Supplier Technical Assistance Engineer at Ford Praises THORS Courses

Casting Technical Assistance Engineer Stefan Heinz

Stefan’s Background

Stefan works for Ford Motor Company. He is based in Cologne, Germany and is a casting technical specialist in the Global Ford STA Organization. The STA organization supports supplier selection and provides technical assistance to casting suppliers. Stefan’s expertise is in the area of high pressure die castings. For example, if suppliers have a problem with their products, he conducts an onsite visit and works with the supplier to help resolve issues.

Stefan has also worked as a tool maker. He’s been with the company for 35 years and always has had something to do with castings, in various functions. For the last 20 years, he’s been in the supplier technical assistance role.

His background and work experience drove a keen interest in reviewing the THORS Casting Courses. Stefan wanted to see how well the courses were created, how much he did know, and how much he did not know. “It was interesting,” he says, after going through the courses. He thought the content in the lessons were really well done, and he did not find anything that he would not agree with. He found the course content to be valid, of high quality, and presented in a structured manner. He said that it was fun to go through and complete the courses.

What Stefan Didn’t Know

He commented that 85% to 90% of the content he knew, and 10% to 15% was additional information that he did not directly need. Stefan has built a deep reservoir of casting knowledge from his 35 years of experience. People who have just completed their degree or have only been working for a few years would not possess this same depth of knowledge. He believes that newer engineers could experience a step change in their casting knowledge in a short span of time by completing THORS Courses. Stefan says, “the content in these courses is really good. I really liked it. So well made, all those video sections, the animations, that was very nice.”

Stefan’s Experience with Online Learning

Stefan hasn’t had previous experience with online learning. He was always “put into the fire and that’s how I learned. That’s how I made my way in real life. And I didn’t build much on theoretical education. Learning by doing, that’s the way I made it.”

But on the other hand, learning from experience takes a long time. And what Stefan found was, it’s mostly the basic stuff that companies miss. It’s not the high-end stuff. It’s the basic things where people are simply unaware of the consequences because they seem so simple that nobody pays attention to them. Stefan explains,

"We had a great example just two days ago now. The supplier is a well-known, big name in the casting industry. They had a problem with our parts and how they do the degassing operation for the melt. And they didn't put the [centrifugal pump] impeller in the middle of the cubical. They put it slightly offset. So this resulted in uneven material distribution with a high risk of oxides remaining in the melt. And it's like you tell them and they say: OK, we didn’t have that on our minds. Better education avoids simple mistakes which may result in expensive sorting actions where you need to filter out a suspicious batch in a massive amount of held stock. Imagine the impact on FTT and the cost for such sorting actions. Educating your workforce is the least expensive route."

What Stefan Thinks of THORS

Stefan thinks that people should not take these courses just because their boss asked them to do so. They need to be interested in the subject and really have the desire to learn, and then they can reach the level where they really talk business. THORS courses are at the right depth and are more than watching something on You Tube. “I loved it,” he says. Stefan thought the courses were really good and he has completed about 20 courses. He says,

“If I hadn’t liked them, I wouldn’t have done them. It’s a lot of time and I mostly did them after work in my spare time. But I would make it mandatory for every new engineer.”

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