WCTC-Eaton Corporation coil winding boot camp designed to train machine operators for manufacturing careers
Future trainings to expand offerings to the public
PEWAUKEE, Wis. (Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022) – To better prepare their workforce for specialized manufacturing roles in coil winding, global power management company Eaton Corporation has partnered with Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC) to offer a niche bootcamp.
Coil winders are tasked with winding wire coils used in electrical components, such as transformers, which generate power used to run critical infrastructure and technology like hospitals, big data centers and electrical grids.
In summer, a group of six Eaton employees – most of whom were new to the company and their coil winding positions -- met for 120 hours of intense training over three weeks to learn how to safely and effectively prepare for their roles.
WCTC’s longtime manufacturing instructors Ken Heinritz and Jason Solberg led the pilot training program, which was held at the College and Eaton’s Badger Drive location in Waukesha. The first week involved classroom work at Eaton, facilitated by Solberg, followed by a second week of hands-on TIG welding and brazing in WCTC labs, taught by Heinritz. For the final week, participants received interactive training from Solberg on coil winding machines at Eaton.
Coil winders in high demand
“Coil winders are in such high demand right now, and with good starting wages,” said Mike Shiels, WCTC dean of the School of Applied Technologies. “We identified a need for this type of training in Southeast Wisconsin, and it’s been in the works for about a year.”
To prepare for teaching the boot camps, Solberg immersed himself in the Eaton team, and learned about the company’s people and processes, and Heinritz, who had previously taught welding classes to Eaton employees, built on that successful history and paired welding lessons with Solberg’s coil-winding lessons.
“The first-of-its-kind coil winding training program is a result of many hours of close partnership between Eaton and WCTC. The combined efforts of the teams created a whirlwind of synergies,” said Jon Wehrli, president of Eaton, Power Systems Division. “Education and industry partnerships are a win-win for Eaton and the students. Job seekers struggle to find that perfect opportunity and we are searching for qualified talent. WCTC serves as the critical connection point.”
The boot camp curriculum was jointly developed by WCTC and Eaton, and students learned many facets of the coil winding process, including reviewing engineering documents; examining coil materials to determine wire thickness, type, size and length; using wire cutting tools and hand tools; adding insulation between layers of coils; utilizing TIG welding and brazing techniques to join metals; setting up and threading coil winding machines; applying mechanical terminology and more.
Eaton employee Shanon McIntyre, who spent 16 years in law enforcement and was looking for a career change, started as a secondary coil winder in July. As a hands-on learner, the training has been beneficial in helping him refine his skills and grow in his new position.
Students learn from instructors and one another
“Jason and Ken have been excellent instructors. They make learning easy and interesting. This boot camp has helped me become more confident in my abilities with welding and assembling coils,” McIntyre said.
Additionally, he said, the group is learning not only from the instructors, but from one another.“ We are all doing the same job, so when we come up with better ways of doing something we can share that with each other,” McIntyre said. “We can help explain things differently if someone doesn’t understand. All in all, it was a good experience.”
Plans to continue the coil winding boot camps on a regular, quarterly basis will start in January 2023, and at that time, the coil winding boot camps will extend to the public. Additionally, Eaton has donated a coil winding machine to WCTC, which is being updated and refurbished, and will be used for future boot camps to train those interested in becoming coil winders.
To learn more about the coil winding boot camps, contact Aly Scharf, training manager, Eaton Power Systems Division, at 414.552.6227 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Waukesha County Technical College, the leader in workforce development, prepares learners for success within the region and global economy. The College offers more than 170 areas of study including associate degree, technical diploma, apprenticeship and short-term certificate programs. Customized training for employers is also available. To learn more, visit www.wctc.edu.