We have recently welcomed some new tool makers to BNL’s plastic mould tooling team, introducing new skills and ideas to the established and very experienced team we already have.
BNL’s in-house plastic mould tooling team has two functions. Working in New Product Development (NPD) to manufacture new tools for new products, and supporting the day to day manufacture of moulded products, by ensuring all tools are maintained and ready to run.
Here, some of our new tool makers tell us a little about their background, the role of a tool maker at BNL and what they have most enjoyed about being part of our multi-skilled Tooling team.
Andy has come back to plastic mould tooling and toolmaking after 25 years in automotive industry trade moulding and production moulding. He previously worked as Production Manager for a business that undertook injection moulding, painting and assembling tier 1 car parts. His move back into to the tool making side of the business was hesitant after working in a less hands-on role, plus the technology has changed massively in 25 years, but, he says, the basic skills are still the same and he’s pleased to be working in a role with so much more variety than batch production. “I was surprised at how much I enjoy the variety involved in the work at BNL; it’s very different from my last experience, where one person worked a specific skill. Here everyone does everything and is trained to do everything, with lots of flexibility within the team and in workloads.”
Sam, like many of our other new starters, joined from an automotive background. He works on new tool development for BNL. He is building his skills through CAD/CAM training, with an eye on progressing into the tool design side of the business. The work is similar to his previous role, but as BNL customers are from a variety of industries, it is more interesting working on a range of different products. “There are different specifications and materials to learn about, alongside specific tooling development requirements for each part. Automotive tooling is precision engineering because of the high quality required, and some of the BNL products are complex automotive bearings, so the level of skill and attention to detail needed can be high. It’s interesting moving from one machine or task to another and learning new skills, not working on one thing.”
Holly Boycott joins BNL as a Toolmaker developing and refining new tools for new products. Feeling she had covered all the ground that was available to her in her previous role as a machinist, she wanted a new challenge. As a practical person, she has always had the engineering bug – inherited from her Dad who is also an engineer. She would like to continue this path through to a tool design role. She has found BNL to be a change from previous roles, as it is a relatively young Tool Room team, with a diversity of skills. “The job is never routine here; working on different machines, milling, turning, spark eroders and CNC. It’s a lot to learn but I’d rather be learning new things than doing repetitive tasks. Plus, the team are helpful and respectful of all the different people in the team. It means you look forward to coming to work and putting in the extra hours if needed.”
Adisorn has joined BNL as a Shift Toolmaker, supporting the Mould Shop and day to day production. His role is to ensure that the products that are moulding can keep moulding to schedule. This involves following daily work plans, making sure tools are prepared to go onto specific moulding machines, changing, cleaning, maintaining, repairing and storing them. He is looking forward to developing his skills on new machinery and enjoys the variation in the work at BNL. “There are a lot of new machines and skills to learn in maintaining tools for the BNL range of products. This means that you never know what the day will bring. I want to get the most out of this role, becoming better and more efficient as I go. I plan to be proficient in all the different areas, so I can help others do the same.”
Ryan previously worked in production engineering and milling and turning roles for the oil and gas industry. He joined BNL after relocating and looking for a new role to develop his engineering skills. As a Tool Maker at BNL, he brings his previous skills to the team, as well as training in new skills, such as sparking and grinding. “The team are a good mix of experienced and younger members and very welcoming. We have had lots of new starters, promotions and changes in the team but overall it’s been a smooth start. BNL have lots of different engineering areas to develop skills. In the Tool Room alone everyone needs to be competent in a number of different skills. It makes each day varied and there’s lots of room to develop from this role.”
You can see our tool room in action in our manufacturing videos along with some of our other departments. Would you like to learn more about our plastic bearing products? Discover why BNL plastic bearings are more than just bearings.
Or if you would like to find out more about working for us, visit the BNL careers page.