It could be argued that service is the most important facet of the heavy-equipment business. For this reason, many manufacturers greatly invest time and money into technician training.
For Hyundai Inc. this meant reevaluating its training and coming up with a new program utilizing tools relatively new to the industry.
For several years, Hyundai has been doing training in the field at dealer locations. Recently, the company decided it was time for a centralized training school, giving dealers the opportunity to come to them. “We wanted to be able to do more in-depth training,” said Dave Pooley, national service manager of Hyundai.
Hyundai moved into its new North American facility in Elk Grove Village, IL, two years ago and since September 2003 has been developing its new training center. The 4,000-sq-ft facility accommodates machines, assembly/breakdown areas and 1,700 sq. ft. of classroom space.
J.J. Kim, president of Hyundai, was a big proponent of the new training and pushed the head office to start the program, which is now serving as a model for the rest of the company. Hyundai has spent several hundred thousand dollars in investment into the program, with funds already appropriated for a facility in China that will move ahead in this next year.
The company held its very first training session under the new program on Feb. 16, 2004 and Pooley describes it as, “putting theory into practice,” using tools not being embraced by many other manufacturers. Along with the standard schematics and presentations, Hyundai incorporates real-time video and component cutouts to enhance its hands-on training approach.
Component cutouts are actual Hyundai machine components that have been cut in half or had sections removed, making it possible to see inside the unit. The parts feature color coded intake and exhaust cavities, and expose the interaction between parts, fluid and electronics.
These cutouts are fashioned with a wire cutter, taking 12 to 15 hours to cut one component, and can be extremely expensive. According to Hyundai, the cost of cutting out one part can easily reach several thousand dollars.
“The initial cost is expensive, but once it’s done it can be used over and over again,” said Pooley. “Pumps and valve blocks won’t go out of style for five or 10 years. The investment we make today will last for 12 or 15 years. So, in the long run it is a very cost effective way to teach.”
Hyundai has cut more than a dozen different component parts, and according to the company, students at the training sessions are taking notice, saying it is one of the biggest positives about the training.
Another innovation of Hyundai’s new training program is interactive video.
“One of the big problems with large classes is you can’t have 20 people in the cab at once,” said Pooley. “If you can’t show everybody, you can’t teach everybody.”
Hyundai mounted a camera on a stand behind the operator’s chair. The camera captures what is happening in the cab during a training session and projects it onto a screen.
“The video bridges the concepts between the machines’ schematics and actual hands-on training on the machine,” said Pooley. “It hasn’t been developed by a lot of companies. I think we are pioneering this video concept for training.”
Hyundai’s training also incorporates an electronic board – a replication of the complete electrical system of machines such as wheel loaders and excavators mounted onto a single, 6 by 4 ft. board. The unit is fully functional, powered by the same source as the wheel loaders and excavators and is used for testing components and reprogramming machines.
Hyundai’s first session included failure analysis of two actual pumps that came back to the manufacturer under warranty. The knowledge gained from the class and put it to use tearing down these components to evaluate the cause and remedy of the failure. Students also participate in a hands-on brake adjustment. “There is better understanding when students can see [things]…touch [them],” said Pooley.
Pooley is entirely responsible for the training of Hyundai dealers and mechanics. He has traveled to Korea for both the –3 and –7 roll-outs to get a first hand look at the machines and their development – from not only a visual, but a technical, design side.
Pooley is anticipating that the new training program will increase dealer participation. “If you offer the right training program it makes it easier to attract people,” said Pooley. “When they walk through the door and their mouths open in awe that means that you are on the right track.”
For more information, call or visit www.hyundai.com.
Photo: Dave Pooley, national service manager of Hyundai, operates the excavator training simulator at the company’s training school in Elk Grove Village, IL.