “It’s these misperceptions that exacerbate the skills shortage we’re facing, as young people, their parents and guidance counselors don’t see manufacturing as a viable career path.” 

Get onboard with an organization that is tackling the manufacturing myth for the workforce of tomorrow or start your own. Host a manufacturing day with a local school or community college and find ways to get employees involved. A group of like-minded change-makers can more readily organize and propose a paradigm shift, even if it is just within your facility or town.

The Knowledge Gap

Aging and subsequent generation identity are important issues in the world of manufacturing. Knowledge and experience are leaving and may not be handed off. A new generation of workers grew up with a very different landscape of tools and methods of learning. In training, these new learners may struggle with a mentor approach that can be sporadic in conveying information.

How do you make strides across the knowledge gap?

Laying a strong foundation of training in the basics for your industry can be an important supporting tool for bridging the gap. If the chasm you are facing is related to the preparation of various levels of experience, THORS courses can help.

The first thing taught is terminology. “From there, we build an understanding of the process and then cover how to apply the knowledge,” Kumar says.

Kumar says, “many training programs focus on teaching how to do something, but the “what” and “why” are crucial to understanding an entire process.” The understanding of the foundation allows for more creative problem-solving.

Skills Gap, Knowledge Gap

Once workers understand the terminology outside of their immediate responsibilities and department, they can have more effective conversations and collaboration with coworkers—“because now they understand what’s going on upstream and downstream from what they do,” Kumar says.

Perhaps by addressing the specific and relevant gap being faced, building a bridge across the skills gap can feel less like a daunting canyon and more like a manageable span over a narrow gulley.

We want to hear from you! Let’s discuss how THORS can aid in identifying and being a resource in your training operations.

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Course Highlight GD&T

GD&T: 3 Factors that Affect Understanding

Geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T) is a complicated and complex standard that can lead to reading and interpreting errors. On drawings, GD&T is used as a point of reference in order to easily and effectively manufacture products that meet the fit, form, and function requirements of the part.


Due to the complex nature of the standard, GD&T can be incredibly difficult for users to understand and interpret, potentially leading to a disconnect between the design, manufacture, and inspection of parts.

DATUM Reference Frame GD&T

Render of a datum reference frame fully constraining a part in all degrees of freedom.

To better comprehend why GD&T is such a difficult concept, the following are common factors that can limit one’s understanding and interpretation of GD&T:

Prerequisite knowledge:

GD&T is an advanced-level concept that assumes the user has a full understanding of the rules, conventions, symbols, and associated terminology of print reading. Users who have not mastered the basic concepts found on a drawing are woefully unprepared to understand the complexity and technical intricacies of GD&T.

Language fluency

In its simplest form, GD&T is a language comprised of symbols used on prints that offer an enhanced version of a drawing in order to clearly convey the design intent for the part. Thus, as a language, there are levels of fluency a user must acquire. Until a user is fully fluent in the language of GD&T, much like a native speaker in their mother tongue, they will not fully comprehend the dynamics and relationships between the part’s features expressed on a print.

2D vs. 3D perspective

In addition to the prerequisite knowledge and levels of language fluency, a user must be able to mentally conceptualize the relationships expressed on a drawing between the features of a part. Individuals who are not familiar with print reading and how a two-dimensional drawing translates to a three-dimensional part will find GD&T incredibly difficult to navigate and elusive to grasp.

Due to the limitations imposed by the standard on the understanding and interpretation of GD&T, the following crucial areas in an organization could be affected:

  • Bidding process
  • Prototyping process
  • Product quality

Bottom-line profitability can be drastically affected by issues in any one of these critical areas. However, organizations and individuals who dedicate themselves to mastering the basics of print reading, developing their GD&T language fluency, and shaping their 2D/3D perspective have the greatest potential for understanding this fundamental industry concept.

Kavita Krishnamurthy is an ASQ certified Six Sigma Black Belt with over 15 years of experience in the field of process improvement, manufacturing engineering, and quality management in the automotive and gear industries. She is also the subject matter expert of our GD&T Fundamentals course.

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Castings

Green Sand: A Classic Casting Recipe

Casting Chronicles

The history of humanity is defined by man’s relationship with the material world. Man’s ability to make tools from metals has changed our historical trajectory.

A copper frog from Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq) dating back to 3200 BCE is the oldest known casting. Farm tools made of cast iron were used in China in 600 BCE. In the Middle Ages, metal casting was widely used for making bells and artillery. Fast forward to the nineteenth century, iron and steel manufacturing underpinned the industrial revolution.

According to recent estimates published by the American Foundry Society (AFS), most people in the United States are rarely more than ten feet away from a metal casting: metal castings continue to permeate our lives in the Age of Plastic. Metal castings are indispensable to our engineering feats—automobiles, aerospace, construction equipment, machinery, house-hold appliances, medical devices, hardware, water industry, and other infrastructure. This year, in the United States, sales of metal castings will generate thirty-three billion dollars in revenue.

Casting: A Kaleidoscopic View

A casting is a metal part made by pouring molten metal into a mold, allowing it to solidify, and extracting the final casting. Metal castings are predominantly produced in sand molds. Sand molds are expendable, or single-use, molds that are destroyed after retrieving the casting.

Green sand is the most used molding medium; green sand is moist foundry-grade sand. Interestingly, green sand is not green in color.

Green sand molds are made from three ingredients—sand, water, and clay binders. The molds are fabricated by compressing the sand mixture around the pattern. Ferrous metals including various types of iron and steel are primarily cast in green sand molds. Non-ferrous metals, such as aluminum, copper, bronze, magnesium, and zinc, can also be cast in green sand molds.

What makes casting in green sand molds a timeless technology?

  • Versatile:  green sand can be molded to produce complex castings with extensive gating systems.
  • Tougher:  green sand withstands high temperature; the molds retain their shape when the molten metal is poured
  • Greener: casting with green sand is a sustainable process; the sand is recovered and reprocessed after every casting cycle and the metal scraps are recycled in an endless loop.
  • Leaner: the abundance of sand makes the process cost-effective.
Green Sand

Sand casting is constantly evolving, the new wave in the field is 3D printing smart sand molds. Additive manufacturing or 3D printing of sand molds is in its infancy and promises great potential. By all indications, sand casting is here to stay!

Casting (De)coded

A sound casting begins with a flawless mold. Green sand mold production is a world of contrasts—Simple, yet sophisticated; Mundane, yet masterful.

At THORS eLearning Solutions, we create courses that encapsulate the rich lifetime experience of our experts and provide valuable insights on mold making and producing quality castings. We offer a suite of high-quality casting courses presented in a visually rich, interactive, and engaging fashion. THORS is a trusted training resource to maximize the potential of your workforce.

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Castings

Aluminum: Driving the Decade

The first two decades of this century witnessed the dramatic fall and rise of the automotive industry. We cruise into the new decade with technological advances defined by fuel-efficient and autonomous vehicles.

Emission regulations and fuel economy mandates are defining the design parameters of the mobility market.  Automakers are increasingly adopting the production of lightweight vehicles for improving fuel efficiency. Aluminum—durable, lightweight, and high-strength material that can be infinitely recycled­—emerged as the “material of choice” for automobile components.

Permanent Mold Aluminum Castings

Aluminum and the Auto Industry: Past Milestones and Future Prospects

  • Dürkopp introduces the first sports car with an aluminum body in 1899
  • Carl Benz develops a car engine with aluminum parts in 1901
  • British Land Rover produces V-8 engine blocks with aluminum cylinders in 1961
  • Audi mass produces full aluminum body cars in 1994

Today, necessity and innovation have accelerated the use of aluminum in vehicle construction than ever before. According to a report published by Mordor Intelligence, the demand for die-cast aluminum parts is projected to reach USD $59,741.23 million in 2024.

Aluminum: Metal to Manufactured Solution

To meet the auto industry’s ongoing demand for aluminum components, about $2 billion has been invested in the aluminum casting industry since 2013. The casting process transforms the raw aluminum into a usable component. The common methods of casting aluminum include vacuum process, investment casting, permanent molds, and die casting techniques.

Vacuum process and investment casting are expendable casting processes where the mold is destroyed after each casting cycle. Vacuum process, or V-process, is a modified sand-casting process where the mold sand is held together by vacuum, instead of conventional binders. The parts fabricated using the vacuum process have excellent dimensional accuracy and superior surface finish. Investment casting, or lost-wax casting, involves controlled removal of pattern material from the mold and replacing it with the molten metal. Intricate parts that meet tight tolerance requirements are manufactured by investment casting technique.

Permanent molds and die casting methods use reusable molds. Permanent molds, or gravity die casting, harness the potential of gravity to gradually draw the molten metal into the mold. Low pressure and high pressure die casting methods to employ controlled pressure systems to force the metal into the mold. Castings manufactured by permanent mold and die casting methods have a finer surface finish.  Permanent mold casting and die casting methods are more popular as they have a high production rate.

The footprint of the vacuum process is on the rise!

eLearning Meets Manufacturing

In addition to its application in the auto industry, aluminum castings are integral to the airline, military, medical, and energy sectors. This surge in demand for aluminum castings has led to a corresponding job growth in the manufacturing segment. THORS eLearning Solutions offers a series of Aluminum Casting Courses that are an asset to casting manufacturers. The appealing visuals and interactive content support workforce training and skill development on the various casting operations.

Visit THORS Academy to see a full list of current courses.

Contact us, We would love to hear from you and discuss your training needs.

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Uncategorized

THORS Effectiveness Survey Results

In 2019, a US-based turbine company identified that they had a skills gap developing within their organization. They recognized the need for organized training and decided to make training an area of focus for 2019. Subsequently, they decided to sign on with THORS eLearning Solutions for a 1-year corporate subscription.

Recently, our THORS team conducted an anonymous survey with 12 of the turbine company employees that had taken the THORS courses. The survey audience consisted of 75% technical employees and 25% commercial employees. Employees with prior subject knowledge included 17% advanced and 58% intermediate levels while the novice level was 25%. We wanted to understand the impact THORS training was having on them and how it addressed the skills gap the company was experiencing.

In our survey, we explored beyond the standard questions, such as “Did you learn something from this course?” and asked questions, such as “Would this course have shortened your learning curve when you moved into your current organization or job?”. This type of question provided some excellent insight into our effectiveness in achieving one of our core goals. The results breakdown was as follows:

The THORS methodology takes a multi-sensory approach to learning that consists of a combination of interactives, animations, and quizzes that make our courses easy-to-understand and engaging. The results breakdown for the question “Did you think the course was intuitive, engaging, or both intuitive and engaging?” was as follows:

For the question, “Were the graphics, animations, and activities enlightening, and did they positively contribute to your understanding of the subject?” 100% of the respondents said yes.

We at THORS work with our customers to make sure the courses offered to their employees are relevant to their job.  To this effect, our newly launched customer success team will work with you, the customer, to help you get started. Our customer success team is there to gain an understanding of your training goals and build curricula relevant to your needs. This ensures your employees only spend time on necessary training. An example of this, when we asked the question, “Did you find the courses to be relevant to your work?”, 83% responded absolutely, while 17% responded with either probably, maybe, or not at all.

Even though continuous training is something that every company considers important, taking time away from the job for a seminar/classroom session is always a challenge given schedule differences and potential loss in productivity. THORS aims to be a solution to that problem, with training split into modules, minimizing company downtime. Our customer success team can prescribe and help tailor the curricula, be it courses from our standard library or our custom course offerings, specifically for you and your company. The year 2020 is right around the corner! If you’re looking to identify and fill your skills gaps and would like to expand your training program, contact THORS eLearning Solutions.

We are here to help.