The People of CastAlum – Machining Manager Interview – Richard Jones

This month in our interview series: Machining Manager Richard Jones talks through his career progression in our die casting foundry and machine shop.

Here’s what Richard has to share about working in at CastAlum:

I have been working at CastAlum now for twenty-one years. I had heard about this newly formed company in Welshpool and that they were looking for skilled engineers to support their daily production. After completing a bit more research I made a point of gaining employment.

Career Progression at CastAlum

I kicked off my career at CastAlum by taking a step back as a CNC Operator operating a small shotblast and CNC machining cell, with a view to moving over to the engineering department. The company has a long history of enabling progression, and sure enough, within six weeks I had moved over to the toolroom team as a Shift Toolmaker. In this role I learnt a variety of new skills whilst taking the opportunity to promote my skills as a machinist. I then took the opportunity of a day shift role running the CNCs in the toolroom and maintaining the production CNC equipment.

This stood me in good stead when the company won new business which included CNC machining. I was offered the chance to run the machine shop right from the initial stages of setup. This was an exciting, stressful, and yet rewarding time where I learnt a whole new skillset.

I have enjoyed all of these different roles within CastAlum as there are always new skills to be learned! These include the challenges of developing a project from its nomination process to final pass off, and the everyday challenges we meet.

Favourite Moments

In terms of achievements, I’m most proud of, as I mentioned, setting up the machine shop in its first instance was an immense challenge. Although this was heavily supported by our tooling suppliers, it was still a steep learning curve for all involved. Also, one project that sticks in my mind is the takeover of a particular product. From the point of nomination we had twelve weeks to get machines, tooling, and setup for first piece. This project was undertaken by the CastAlum engineering team as a whole. My part involved looking after all the tool design, setting up the CNC’s NC programs, and so on. Producing parts to customer specification within this time frame was quite an achievement.

If you’re thinking of joining CastAlum know that we have always had an ethos of promotion from within. We are very willing to train up individuals across a range of skillsets. Once you’re here, look at the various departments and what you can offer them. And use our employee suggestion schemes to get yourself noticed!

Find out more

Follow us on LinkedIn for more employee interviews, and to learn about life in a Mid Wales foundry! Or if you’re interested in joining the team, head over to our Careers page.

Richard Jones Machining Manager Portrait

Richard Jones
Machining Manager