In Maria’s third blog, which documents her training & development journey, she discusses challenges, her current duties and some of the coolest projects she’s worked on to-date.

Six months into her job and Maria Lopez, trainee toolsetter at specialist technical trade moulder Broanmain Plastics, felt she had fully embedded the basics of injection moulding and was ready for her next challenge.

Completing the 3-day Process Technician course at the Sumitomo (SHI) Demag Training Academy in July 2017, Maria immediately returned to Surrey-based Broanmain to share her expertise with colleagues and apply her knowledge to troubleshooting machine issues, reducing cycle times and improving process stability.

Almost immediately after completing the PTech course, Maria took charge of supervising three of Broanmain’s largest hydraulic Systec injection moulding machines, completing over eight tool changes weekly. Her current duties now involve overseeing all eight of the company’s machines, preparing, setting and running jobs in the injection department, monitoring production quality requirements, managing the workloads of five team members and conducting appraisals.

“The PTech course was a turning point in my training as I really started to understand the impact of the five variables in injection moulding – temperature, pressure, speed, screw and clamp force. I was able to return to the mould shop with the ability to set a machine from zero to producing components to a given specification, in the most efficient and timely way.

“Being able to perform a tool change independently was one of the coolest things I’ve accomplished in my time here. Especially the first time I sourced the optimal setting for a specific mould from scratch with no input from anyone else. I also really love it each time I beat my previous personal best for solving a machine fault.”

Being able to access professional advice has increased Maria’s confidence within the job.
“ Team culture is very important. You need to be able to turn to colleagues and feel comfortable asking questions. For operational issues, for example coming up with the right machine settings, my manager Thomas is always on hand to support. If he’s not around, the company’s MD Wilf Davis is extremely knowledgeable. If I don’t understand something about tool design, we have a tool expert in-house, and a Quality Engineer – Agnieszka – to bounce ideas off. I even texted Sumitomo’s trainer Darren Vater Hutchison to solve a mechanical issue one day.”

Next time … Thriving on challenges.

Read Maria’s blog ‘A passion for plastics’…

A passion for plastics

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