Taqtile and Manifest at PBC Linear
Forbes – Taqtile also has many private sector customers, one of which is PBC Linear, a large machine bearing manufacturer based in South Beloit, IL. They have one of Northern Illinois’ largest machine shops, with about 120 machinists. But machinists and tool and die makers are becoming increasingly difficult to hire. In the “old days,” PBC could hire apprentices—typically from high school vocational programs—and they would train them for four years before they became journeymen toolmakers or machinists. For the last decade, however, high schools in the area haven’t offered vocational programs, and “it’s left a large talent gap for us,” according to Tim LeCrone, a manufacturing manager who has worked at PBC for 28 years. The company’s turnover rate was also high, and there was no good source of new talent. LeCrone said he didn’t have the time to train individual workers.
PBC executives realized they needed a new approach to training their people, so Beau Wileman, who manages the “Factory of the Future” program at the company, began to explore AR-based training at the suggestion of PBC’s owner. Wileman and some colleagues had a quick conversation with Taqtile and decided to give it a try. Wileman said that Taqtile reminded him of the video games he’d played in the past, and he thought younger workers would find that appealing. In April 2020 they brought in some Taqtile people to create some templates, and shortly thereafter they began to produce content in Manifest themselves.