Herbert Mattes is a trainer at CHIRON-WERKE GmbH & Co. KG in Tuttlingen, Germany. Since the world championships 2007 in Japan he has been the expert for the CNC milling sector at SkillsGermany. Together with CHIRON he hosts the CNC milling preliminaries for the SkillsGermany and attends the competitions as an expert. In an interview we could talk briefly about the contestants.
CNC4you: Hello Mr. Mattes, could you please introduce yourself briefly?
Herbert Mattes: I have been working at Chiron for more than 30 years and for 10 years I have been responsible for the vocational training.
CNC4you: How did you come to the SkillsGermany as an expert for CNC milling?
Herbert Mattes: That happened relatively fast. In June 2007 I was asked whether I wanted to become an expert at the SkillsGermany and after I had said yes I already attended the 39th world championships in Shizuoka/Japan in September with the first contestant. By then I hadn't known what I was in for. In 2008 we at Chiron hosted and organized the first prequalification for the SkillsGermany and then the big competition at the AMB (International Exhibition for Metal Working) in Stuttgart. Since then, the SkillsGermany competitions have been taking place again regularly. In 2010 at the Euroskills in Lissabon we had the greatest success so far as the winner of the European championship in CNC milling.
CNC4you: What requirements have to be met by the contestants? Apart from machine operation, programming with the CAM system is an additional component.
Herbert Mattes: First of all, the contestants should have profound knowledge of how to read drawings and of CAM system programming. Usually, Mastercam is used due the global application. The contestants have to create the best programming solution in a very short time. Since they only get a paper drawing, they have to convert the contour skillfully in the CAM. The contours are designed so tricky that some thinking is required. In particular tolerance class 7, with a tolerance of one to two percent, requires adapted programming. So, the contestants have to describe the contour such that they are in the middle of the tolerance because otherwise they will later have problems when programming exactly to zero measure. Apart from that, good tool knowledge is required. The candidates decide with which tool the most effective and fastest machining is possible.
CNC4you: Are the tools provided or do the contestants bring their own assortment along?
Herbert Mattes: There is a tool pool which they have to have available. They get a tool suggestion with standard tools. However, the candidates select their tools and strategies themselves; there are no specifications with regard to that. The goal is to execute the machining as quickly as possible.
CNC4you: You as an experienced Skills expert could watch the candidates at many competitions. In your opinion, what are the strengths of the German contestants?
Herbert Mattes: The contestants from Central Europe, especially from Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Austria, and also Germany, of course, who have experienced a dual vocational education and training, can spontaneously adapt themselves to changing situations. That is, if something does not go as expected, they can quickly search for a new solution and implement it. Other contestants who have strongly been trained for a schematic system react rather unskillfully. The technical knowledge of all contestants is on the same level.
CNC4you: Why should a company invest time and money for their trainees' participation? The loss of time and the costs are considerable.
Herbert Mattes: The company's participation in the competitions makes the training much more interesting and attractive for potential trainees. For the applicants it is quite impressive that they could participate in the world championships. For the candidates it has enormous advantages. They are trained in systems that are usually not trained that intensely, for example CAM systems, and they work on most diverse machines. In particular the special trainings for milling strategies and tools with the tool manufacturers yield a lot. Adding to that is, of course, the meeting of the global competitors in order to compete and also to establish contacts.
CNC4you: So, this is a good basis also for the later professional life. Have you also gained this experience with the contestants?
Herbert Mattes: For our two contestants from Chiron I can only say that after the end of their training period they immediately changed to application technology and are no longer in production. Both now work all over the world and have made a real career jump. The third candidate from a different company started to study after his training period and is supported with a scholarship by his company because of his good performance.
CNC4you: So, the Skills really seem to be a talent pool. Thank you very much for the informative conversation.