VOL. 22 January ISSUE YEAR 2021

Standards Forum

in Vol. 22 - January Issue - Year 2021
How can One Meet Audit Criteria Training and Conformity in Times of Travel Restrictions?
Charlie Clouet

Charlie Clouet

When it comes to operator training, the first question that comes to mind is: ‘’How do I make sure that the operator acquires the good skills and conforms to the specifications in place?’’
The NADCAP 7117/4 Chapter 7 – PERSONNEL addresses that question. This is the Standard framing of an Audit for flapper peening and it will guide you through the operator’s qualification.  It will define if the training they receive demonstrates their proficiency in understanding the Almen control process, the checks to be made on each component of the flapper peening tools and media, and most importantly, the proficiency in manual manipulation of the handpiece (or grinder).
The situation the world is currently facing with travel restrictions put in place by many companies or countries pushes everyone to rapidly adapt to maintain their Quality Control up-to-date, reinvent themselves and, for that matter, upgrade their ways of doing things in their respective industries.
A flapper peening training session takes approximately one day or 7 hours to train a class of about 5 operators. They each need to demonstrate their proficiency and meet the trainer’s evaluation program. Doing so in person is the easiest way to validate the operators’ understanding and check their techniques but the costs associated with the course, the travelling fees and lodging of the trainer can sometimes be very expensive depending on which region of the world where both parties are located, but this would still be the most convenient method for everyone.
These days, due mostly to Covid and travel restrictions, many online training courses for different topics have started to pop up and the peening industry is no exception to the rule. New technologies such as cameras, computers and video conferences allow such training courses to meet the existing standards. They also offer an interesting value proposition to reduce expensive costs associated with conventional on-site training, providing the flexibility for a trainer located in North America to schedule a class in Australia thereby saving on buying a round-trip ticket, hotel accommodation, vehicle hire and per diem costs.  For the trainer, it prevents him from suffering from jet lag and hours spent in the sky (which is something we are all dreaming about these days, don’t get me wrong!) Saving on these extra costs may convince a Maintenance Center or Training Corporation to go ahead with the training to maintain certification of the operators, regardless of the economic situation.  
To make that training successful, there are obvious issues to consider. The peening process is very specific and the technologies are not always easy to comprehend. Manual manipulation of flapper peening is one of the most sensitive techniques to master so the trainer must be highly skilled to detect any wrongdoing in handling the handpiece for example, the flap contact to the part, making a Saturation Curve and Coverage, to name just a few.  However, the technologies we dispense now, when properly used, are more than sufficient to analyze the operator’s technique in real time.
The purpose of training is to teach and evaluate the understanding of an operator in the application of flapper peening, the results to be achieved, and the winning conditions in which to perform the work.  Tweaking one’s skills will take time and practice, as in everything we do.  A single training is not meant to develop an expert flapper peening operator, as the standards herein are to set the bases and the “range’’ of the knowledge required to perform a task.  It takes a willing and well-trained operator to meet what the standard dictates; the experience will do the rest. This is the beauty of knowledge and why one becomes highly skilled in doing something and why we rely on that person having gained that skill set.
Like finding a skilled operator, finding a good training program can be tedious but here again, relying on long-existing companies specializing in manual flapper peening will be your best shot to meet the international standards. 
These new times also help our industries to take action and move to the next level by improving our practices. The standards usually take longer to make this change as they are the sum of the work of different actors that first need to adapt themselves to this new situation to then update the content of a specification. These are the challenges that have always pushed different industries to improve.
The NADCAP 7117/4 is not so restrictive; it gives a lot of room for shape-shifting practices and the main actors mentioned in this standard are very agile and compliant to these changes. The training part of this standard is the chapter directly impacted by the COVID-19 situation, but the solutions already exist.  The virus will eventually go away but the new training method opens the door for more sustainable, more efficient and more cost-saving ways of keeping the operators’ skills up-to-date for manual flapper-peening operations.

For questions contact 

Standards Forum
by Charlie Clouet,
MFN Course Director World Wide
more information at www.mfn.li/trainers