April 6, 2022 By Martin Engineering
The global leader in conveyor accessories and bulk material handling solutions has launched a comprehensive digital educational resource for conveyor operation and safety. The online Foundations Learning Center draws from the collective knowledge and expertise gathered over nearly 80 years solving bulk handling challenges. Aimed at apprentice technicians and experienced engineers alike, the non-commercial information is offered at no charge and is accessible by computer, tablet, or smartphone. An extension of the Foundations training curriculum, the Learning Center uses a mix of text, photos, videos, webinars, online events, and live experts available to answer questions. The result is a unique central hub for industry professionals of all knowledge levels to use as a resource for building a deep understanding of material flow and safe, efficient conveyor operation.
“Not everyone learns by reading a textbook or following a lecture, so we set up the Learning Center as the place to go for all things conveyor and bulk handling for all types of learners,” said Jerad Heitzler, Foundations training manager and curator of the Learning Center. “Technology allows us to accommodate different learning styles by offering several avenues to the same knowledge. The Center is designed in categories to provide easy access to the resources and organized so that people can find what they need quickly.”
The Learning Center is an online portal where plant operators, managers, and supervisors can send members of their teams to build their understanding of every aspect of conveyor operation and safety practices. The platform provides visitors with immediate solutions that are applicable and actionable, regardless of the equipment manufacturer. It is also a place to learn about the latest technologies, techniques, and compliance measures.
Building from its comprehensive training resources Foundations, The Practical Resource for Cleaner, Safer, More Productive Dust & Material Control and Foundations for Conveyor Safety, the Learning Center has been modeled on decades of knowledge from Martin’s highly experienced team of engineers and field technicians in every corner of the bulk materials handling industry. To start with, the creators have focused on the basics of conveyor operation and safety, with more advanced subject matter being added regularly.
The Learning Center resources supplement and enhance Martin Engineering’s extensive Foundations training program. The in-person training program combines the hands-on instruction and personal attention found in a classroom setting with the Learning Center technology, the textbook, and comprehension testing.
The modules of the Learning Center are split into nine categories:
- Material carryback & belt cleaning
- Dust management
- Material spillage
- Belt conveyor safety
- Conveyor belt & component damage
- Conveyor belt mistracking
- Material flow problems
- Belt conveyor system maintenance
- Basics of belt conveyor systems
Once the category is chosen, the learner is greeted with the core issues related to the module and examples of best practices. Video overviews are immediately available to introduce the subject. The navigation bar to the right of each module page provides a detailed walk-through of the subject from beginning to end with text information, topical webinars, videos and related articles.
“Our goal is comprehension and retention,” Heitzler pointed out. “Visitors might be pressed for time or may become distracted. While an experienced live instructor can see that and overcome it in a face-to-face training session, online learning is a different animal. So by providing visitors with options for learning and ways to break up the information rather than hours of reading or long videos, we’re able to better engage them, improving their experience and their learning.”
Once the Learning Center has been fully explored, users should have the foundation needed to operate belt conveyors safely and effectively. If managers choose, they can refer their employees to the Learning Center to gain professional development credits toward their certification to become qualified as maintenance technicians, operators, foremen, millwrights/fitters and so on.
The feedback from people who have already used the Learning Center has been excellent. Users find it informative, easy to use, engaging, and an overall enjoyable experience. Managers and supervisors say they like having a trustworthy and cost-effective source for quick, unbiased information.
“Of course, nothing replaces hands-on training and on-the-job experience, so that’s why the training system is called Foundations,” Heitzler said. “We provide the basic knowledge needed to work safely and efficiently in a platform that they can easily access when they need it.”