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Hands-on training on actual engines like this Series 4000 is the emphasis at the MTU Product Training Center in Canton, Mich. (All images: MTU)

MTU training facility helps keep complex engines up and running

Today’s commercial engines are more reliable, fuel efficient, and powerful than ever. However, capability means complexity.

Engine designers have taken full advantage of computers to get unprecedented control over combustion timing, multi-stage turbos, exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), and precision fuel injectors. Meeting emissions regulations, such as U.S. Tier 4 Final and European Union Stage V, often means more components in the form of aftertreatment emissions-control equipment. That means selective catalytic reduction (SCR) or diesel particulate filters (DPFs) are commonplace, though not universal, even while electrification of components is creeping into new designs. Keeping these engines at the peak of performance is not what it used to be.

Hoping maintenance technicians can absorb what they need on the job is probably not going to cut it. That is why MTU made a commitment to training by building a 30,000-ft2 (2,790-m2) Product Training Center in Canton, Mich.

“We offer more than 100 courses that cover product training for engine operation, troubleshooting and maintenance practices for MTU’s extensive product portfolio of over 30 engine models,” explained Wolfgang Griener, senior manager of the MTU Training Center Detroit. Every year, up to 2,500 customer and distributor trainees from around the world visit the center, according to the company.

Complementing class-room learning is the hands-on experience one can only get by working on actual engines. To support this effort, MTU installed a wide range of its engines in the training facility, from smaller Series 1000 to the giant marine Series 8000.

Each of the students will disassemble, troubleshoot common problems, and rebuild one or more of MTU’s engines, depending on the class requirements.

“The purpose here is to show failure modes on the engine itself and what they look like, such as pitting or excessive wear. The students also use measuring equipment such as micrometers or borescopes for training,” explained Griener. “About 70% of the course is hands-on, working on ECUs or the engines.”

In an age when web-based training is accepted practice, he feels it is important to stress the utility of disassembling and reassembling an engine, using tools and equipment the student will find at his or her home base. A typical class is composed of eight students, sometimes up to 10.

“Networking and learning from each other in spontaneous ways is also invaluable in these small class size settings,” said Griener.

Each student typically takes a pre-test to let the instructors know their starting points, and each class concludes with a post-test. Each student must score 80% or better to pass. This documentation test is usually required for the student’s organization’s ISO 9001 requirements.

A spokeswoman for the company also noted that MTU tries to build long-standing relationships with its distributors and customers by supporting MTU engines through their lifecycles. In her opinion, a robust training program is one way to provide that support, in addition to long-term service agreements and on-call support from MTU’s distributor network.

This commitment is real. While acknowledging that the courses are paid for by the customers and MTU distributors, that fee typically only covers the ongoing cost of the facility and its trainers. The cost of the engines installed, of which the more expensive run over $800,000, is borne by MTU.

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