How long did it take you to learn the skills of a laser operator?
It takes a couple of weeks to learn the basic process of using the laser machine, and over time you pick up more advanced and effective ways of being a laser operator.
Is there any progression in this area?
Yes, there’s lots of progression. You can start off as a machine operator and then learn maintenance on the machine. And then finally, learning to programme the machines with all different settings. My personal experience of progressing is working on the machines, then into the bend cell working on the Salvagnini panel bender, then to the laser and training new people or apprentices.
What fascinates you about the laser?
The range of parts that the machine can cut. Also, the range of materials it works really well with. Just the whole general function of the machine is really fascinating.
What’s the thickest material you have worked with on this machine?
I have worked with materials up to 20ml thickness; the thinnest material it can accurately work with is 0.5ml.
What did you want to do as a job when you left school/college?
My first job leaving school was in a factory; I have always wanted to work in something to do with engineering as there’s so much choice.
What other experience do you have?
I did my work experience in a machine shop on various things. But generally, I have a machining background, and I’m happy to stay in it and progress as much as possible.
What is one fact about your job?
The laser I work with, Bystronic Bysprint fibre 4020, produces up to 4000 watts, making cutting through the most challenging materials easy.
How long have you worked here, and how did you start?
I started off at Alpha Manufacturing as an apprentice nearly 7 years ago now. I had to work in each area to gain my on-the-job knowledge and experience, and I was happy to accept a job in the machine operative area as that’s my background.
What are your daily responsibilities?
To make sure the machine is running as it should be. Operate and maintain the machine to prolong its life span, it’s used 24 hours a day, so it needs regular checking and maintenance to ensure it’s working at 100% efficiency.