Technical Training Equipment and Systems
Biggest website listing Technical Training Equipment from >20 reputable manufacturers. Here we cover categories such as Industrial Automation, Fluid Power, Renewable Energy, Aviation Maintenance, Automotive Training, HVAC-R, CNC, Industrial Maintenance.
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Learn More About Technical Training Equipment
What You Should Know About Didactic Systems
In this section you can learn more about technical training systems: what they are, how they differ, their benefits, challenges, industry-trends and the best practices for search, comparison, evaluation and acquisition. If you have any questions or input, do not hesitate to reach out to us.
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What is a Technical Training Equipment?
A technical training equipment refers to a didactic system which is used by teachers, educators or professors to teach hard skills in vocational training. This didactic equipment is normally installed into a classroom or a training center and comes as a combination of hardware, software, and curriculum content. Lately, more systems are becoming available as remotely accessible, digital simulations, and virtual or augmented reality solutions.
While all technical training systems aim to teach their learners hard skills, the effectiveness of knowledge transfer and educational impact varies greatly between different didactic tools. Furthermore, while one solution might be very suitable for a specific scenario, it might not have the same didactic impact for another. It is therefore vital to understand how effective a specific solution is by evaluating its features and its suitability.
What Types of Technical Training Equipment Exist?
There are vast differences in the type of equipment that exists, they can be fairly generic providing essential features or be very specialized, with deep technical differences. There are three main ways of how to differentiate technical training equipment.
Career, Industry & Skills
The first and most obvious way to differentiate technical training systems is by career, industry or by category of skills to be learnt for a specific profession. The skills necessary for an HVAC technician, an electrician, a plumber or an automotive service technician differs quite a lot, and hence also their didactic training equipment.
Below a few common skills areas in no particular order to demonstrate this:
- Electrical skills
- Welding skills
- Plumbing skills
- HVAC maintenance skills
- Woodworking skills
- Construction management skills
- Metalworking skills
- Machining skills
- Computer-aided drafting
- Industrial maintenance skills
- Automotive maintenance skills
- Aviation maintenance skills
Desired knowledge level
The second way to differentiate technical training systems has to do with what level of knowledge they are designed to transfer. For example, both a future power engineer who will design renewable energy systems and a solar panel installation technician will have to learn about solar panels with hands-on didactic tools. However, the curricular content and the type of exercises which the students will go through will differ accordingly:
- Vocational: focus on installation works, safety & trouble shooting
- Engineering: focus on theoretical knowledge, understanding of principles and product design
Based on producer
Thirdly, there exists >250 different producers of technical training systems worldwide, some smaller and niched towards a specific technology or a specific set of skills to be learnt, others covering a broad range of technologies and skills, but sometimes lacking in specialization. With such a plethora of producers it’s not hard to understand that their products and didactic approaches have various degrees of effectiveness in knowledge transfer and successful skills attainment.
Common Features of Technical Training Equipment
Most technical training systems have a few common features, such as hardware, software and curriculum content. While its accurate to say that these are common features, they often differ substantially. Since many teaching environments and student populations differ, is a good thing to have a plethora of choice. On the other hand, it can make it hard to find the best solution for each customer, below a few notes on each feature.
Hardware or Equipment:
The training equipment used for teaching specific skills most often mimic industrial processes, installations, tools or machinery, but in a smaller format. This allows for all relevant scenarios to be taught in a realistic setting, but for a smaller cost than a full industrial system. Most renowned producers use industrial parts where relevant, while some choose to scale back on costs to meet the budgetary restrictions of their customers.
Sometimes producers differ between a demonstrational unit kept for the instructor in front of the classroom, and equipment kept on each student desk for providing a hands-on experience. Some training equipment is small enough to place on a desktop, while others need a full container size space in a classroom, laboratory or a training center. Most technical training systems have a standard model, but since they are produced to order, they can often change specifications according to the customer needs.
Most technical training systems today has varying degrees of digital integration, depending on which producer, and which industry and skills it is aiming to train with for. Few training products do not have any digital integration (not needed), some come with sensors to capture output data only, while others have full software suites, control panels, PLC’s, API’s, embedded systems, or digital twins with added benefits of simulation etc.
The trend of training equipment is following the trend in society in general, where devices increasingly are becoming connected and digitalized, which also increases the expectations on digital savviness of the learners. Read more on future trends further down.
The curriculum content for technical training systems is always based on the didactic philosophy of the producer. This varies greatly between not only the top of the range and the budget versions, but also between the best producers.
On the lower end of didactic support, the customer can expect a user manual and a list of experiments or fault simulations delivered on a pdf. On the top-of-the-range the customer can expect full course curriculum including student and teacher materials covering theory & practice, individualized learning, digital platforms and assessment tools.
In many cases, effective training comes down to the didactic approach, the learning methods and the supporting materials. As one well-known producer puts it: “It’s not about the device, it’s about the theory and didactics behind it.”
Benefits of using Technical Training Equipment
The importance of properly structured hands-on training has been historically recognized by both eastern and western cultures:
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
Benjamin Franklin / Confucius
There are various different benefits to using technical training systems, especially for skills associated to hands-on professions described earlier, let’s explore a few of these benefits below.
Various studies show that when a learner gets to apply what they have learnt in a hands-on manner to a practical setting, the retainment of the course materials will stick much longer, than if the content will only be taught in a theoretical manner.
When there is a practical learning environment, students pay better attention, are more engaged and willing to learn. There is nothing better to keep students engaged and stimulated than giving them ownership of their own learning experience.
Hand-on learning supports the development of critical thinking skills, since the student needs to decide about what to do next, to reach their desired outcome. As opposed to memorizing information for an exam, critical thinking skills will remain longer, and are highly sought after by employers, since it mimics the real world where employees will have to solve problems as they go.
Learners who are using technical training systems in a hands-on approach are guided by an experienced instructor who has real world experience. This helps the learners to get a better understanding of what is expected from them by a future employer.
All the practical careers mentioned earlier will require the students to handle tools and machines in their day-to-day job. Most workplace accidents involve the improper misusage of equipment, which is why it is important to learn how to safely handle such equipment.
Who uses Technical Training Equipment?
The normal customers of technical training systems worldwide differ from schools, colleges, universities, research institutions, training centers, multinational companies etc. The focus of these institutions differs internationally, but generally we can assume the below:
- Schools: technical training systems can sometimes be used already at middle school level but are more common in education for practical and technical vocational career paths at high school level.
- Colleges & Polytechnics: many community colleges or polytechnics offer certificates, diplomas or bachelor’s degrees in practical technology-based skills training. These institutions focus on applied or experiential learning and invest into hands-on training centers equipped with necessary technical training systems.
- Universities: the typical university laboratory is either under a natural sciences faculty or an engineering faculty. Since universities conduct both education and research, the focus is on theoretical knowledge rather than practical skills. Thus, the type of equipment that can be found in such laboratories are rather scientifical instruments, than technical training systems.
- Training Centers: there also exists training centers for upskilling or reskilling the existing workforce. These training centers can be run by chambers of commerce, regional authorities, joint ventures or internally at multinational companies. Mostly they focus on hard skills with a high need for technical training systems.
Challenges with Technical Training Equipment
Using technical training systems do have a few challenges across its life cycle stages, namely: search and exploration, acquisition, operation, after sales support and disposal.
Technical training systems are almost always produced to order and do not have the global supply chains that customers have gotten used to in electronics, automotive or apparel industries. This means that pricing for each sale must be calculated based on a wide range of underlying parameters such as customer country, expected incoterms, expected support in commissioning, installment, and training, required warranty and after sales support.
Since most producers manage their oversea sales through a partner network of distributors, often the distributors are responsible for the localized support in any specific country and language. This puts a lot of responsibility on the distributor to act in the long-term interest of their customers rather than short term interest to win business and optimize for low costs. It is safe to say that there is a great disparity in both the intentions, experience and skills among distributors worldwide. Some are particularly good, others much less so.
Trends in Technical Training Equipment
A traditional training system includes hardware, software, and content. So, what are the different trends in technical training systems? Mostly we can see trends associated to the rise of new digital solutions which are integrated with traditional training systems to save both time and money.
Some companies have digitalized their technical training systems into computer simulations or digital twins. This allows for a cost-effective approach to training.
Simulations are often adopted as a remote learning solution, preparing students with the tools, labs, and machinery from home before they get to use them in a real live setting.
Another use-case is to divide students into groups rotating between first running simulations before later optimizing their time at the equipment.
Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality
Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are often together referred to as XR. The last few years we have seen an increasing trend to use XR in training for various types of skills. The benefit is that it can be cost effective, while the drawback is that it does not always provide a true hands-on experience.
We expect the field of XR to mature and become more realistic over the next decade. As it does so further, the technology will grow and get adopted as a complement to traditional hands-on systems. Maybe one day it will even displace traditional systems, but that all depends on how realistic they can become.
Remote Access Equipment
As a response to Covid19 some producers have started to allow for remote operation of their technical training systems from home. This means that students and learners can remotely operate the real live equipment in the lab of their educational institution, essentially to make experiments from home.
Whether remote access to live equipment will catch-on, we expect will depend on its relative benefits to software simulations and XR solutions. Stay tuned for an in-depth blog post in 2021 comparing these three solutions further.
How to Buy Technical Training Equipment
There are lots of things to keep in mind during the whole search and acquisition process. Below we will give you and overview, but we have also written a full and exhaustive article packed with tips and ideas, available here: Training Systems: how to search and evaluate
Any purchasing activities should have a solid foundation of a baseline analysis which covers the following:
- Training Needs Analysis (type of jobs which will be in demand)
- Job Analysis (which tasks needs to be performed)
- Identification of Competencies (what learners need to learn)
- Competency Development Framework (learning areas, verifiable to standard level)
- Development of Curriculum & Training Programs (translated into curriculum and teaching materials, including choice of Technical Training Systems)
Establishing Important Parameters
Before the search there are various important parameters to establish, below a few points that will be important in most acquisition scenarios.
- Available budget
- Language requirements
- Pre-sales support needs
- Installation & training needs
- After sales technical support
- Technical requirements
- Clear product descriptions
- Effectiveness of knowledge transfer
- Workload on educator
- Product delivery time
Searching for and Comparing Technical Training Systems
There are various ways to search for and find technical training systems and they all have their own benefits and drawbacks.
- Reach out to peers
- Read up on industry news
- Visit trade fairs
- Producer websites
- Contact a local distributor
- Contact a producer
- Hire a consultant
- Use an aggregator (online marketplace) such as Edquip
How to use Edquip
Edquip is an online marketplace for technical training systems, also sometimes referred to as an aggregator since it pools equipment from different and competing producers. The website has been designed to save time and money for educators, trainers, professors, and administrators who are searching for and exploring technical training systems.
If you prefer, you can also see a video, there is a link available from the header.
Its very easy to search and find technical training systems at Edquip, you can either make a text search, or you can browse different product categories, both options from the home page. You can then narrow down your search by applying different filters, such as sub-categories, content language, warranty offered etc. Each product has a product page with product pictures, videos, descriptions, technical specifications, and different attributes.
Any products can be added to the product comparison, this becomes particularly useful when you want to compare similar products from different producers. The product comparison page makes it very easy to compare products based on different underlying parameters such as content language, country of origin, customer rating, warranty etc.
From the comparison page you can request a quotation simultaneously for 2-5 products, straight from the producers of these products. You will have to sign up (or login) and fill out two different types of forms. The first form is general information which will help the producer to give you an accurate quotation, such as which country you are from, when you want the system delivered, if you need help with installation and training etc.
The second form is specific information about you, which Edquip will use to verify and validate your request before its shared with the producers, such as name, organization and contact info. We never share this info with the producers until you approve, which typically happen after you have decided which product you prefer and which company you would like to work with.
You can always read other educators reviews and ratings of different technical training systems. The reviews are open-ended and contains qualitative information, while the ratings are quantitative ratings of different parameters related to student knowledge attainment or educator’s workload. If you have used any of the listed products in your own training center, then feel free to submit a review to help other educators in their acquisition process.