Benefits of On-Site Training: Hach Company

  Print

"On-site training is an excellent solution for customers that need to train multiple people. It offers a level of flexibility in the delivery of that training that personalizes it for your unique needs."

- Trey McWhorter, National Instruments

The Challenge:
Addressing NI LabVIEW software programming knowledge gaps among a group of test engineers with varying levels of experience at Hach Company.

The Solution:
Scheduling on-site LabVIEW training to efficiently train a group of programmers by presenting flexible course content dynamically tailored to their specific applications.

Author(s):
Trey McWhorter - National Instruments

Hach Company, based in Loveland, CO, manufactures and distributes analytical instruments and reagents used to test the quality of water and other aqueous solutions. At Hach, Leah Martinez was managing a team of test engineers using LabVIEW when she identified an urgent need for training. She worked with her National Instruments account manager to decide the best fit for Hach’s needs was on-site training classes for both LabVIEW and NI TestStand software. 

The Problem

“Most of the team had been using LabVIEW for some time and felt comfortable with the basics,” says Martinez. However, after a large project came through, it became clear that there were some knowledge gaps. “LabVIEW is an easy language to pick up, but we discovered a couple of things we were doing that didn’t scale well,” she said. The team wanted training in the following areas: 

  • State machine architecture. The team started developing simple programs using sequence structures as their primary design pattern. As their programs became increasingly complex, they continued to evolve their architecture using stacked sequences and global variables, which was becoming increasingly difficult to maintain
  • Cross-linking implications and inefficiencies that occur when a VI in memory references a subVI other than the one it was last saved with.

The Solution 

On-site LabVIEW training was an excellent way to efficiently train a group of programmers at one time while providing the flexibility for them to ask questions throughout the course that were specific to their applications. On-site training offered some uniquely flexible ways to tailor the training course to their needs, including the following:

  • Hach was able to tailor the course and have discussions that were more focused on their specific needs and skill levels.
  • The team manager was able to sit in the back of the room and initiate discussions about how certain concepts were especially important to the team’s work, as well as what types of practices to adopt or avoid. 
  • Hach brought in a test system that they created with the help of a LabVIEW consultant and stepped through some examples the consultant created.

Most of the engineers had never used NI TestStand or any other type of sequencing software, which made this training a bigger challenge. For NI TestStand, three days of training were conducted before the weekend. During the weekend, Martinez created a simulator to use with NI TestStand. She then met with the trainer on Sunday evening and they created a new lesson plan for Monday and Tuesday and taught the next two days of the NI TestStand training together. “This certainly could not have happened if we had done training off-site,” notes Martinez.

The Results

“There has been a step function improvement in my team’s knowledge of LabVIEW and NI TestStand programming,” Martinez said. Observed improvements include the following:

  • Better understanding and construction of state machines
  • Improved understanding of NI TestStand and an increased willingness to use it
  • More likely to seek help from others in the team
  • Trying new approaches such as using ActiveX controls
  • More efficient LabVIEW project management
  • Better understanding of cross-linking, including how to avoid it and why it happens
  • More likely to take advantage of ni.com and other forums for help

Summary

On-site training is an excellent solution for customers that need to train multiple people. It offers a level of flexibility in the delivery of that training that personalizes it for your unique needs. On-site courses bring the classroom learning experience to your company's facilities. They not only eliminate travel and hotel expenses but also give you the opportunity to modify the courses for your company's specific needs.

Author Information:
Trey McWhorter
National Instruments

Bookmark and Share


Explore the NI Developer Community

Discover and collaborate on the latest example code and tutorials with a worldwide community of engineers and scientists.

‌Check‌ out‌ the‌ NI‌ Community


Who is National Instruments?

National Instruments provides a graphical system design platform for test, control, and embedded design applications that is transforming the way engineers and scientists design, prototype, and deploy systems.

‌Learn‌ more‌ about‌ NI