SIKE simulators at the
Lipetsk Metallurgical College:
training for qualified mid-level specialists

One of the priority goals of the educational activities of the State Regional Autonomous Professional Educational Institution "Lipetsk Metallurgical College" (College) is the training of mid-level specialists. It is determined following the requirements of the federal state educational standards of secondary vocational education, the requests of employers, primarily PJSC NLMK, and the regional labor market.
The college implements educational programs of secondary vocational education. They are training programs for mid-level specialists following the requirements of the Federal State Educational Standard for Secondary Professional Education and the Federal State Educational Standard for Secondary General Education in 14 specialties.
One of the requirements of the Federal State Educational Standard for Secondary Professional Education is the use of modern pedagogical technologies in the educational process when students master general professional disciplines and professional modules to develop practical skills.
Teachers of the College's Materials Technology Cycle Commission train future technicians in the following specialties:
22.02.01 Metallurgy of ferrous metals,
22.02.05 Pressure metal treatment

They widely use information and telecommunication technologies, including computer simulators using virtual reality, purchased from the SIKE company:
− Rolling in the roughing train of a wide-strip hot mill
− Rolling in the finishing train of a wide-strip hot mill
− Applying zinc coating to the strip in a zinc pot
− Pinch rolling and straightening of galvanized strip
The simulators mentioned above are simplified models of the control panel for monitoring and controlling the corresponding technological process in production, including at PJSC NLMK.
In the work programs of professional modules of the specialty 22.02.05 – Pressure metal treatment: 03 Preparation and maintenance of the technological process of pressure metal treatment; professional module 06 – Performing work on one or more occupations of workers, positions of employees, based on requests from NLMK specialists, there were included laboratory classes in the amount of 44 hours, the implementation of which involves the active use of simulators from the SIKE company.

Mastering the professional module 06, performing work on one or several professions of workers, and positions of employees, culminates in obtaining the in-demand working profession "Control Station Operator."

Reliable and trouble-free operation of high-power industrial equipment requires qualified personnel capable of operating the control panel efficiently. The college graduates become precisely such operators of the control post of an industrial enterprise or any production site, who effectively monitor and remotely control the operation of machines, assemblies, and mechanisms involved in the production process.
Simulators used in the training of College students: "Rolling in the roughing train of a continuous hot strip mill", and "Rolling in the finishing train of a continuous hot strip mill" – allow future operators of the control station to learn how to configure the equipment of roughing and finishing trains (work roll opening, guide bars; cut-off of water descaling), its commissioning (stands, stand drives and roller tables) using control panels.
Switching over the control panels is carried out using the buttons with the names or numbers of the stands. The student carries out rolling in all stands while constantly monitoring the rolling parameters.
Thus, in the simulator "Applying zinc coating to a strip in a zinc pot" students are trained to conduct the process of applying zinc coating, as well as to configure the equipment of the galvanizing section to work with a strip of a given steel grade and size, taking into account the requirements for strip coating and parameters of air knives, depending on line speed and coating thickness. During the technological process, the student constantly monitors the level and temperature of the zinc melt. He controls the melt level by adding zinc cubes to the puddle.
The "Pinch rolling and straightening of galvanized strip" simulator is designed to eliminate defects in the shape of the strip (corrugation, side strain). When working on the simulator, a student sets up the equipment, monitors the temperature of the supplied cutting compound, and the cutting compound level in the storage tank, and monitors the complete removal of residual cutting compound and moisture from the strip.
Carrying out the technological processes of rolling at a hot rolling mill, galvanizing a strip, as well as pinch rolling and straightening a galvanized strip are carried out according to two training scenarios (in the "Training" and "Testing" modes), which represent step-by-step instructions for carrying out technological processes on simulators.

Upon completion, students are given a form with a test grade on a five-point system, and if a student has committed individual violations, penalties are assigned, resulting in a lower final grade.
Working on SIKE simulators not only ensures a smooth transition for students from mastering theoretical material in lecture classes in the professional module specialty 22.02.05 Pressure metal treatment to mastering practical actions in practical, laboratory classes and during internship but also activates the learning process, bringing it closer to the conditions of real production at PJSC NLMK.

When conducting laboratory classes with extensive use of simulators, a teacher plays the role of an assistant, one of the sources of information; the central place in their activities is occupied by both an individual student and a group of interacting students who stimulate and activate each other.
As practice shows, the use of simulators in the educational process of the College has significantly increased the effectiveness of training: conditions have been created that are close to production conditions, which ensure the formation of professional competencies necessary for future production activities at PJSC NLMK.

When passing the qualification exam on the assessment tools of PJSC NLMK as part of professional training and the state final certification in the form of a demonstration exam using simulators, 4th-year students of the specialty 22.02.05 Pressure metal treatment showed a high-quality level of training, demonstrating the necessary skills in equipment management and technological process.

Within the framework of mastering the professional module 06, performing works on one or several professions of workers, positions of employees, and certificates on the working profession of Control Station Operator with assignments of 3 and 4 qualification grades were received by 100% of students.
Thus, the use of SIKE simulators in vocational education is not an end in itself and not a tribute to fashion, but an urgent need and reasonable creation of production conditions in training that have great didactic advantages and potential reserves.