National Apprenticeship Week


By Maysville Community and Technical College

November 20 marks the second annual National Apprenticeship Week (NAW), proclaimed by President Barack Obama to recognize apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy, nationwide. The United States currently has approximately 375,000 apprentices working with more than 150,000 employers.

Kentucky has its share of apprenticeship programs in a variety of industries, including advanced manufacturing. The KY FAME (Kentucky Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education) program was started by Toyota in 2009 and has spread throughout Kentucky to help fill the need for multi-skilled technicians.  Over 120 employers statewide are participating in the program and the purpose is to implement dual track, apprenticeship-style training that will create a pipeline of highly skilled workers.

Currently there are ten KY FAME chapters across the state of Kentucky. In 2015, the Northeast KY FAME chapter was formed. Peter Feil, Vice President and General Manager of Stober Drives, is the chair of the Northeast chapter and also serves on the state KY FAME board. “Establishing a FAME chapter in our region is the first step by the private sector to create opportunities for individuals to gain needed job skills and work experience to help our economy grow,” said Feil. “Private sector leadership in collaboration with our education, workforce and economic development partners is essential for our region to meet the current and future workforce demands.”

After being accepted into the program, students earn a two-year degree in Advanced Manufacturing Technician (AMT) while attending classes at Maysville Community and Technical College two full days per week and working in a paid position at a local employer three days a week. This gives students the opportunity to graduate with a degree and two year’s work experience with little to no debt and a potential job.

In August, fifteen students paired up with ten Northeast KY FAME companies to begin their two-year journey. Companies participating in the program are Cooper Standard (Mt. Sterling), CTI Foods (Owingsville), East Kentucky Power (Maysville), KDMK (Mt. Sterling), Morehead Wood Products (Morehead), Regal Beloit (Morehead), SRG (Morehead), Stober Drives (Maysville), the Walker Company (Mt. Sterling) and Tyson Foods (Claryville). “We’ve learned many things in the class room, from hydraulic models to electrical circuits, but the one thing the KY FAME program has taught me the most is how to be a professional.” Austin Blythe, apprentice currently working with the Walker Company in Mt. Sterling.

“Not only do we cover the technical requirements of the program in the classroom, communication and professional behaviors are being taught as well,” claims David Hatton, KY FAME Instructor at MCTC. “The ability to communicate both verbally and written is a must in this modern fast paced industry and the skills the students are learning in this program they will be able to use the rest of their lives.”

“Today’s sophisticated equipment requires highly trained technical skills for operation and/or maintenance,” stated Regal’s Plant Manager Randy Norwood. “Regal believes that KY FAME, working in partnership with Kentucky manufacturers will fill this ever increasing need.  A solid education combined with real world work experience is a perfect combination! Regal Supports KY FAME.”

If your company would like to learn more about participating in the KY FAME program, if you would like to become a KY FAME participant or if you just want to learn more information, call MCTC’s Workforce Solutions at 606-759-7141, ext.66120 or visit

Advantages of establishing an apprenticeship program

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.

Read more!


One of the Commonwealth’s nationally recognized workforce training programs, the Kentucky Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education, expanded to northeast Kentucky and the SOAR region, Gov. Matt Bevin said recently.

Through KY FAME, high school graduates and adults can earn an associate degree in advanced manufacturing while gaining hands-on, paid experience at a sponsoring manufacturer. The apprenticeship-style, education-and-training program addresses a need for more technically skilled workers in advanced manufacturing.

“With this new KY FAME chapter, local employers and the Kentucky Community and Technical College System take a leadership role in creating a pipeline of highly skilled employees to grow the regional and statewide economy,” said Bevin. “Congratulations to the northeast Kentucky region for forming this latest chapter. It will join in the growing success of KY FAME in educating and training Kentuckians to become one of the world’s most highly skilled and in-demand workforces.”

Northeast KY FAME participants will enroll in the Advanced Manufacturing Technician program at one of Maysville Community and Technical College’s  four campuses. Students attend classes two days a week and work at a sponsoring manufacturer 24 hours per week. After completing the five-semester program, students receive an associate degree in applied sciences.

Read more…

High Efficiency Gearboxes Optimized for Food and Beverage Applications

Food and beverage processing facilities provide big challenges for OEMs and machine component manufacturers.

Factory-automated machines and conveyors have two basic modes of operation: running efficiently and earning money verses down and unproductive, losing money.  Equipment downtime costs factories from 5 – 20 percent of capacity each year, according to Intech magazine.

Several components are culprits for maintenance and down time that is so expensive to U.S. factories: bearings, belts, chains, wiring, electric motors, and yes– gearboxes.

Gearboxes are high wear items, transforming power from electric motors (high speed, low torque) to the requirements of the load application (lower speed and higher torque).  There is a general assumption in power transmission: “Speed is cheap, torque is expensive.” Using motors to generate high torques required by many loads (direct drive technology) is typically much more expensive than generating the torque with a motor/gear reducer combination.

High-efficiency gear reducers have many benefits. They reduce the heat generation, which prolongs a gear reducer’s life increasing the application reliability and reduced cooled space cost.  Superior gear reducer efficiency also decreases total machine cost by allowing the use of smaller motors, and reducing energy consumption. Environmentally, efficiency means a reduced carbon footprint and lower electrical power consumption.

Read more…


Keyed Versus Keyless Connection

Utilizing a key and keyway to fix rotating shafts to power transmission components, such as gears, sprockets, and lever arms is a traditional connection method. Sometimes, a setscrew is used to prevent axial movement during operation. This connection, while relatively simple and reliable when transmitting smooth, consistent power, proves to be inadequate when vibratory, shock, or reversing loads are present. The setscrews used to lock the shaft in a bore can damage the shaft.

Many engineers have turned to keyless connections to handle applications with inconsistent power. Keyless locking devices are the preferred choice in Europe. Keyless connections rely on a clamping force to hold a shaft in a bore. With the advances in motion control, higher levels of precision and compactness, reduced backlash, smaller shafts and more secure connections have become critical.

Some of the advantages for utilizing a keyed connection include:

  • A keyed connection will provide a positive stop until failure, whereas a keyless connection could allow slippage between the two mating parts if it is not assembled correctly or the design torque is exceeded.
  • A keyed connection provides a visual that the mating parts are locked in place. A keyless connection could only do so if the two mating parts were inscribed with a timing mark.
  • A keyed connection will allow for more tolerance between the two mating parts. The mating parts for keyless connections must be cleaned and machined to precise tolerances.
A keyless connection can transmit more torque than a keyed shaft due to more shaft surface contact.  Figures 1 and 2 compare the contact area of a shrink fit connection to a keyed connection.
Figure 1: Keyless
Figure 2: Keyed






Read more…