- Course: Mechatronics and Robotics (with Industrial Placement Year) MEng
- Nationality: British
- Job title: Undergraduate Engineer
- Company: J C Bamford Excavators Ltd
What is the name of the company you work for and what do they do?J C Bamford (JCB) is one of the world’s top 3 manufacturers of construction machinery. JCB has been a UK based, family business since 1945, currently producing a vast range of products from small to large excavators, backhoe loaders, telehandlers, engines, tractors and much more. The company employs over 12,000 people and sells machines in more than 150 countries, demonstrating the sheer scale to which we operate. JCB has developed rapidly going form strength to strength with a work ethic that can only be described by our motto; ‘Jamais content’ meaning never content which just goes to show just how much we strive toward improvement/development.
My role in the company has been broken down into 3 placements each lasting 4 months to provide a larger understanding of how the business works:
What is your role within the company?
Role 1 – Change Control Engineer
This role primarily consisted of automating the PI (Product Introduction) process. This process consists of every step from design of a new part to its implementation on a machine with everything in between. The previous system revolved around manual input which was rarely logged with very little traceability and accountability. My role involved writing software using Visual Basic in Excel to produce a database and dashboard to automate each step in the process through the click of a few buttons. In total it saved more than £100,000 per year.
Role 2 – Undergraduate Engineer (3D Printing and Rapid Prototyping)
This role revolves around the use of 3D printed jigs and fixtures, producing standard operating procedures and design guides outlining the criteria associated with the design and 3d printing of a part. The result of this project will be published globally for all JCB employees to use worldwide. A side role (but still a major role) to my placement is the use, maintenance and running of industrial 3D printers to quote, slice and manufacture parts to strict deadlines and build schedules for use around the business.
Engineering Education Scheme (EES)
As part of the JCB undergraduate scheme all undergraduates must do a STEM related activity/project. My personal project was the Engineering Education Scheme (EES). This involved going into The JCB Academy over a 9 month period teaching/mentoring a group of 4 AS-level students into the design and manufacture of a project that will solve a real life JCB problem. This role is specifically rewarding as it allows the passing on of knowledge to young adults at stages in their life where information and its application can really be used to shape their futures, providing them with skills and tools they would usually go without (arguably the most rewarding part of my job).
My first role was an individual project so it was completely organised, run and coded by myself giving me the freedom to decide what I do and how I do it. I believe it was great because it gave me the ability to create a system of my own design. One of which has now been running for 6 months without failure. However, as this job was predominantly software based I was mainly coding within excel on most days.
Can you please give me an insight into a typical day?
My second role on a day to day basis includes running daily checks on the machines to ensure correct and safe running followed by quoting any print orders and prioritising the build queue. This is particularly interesting as the print orders can come from any business unit and can be anything from a model machine to an electronics housing box to a scale building (the options are literally endless). After all of this I am usually in touch with suppliers finding out what new technologies are available and looking into possible new investments for the RP team specifically how they can be used to produce jigs and fixtures. With all this information collated I am writing a design guide into how to look for, design and implement 3d printed jigs and fixtures as at JCB we believe this is the next big thing moving forward.
In my first placement, I really enjoyed the freedom to design something of my own, something that works and something that saves the business unit I work in a hefty yearly sum. I found this particularly rewarding to know that my legacy will live on.
What do you enjoy the most and do you get involved in any interesting projects?
During my time in Leeds I had become heavily invested in 3D printing and JCB had gladly provided me with the chance to work with industrial versions. I find the general day-to-day interaction with these machines to be the best part of my job, understanding how they work and sometimes why they don’t.
Seeing what’s out there with regards to the future of 3D printing such as the HP Multijet fusion and Digital Light Synthesis Printing is truly something to look forward to as the industry grows and flourishes.
With regards to individual projects I cannot provide any further information as I am bound by NDAs however I would say it’s BIG and it is something JCB has never done before.