Students at Haas Technical Education Centre (HTEC) La Joliverie, France, enjoy learning in what is unquestionably one of the world’s best HTECs. But it’s not just about the facility’s many Haas CNC machine tools; it’s also about the long-term dedication of the school staff and a particular technical project that they’ve kept going for 30+ years, across many generations of aspiring engineers.
There can’t be many Haas Technical Education Centres (HTECs) in the world that are as well-built, well-equipped and well-staffed as the one at La Joliverie Technical College, in Nantes, France. All HTECs are created to the exacting standards laid down in the Haas programme, but even so, most are relatively modest additions to a school or college, perhaps with two or three Haas machines and perhaps a computer room, for a few CAD/CAM seats.
At La Joliverie, there are ten Haas machines, supplied by regional Haas Factory Outlet (HFO) Realmeca, including an EC400 horizontal machining centre and an ST-30Y turning centre, with Y-axis and powered tools. There are also two Fanuc robots, several coordinate measuring machines, a couple of tool pre-setters and two multi-station, air-conditioned IT rooms dedicated separately to CAD/CAM and CAE. There’s also a good selection of student projects on display – go-karts, wind yachts and other wheeled transport, including the school’s world beating, hyper-mileage car.
Thierry Journaud is assistant director of professional and technical training at the school:
“We run two teaching programmes here – a machining technician vocational baccalaureat, and a BTS, i.e. post baccalaureat, qualification in the industrialization of mechanical products. So it’s very important for our students to work with CNC.
We’ve had Haas machines for around ten years now. We chose Haas because the machines are operator friendly, and in widespread use in industry in the Nantes region. This means that, after studying here, students go on to be employed in businesses in the region, with companies including large corporations like Airbus, or subcontractors working for Airbus, as well as small local businesses”[youtube]2pSsHz9aZtA[/youtube]
In a building 50-meters from the HTEC is an entire department dedicated to the school’s long-term passion and preoccupation: the sleek, award-winning MicroJoule hyper-mileage ‘car’ that has been in continuous development by staff and students for thirty years. Since the very beginning, across many generations, the project has been led and inspired by La Joliverie’s hyper-mileage guru:
“I teach BTS qualifications in internal combustion engines. I am an automotive engineer, and since 1985 I have been an energy competitor. It’s all about building a car, which goes at 30km/h, and is designed to use as little energy as possible.
Our first competition was in 1985 when we took part in the Shell Eco-marathon. In 1992 we were global winners. Since then we have successfully defended our title, and we even broke the world records for petrol, natural gas, ethanol, electricity and hydrogen powered vehicles.
To put a number on it, Microjoule is able to travel 3761 km on one litre of petrol.
How do we build our cars? Well, we need (many) parts, which come from our CNC workshop – the HTEC.
The design stage for the parts is done with computers, following which our team transfers the digital plans and makes the parts on the Haas machine tools.
Students doing national vocational qualifications do the simpler parts, whilst vocational baccalauréat students produce more complicated ones. For the most sophisticated parts, we use the apprenticeship groups.
We are delighted by the quality of the parts (made on the Haas CNC machines), which always turn out exactly how we imagined them.”
“We will continue to build on the ten years of experience we have had (so far) with the Haas machine, because they meet our requirements perfectly.
The single most important reason why we use Haas machines here is that the Haas computer numerically controlled system is widespread, operator friendly and easy to use, which is exactly what we need to teach with, and corresponds to industry practices.
Also, the Haas CNC is compatible with the professional software packages we use, so by the time students leave La Joliverie with their Haas training, they can fit into the industry workplace and, critically, they can use the Haas machines they will find there.”