OptiPro is excited to announce five employees have completed the NYS Registered Apprenticeship Program! Each employee completed the apprenticeship process of learning a skilled trade of their choice through on-the-job training plus related classroom education. A minimum of 144 hours of classroom instruction was required for each employee per year, which covered the theory, principles, and technical knowledge required to perform their job. Two OptiPro employees chose the Precision Optics Manufacturing Technician apprenticeship. We also had one employee for each of the following apprenticeships: Electro-mechanical Technician, CNC Machinist, and Quality Assurance Auditor. A description of each skilled trade is below:
Precision Optics Manufacturing Technician:
Among many other responsibilities, Precision Optics Manufacturing Technicians were required to plan and verify fabrication processes. This involved demonstrating and understanding processing techniques for various optics, including plano, spherical, aspheric, cylindrical and freeform optics. The ability to select the appropriate procedures and equipment to produce different types of optics was vital to successfully complete this apprenticeship. In addition, each apprentice would need to be able to recommend process changes to minimize production costs. Both apprentices learned how to operate all manner of machinery, from hand beveling to 5-axis CNC grinding machines in OptiPro’s Advanced Process Development lab. Each apprentice also gained the ability to inspect optical components using appropriate metrology tools, such as test plates, interferometers, and profilometers.
The Electro-mechanical Technician Apprenticeship Program required familiarity with all elements of mechanical systems and the ability to read hydraulic and pneumatic prints. To complete this apprenticeship, the ability to read electrical and electronic drawings was also essential. This apprentice also worked with Direct Current (DC) and Alternating Current (AC) motors, motor controls, motor control circuits, controlled devices, transformers, rectifiers, and heaters in OptiPro’s Optics Machine Assembly Area. In addition, the ability to demonstrate and explain digital logic as well as learn and use Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC) was required. The apprentice in the Electro-mechanical Technician program also performed mechanical, electrical, or electronic repairs using various hand tools.
The CNC Machinist Apprentice was assigned a wide range of responsibilities, from learning the principles of manual and CNC machining to performing basic CNC machine set-up procedures in OptiPro’s machine tool showroom. Assisting the set-up person in making programmable adjustments was also a requirement in the CNC Machinist Apprenticeship Program. This apprentice learned all functions of the machine’s computer control, performed basic operations of computer aided manufacturing, put data in and out of CNC controls, performed easy set-ups, wrote basic programs, and repaired and maintained machines.
Quality Assurance Auditor
The Quality Assurance Auditor Apprenticeship Program required apprentices to develop and demonstrate an understanding of Statistical Process Control (SPC) methods as well as Geometrical Dimensioning & Tolerancing (GD&T). This apprentice also needed to become familiar with testing standards such as ASTM, ASME, and ANSI. The Quality Assurance Auditor was assigned several auditing tasks, including setting up all tools and gauges, performing inspections, and communicating quality of pieces to appropriate personnel.
The NYS Registered Apprenticeship Program takes a lot of hard work and focus, and we are very proud of each new journeyworker!