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A section of the Precision Valve and Automation factory in Cohoes. (Leader-Herald / Eric Retzlaff)

Two technology instructors from HFM BOCES Career and Technology Center and Fulton-Montgomery Community College strive to educate young people about the well-paying and often overlooked opportunities of modern manufacturing.

Jeremy Spraggs of HFM and Zachary Carrico of FMCC are running two free, week-long Tech-Lane introductory programs to show kids in eighth through eleven what two years at the community college level in electrical or mechanical technology can lead to.

Modern factories are no longer proverbial “Dirty and grimy places” where older generations worked but “Cool places” or “A lot of new technologies are introduced”, HFM’s Jeremy Spraggs said.

Spraggs and Carrico took eight students by bus to factories in the area each morning last week after teaching them the principles factories use and giving them a hands-on project to do the day before to illustrate the processes. The same program is scheduled from Monday to Friday this week.

Johnathan Urghart, director of allocation engineering at Precision Valve and Automation in Cohoes, shows some things the company’s robotics can produce during a Tech-Lane student tour of the manufacturer. To the right is Austin Luch from Galway, an electrical technology student from Fulton-Montgomery Community College who is a Tech-Lane mentor. (The Leader-Herald / Eric Retzlaff)

Last Tuesday, students visited Precision Valve and Automation in Cohoes, a clean, well-lit and organized factory where workers appeared unstressed when designing, wiring or building robots to apply coatings, adhesives, sealants and other fluids.

According to its website, it specializes in “Coating systems, fluid delivery solutions and custom automation products”.

PVA is a manufacturer of manufacturers, “To facilitate manufacturing with customer-centric solutions used in industries ranging from solar power, semiconductor packaging, printed circuit board assembly, medical device manufacturing and ‘consumer electronics’ it says.

Johnathan Urghart, Director of Allocation Engineering, showed students every step of building the machines PVA customizes for other industries in the United States and other countries.

“I really liked the way they showed us the different components of the plant”, said Emily Mickan, a new eighth grader from the Broadalbin-Perth School District.

Jeremy Spraggs, Electrical Technology Instructor at HFM BOCES Career and Technology, demonstrates a component with a sealant applied by Precision Valves and Automation in Cohoes during a student visit for the Tech-Lane program. (The Leader-Herald / Eric Retzlaff)

“I don’t know what interests me, what I like, but we don’t really have to limit ourselves. It really opens doors. “

“I want to be an engineer, that’s why I want to go” to see the factory, said Banjamin Huckins, also of BP.

While the students were on tour, Craig Tuttle, the production manager, told this reporter how the company tries to use the skills of its employees by training technicians in electronics and mechanics. For example, employees who build robot structures and those who wire them can receive cross-training. It makes employees more valuable to the business –“very well balanced employees”– and improve their wages, he said.

Tuttle said the growing company is still trying to organize the factory to reduce the time spent on projects, freeing up multi-skilled workers to work on something else.

After the students were taken back by bus to FMCC, Spragg and Corrico spent the afternoon preparing them for a visit the next day to Mayflower Electronics in Amsterdam, a company founded by former FM electrical technology student Tyler Chilton to design, assemble and sell high quality products. audio amplifiers.

Zachery Carrico, adjunct professor in electronic technology, demonstrates the conversion of sound waves into electrical impulses to prepare students for a sound amplification project. (The Leader-Herald / Eric Retzlaff)

Spragg explained with drawings how sound waves are transformed into analog waves, then into digital signals and back into sound waves.

Corrico then helped the students build their own solid state amplifiers.

What Spragg and Corrico are trying to show young people is that with a two-year degree, students can become the tech-savvy people modern factories need – people who understand what they’re making, how. machines work and how to troubleshoot problems that could lead to costly assembly failures. And get paid well at work, without a mountain of college debt, they said.

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