In the early 2000s, STOBER Drives Inc. of Maysville, Kentucky, faced a problem many American manufacturers are confronted with in rural America today: finding skilled workers and retaining them over time.
There was no pipeline of high school workers or young adults in our area ready to learn the craft of manufacturing gear boxes and motors. But our firm is German-owned, and more than 55 percent of workers graduate from an apprenticeship program in Germany. Our German owners are supportive and encourage people development, so we implemented a STOBER apprenticeship program. Each apprentice is paid full-time wages and benefits while going to school to earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.
The skilled labor gap nationwide is projected to get worse. By 2020, America will experience a shortage of 3 million workers with associate’s degrees or higher and 4 million workers with technical certificates and credentials, according to the Center for American Progress.
Luckily, STOBER began working on this initiative more than 10 years ago and has had successes to report. We hired our 27th apprentice this year. Apprentices work 30 hours and attend school 10 hours per week.
It’s a great way to obtain an education and a job without going into debt. Though the average STOBER apprentice age is about 29 years old, we’ve had people in their 40s apply for the program. We retain 85 percent of our apprentices after graduation. Additionally, our growing reputation as a “people developer” has greatly increased our ability to attract top talent.
STOBER has released STOBER FITS, an online configuration tool that allows customers to quickly and easily specify and select STOBER gear reducers. The focus of the tool is to improve overall customer experience, expediting selection, sizing and specification processes for the customer through a unified and convenient online process.
Determining what STOBER product is needed and ordering it typically requires several steps, including specifying a mounting position, paint coating, and more information that is not included in a part number. The intent to improve this process and the growing trend in digital tools is what drove STOBER to create their online configuration tool, STOBER FITS.
Users can simply put in their NEMA or servo motor and see possible STOBER matches. Filters can be applied to narrow results. Then, you can easily choose your output style, mounting position, and more. If a user doesn’t have a motor, it is no problem. They can use the browse option to see all products and use the filters to find one that fits the application.
Once configured, the user can share the configuration with others, save it, or request a quote or drawing.
STOBER is proud to exhibit at the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) in McCormick Place in Chicago September 12-17.
We will be showing our solutions for machine tools! Learn more about our rack and pinion offerings and the complete mechatronic solution provided by STOBER. Visit us in the East Building, Booth E-4865.
STOBER wins the Best Practices Award 2016 for its powerful servomotors – having already earned the prize in 2014 with its PE planetary gear units and PS gearbox.
The reasons given by the judges for their choice particularly emphasized the unbeatable cost-benefit ratio of the servomotors. In combination with the high product quality, this makes the servomotors the most cost-effective solution currently obtainable on the market. Customers who use STOBER servomotors can achieve a notable increase in the profitability of their systems.
In his address on the occasion of the prize giving ceremony Patrick Stöber, Managing Director of Stöber Antriebstechnik GmbH & Co. KG, emphasizes that the prize given to the servomotors as a “success model” represents an outstanding tribute to the work of all STOBER employees. This internationally acknowledged and coveted award, he went on to say, is a stimulus to us to make even greater efforts to improve the confidence placed in us by the customer.
STOBER is proud to celebrate our 25th anniversary in Maysville, Kentucky. What started as a small office with three employees has grown to over 120 full-time employees, two campuses spanning 85,000 square feet, and the reputation as one of the Best Places to Work in Kentucky!
What was it that brought STOBER to Maysville all those years ago? In an excerpt from an interview with Bernd Stoeber, founder, he said, “After reviewing several sites across the U.S., we were particularly impressed by the people of Maysville. They have strong family and community values and are typical of the American work ethic…common sense, quality, and fairness.”
STOBER is proud to offer gear reducers for both the power transmission and motion control markets, rack and pinion systems, and servo motors. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of our success and let’s strive for 25 more!
Any mechanical device used over food production must be of the highest quality. Products that leak oil are not an option!
STOBER’s KS is ideal for dynamic mixing processes. The agitators can be mounted to the rotating flange supported by stout tapered bearings. The hollow bore also allows for air lines to pass through, which are used in the agitation process. The demanding nature of the dynamic mixing is no problem for the KS.
The Food and Drug Administration has high standards of cleanliness for food and beverage manufacturers. Equipment that is involved in making products in these industries must be able to withstand extreme cleaning solutions. STOBER Drives Incorporated has gearboxes that can withstand the harsh washdowns required by the FDA. These gearboxes also have the option of IP69K Certification, which is the highest degree of protection in cleaning processes.
Since the IP69K certification is available for several STOBER units, a large number of industries can use STOBER in their factories, including dairy, fruit and vegetable, snack foods, baking, meat processing, and more.
According to the FDA’s Current Good Manufacturing Practices for meat and poultry, all equipment must be of sanitary design. It states that “the equipment must be cleanable down to the microbiological level.” To meet this requirement, units are cleaned with steam cleaners at high pressure and with scalding water. In addition, harsh chemicals may be used to meet more extreme regulations. These severe cleaning procedures often compromise the paint on the gearbox, allowing for possible contamination of the product and the gearbox. The rating given to equipment that can withstand these harsh environments is IP69K.
STOBER rose to the challenge to meet the requirements for cleanliness and ensure the durability of the gearbox. With this IP69K Certification, STOBER’s line can be used in food and beverage applications across the nation. This certification shows it will provide maximum protection against high pressure washing and/or steam cleaning. No paint will deteriorate, meaning no contamination from paint chips will occur. STOBER also has stainless steel units that can withstand caustic solutions that are used for the most severe washdown applications.
For additional information on STOBER’s IP69K Certified products, visit www.stober.com. Information on the Current Good Manufacturing Practices was taken from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ website. IP69K information was taken from the ifm website.
Are you struggling with the skills gap? Is it hard to find employees? Many employers find that it is hard to recruit and retain good employees. An apprenticeship can help to “grow your own” employees and to close the skills gap. Apprenticeships are common in Europe. STOBER Maysville began the apprenticeship program in 2005. In our version of an Apprenticeship Program employees receive full-time benefits and pay. However, they work 30 hours and go to college for 10 hours. All school expenses are paid for by the company and they have the option of many College Institutions and Disciplines. You can easily set up your own Apprenticeship Program by contacting your States Department of Labor. Many disciplines are recognized by the state government and can open many grant opportunities to cover the cost of having an Apprentice.
This has been a huge success at STOBER. 84% of apprentices have stayed at the company. Our apprentices are very productive, during the apprenticeship and thereafter. The return on investment typically begins shortly after the apprentice enters the program. Upon completion of the program each apprentice was placed into permanent employment at STOBER Drives Inc. in the discipline they chose as apprentices. 8 of our 10 graduates are in significant leadership roles, and we are confident they will continue to move higher in the organization.
We believe employee development is the most important aspect of our business, and that our apprenticeship program is a major determining factor in our current and future success. “People development” is one of our fundamental business initiatives, even more important than product development, technology, etc. Families, communities and schools develop people to a certain point. Once someone is employed at STOBER, we are very intentional about continuing their personal development.
Being geared to a higher standard means constantly improving one’s self. STOBER has created a new version of its installation and troubleshooting manual. The manual has a new layout, updated content, additional instruction sheets, and much more!
Installing your gear reducer can be intimidating. Use our manual to help speed up your installation and make it simple!