Ariel Corporation understands that the future success of the compression industry depends on the ability to recruit, develop, and retain the talent that will both manufacture and maintain equipment. In 2017, the company opened its world-class training center, demonstrating the company’s extraordinary commitment to the compression marketplace, its customers, and its employees for many years to come.
The facility, located at Ariel's World Headquarters in Mount Vernon, Ohio, houses the company's Training and Development Department and includes 12 state-of-the-art education and meeting rooms as well as three comprehensive training labs. It is staffed by experienced engineers and manufacturing technicians who share their knowledge of compression and manufacturing with Ariel’s customers and employees.
Growing the skills of Ariel customers
The Ariel Training Center's customer-focused curriculum includes our new Mechanics – Level 1 Training, Basic Product Training course, Technical School and customized product schools with additions and enhancements in constant development. The class offerings are at the core of Ariel’s reputation for unmatched customer service.
“We are excited to use this state-of-the-art facility to enhance our distributors’ and customers’ abilities,” said Brett Parks, Ariel’s Sales, and Distribution Development Manager. “The Ariel Training Center will allow us to increase the number of world-class training courses we offer to the people who own and maintain Ariel compressors.”
Ariel’s week-long training for mechanics serves as a hands-on course in the maintenance of our compressors. Offered throughout the year and held in the training center’s spacious Customer Training Lab, the class serves mechanics, operators, and service technicians who work for Ariel distributors and end users. It is open to anyone who has completed our Basic Product Training and is included as part of the purchase of a compressor. The new training facility has allowed for enhancements to the instruction, with much more space, more training compressors, and more hands-on instruction than could be provided previously. Each class includes no more than 12 students, who have access to every frame size Ariel manufactures. Two product trainers work with trainees in the training lab and its adjoining breakout classroom. Students spend 70 percent of their instruction time in the lab practicing the real-world skills they will use in the field and 30 percent in the classroom.
“Class participants have appreciated the practical, hands-on nature of the instruction, and are noticing a real change once they go back into the field,” said Parks.
The customer lab also includes a unique feature: a complete, working compression package. The skid includes a two-throw JGA that compresses nitrogen in a closed loop. The customer lab’s compression package can be programmed to produce various real-world faults and benefits students with practical, hands-on training with real-world issues such as shaft alignment and soft foot.
Another popular Ariel offering is the Basic Product Training, held quarterly for distributors and end users. It is intended for customers who are new to the compression industry and serves as a prerequisite for the Mechanics School and Mechanics – Level 1 training. The Basic Product Training takes advantage of state-of-the-art technology in the center’s largest classroom. Lecturers use an assortment of audio and video technology for instruction.
Ariel's Technical School is also held several times a year and is based on the Ariel Performance Program and Packaging Standards. This course is designed to benefit anyone buying or packaging Ariel compressors. The move to the new facility has added a benefit to the Technical School. The space available in the new Ariel Training Center has allowed instructors more opportunity to get to know the students and their companies, and therefore to custom-tailor content to the needs of each customer’s circumstances.
Growing the skills of Ariel employees
Ariel’s Training Center includes additional facilities designed to build world-class skills within their employees. Students master every aspect of Ariel’s manufacturing process while learning from the most experienced machinists and compressor assembly technicians in the industry.
In the machining lab, students study the basics of manual machining, building a foundation, starting with manual lathes and then move onto intermediate instruction using mills. With a foundation established, machining students advance to work on cutting-edge computer numerical control (CNC) machine tools. Students write and test CNC programs in the machine shop lab’s dedicated computer lab before moving on to live machining – an essential and unique part of Ariel’s machinist training process.
The Ariel Training Center also features an assembly lab and connected classroom for employee assembly instruction. Students learn in cells designed to replicate the work cells on the shop floor. They work with tool racks and build stands created to improve the efficiency of the Ariel assembly process. In the assembly lab, they have access to eight compressors, giving them exposure to Ariel’s diverse product line. These programs offer not only skills development opportunities for employees, but also an opportunity to obtain an accredited associates degree.
Mindful of the past, focused on the future
The centerpiece of the Ariel Training Center is its expansive open atrium, which was designed to resemble the inside of a compressor frame, right down to details like different colors of grey to depict machined and rough surfaces. The atrium offers an interactive display area representing Ariel history, culture, and product information for visitors. Also on display are several pieces of Ariel history including compressor Serial Number 3, manufactured and shipped in 1970, as well as a 1921 Lucas horizontal boring mill that founder Jim Buchwald utilized for machining work in Ariel’s infancy.
The new Ariel Training Center is proof of Ariel's commitment to its employees and customers roles in the future of the energy industry.