During the last month I have moved from the Sales and Marketing Department into the Production Department. Here I learnt about production planning and the route that a works order takes. I learnt how to raise slitting notes and a works order for converted parts. Following this I moved out onto the factory floor where I was trained to use our lathe and rewind slitters.
I didn’t realise how much was involved in slitting tape, as you have to understand the materials individually to know how to slit that particular material, for example, whether to slit at certain angles and whether to have a free or running blade. The reason for this is that different materials have different thicknesses and are wound in different ways e.g. tight/loose and will react differently to your choice of blade running. Another consideration is whether you need a lubricant to slit the material, due to it being very sticky.
I was shown how to change a blade and learnt why you would use a rewind slitter rather than a lathe slitter. One reason is, you get better finishes e.g. if the material isn’t wound tightly enough, you can rewind it to the desired finish. During this training I worked with Malcolm who was very thorough and explained everything so well.
After my training on the slitters I did some work on the die-cutters, starting with the flat-bed die-cutters and a tiny bit on the rotary die-cutters. Flat bed die-cutting was easier than I thought and I learnt that, as with the slitters, the ease of cutting is dependent on the material type, some products being far easier to die-cut than others. On one job I had to remove the cut parts as it was running, which I found challenging due to the delicate nature of the material; if you were too rough you would damage the parts, so it was tricky finding the right balance.
I’ve been really enjoying my time in Production and have found that all of the jobs I’ve worked on have been different, which has made it interesting. I also now understand the processes that estimators have to understand to be able to cost a job.
It’s been really interesting to see how skilled the operators are and to see the amount of experience between them all. It is also really interesting to learn how the materials we pick have a real impact on the shop floor due to the way they have to be processed and the challenges they can create.
Going forward I will continue to learn how to use all of our converting equipment, which I’m looking forward to.
I’ve continued to be involved in a project that started during my time with Sales and Marketing. We will be exhibiting at the Big Bang Fair South East in June this year and I’ll be attending along with some colleagues. It is an interactive engineering and science event for 9-19 years olds that includes shows, workshops and activities to engage visitors in STEM subjects. I attended these fairs when I was younger and really enjoyed them as I have always been interested in Science, so I’m very excited to be attending.
We are currently in the phase of deciding what we can take with us to showcase the power and benefits of using adhesive materials as a fixing method, so it’s been interesting brainstorming for ideas as to what will engage children and make them interested. I’ll keep you updated on our progress!