The People of CastAlum – Toolroom Manager Interview – Steve Roberts
This month in our interview series: Toolroom Manager Steve Roberts talks about the art of toolmaking in the die casting industry.
Here’s what Steve has to share about toolmaking in a die casting foundry.
I’ve been working at CastAlum for almost nineteen years now, and I can’t believe how quickly that time has passed! I started in the foundry as a temporary member of staff…and I had no intention of staying! However, I quickly realised that there were opportunities to be had for those who worked hard and showed a bit of initiative (plus the pay wasn’t bad either!) With a background in engineering I hoped I would be able to progress within the company and thankfully I was.
My engineering career started back in the 1980s with a four-year apprenticeship in toolmaking. I progressed through to Toolmaker, Toolroom Supervisor, Engineering Manager, and finally Operations Manager. This was in a local precision engineering company, supplying components to the aerospace industry. When I started as a temp at CastAlum, the role I had involved inspecting (NDT) and machining suspension casting or knuckles as we referred to them.
Fortunately there was an opportunity to move into the toolroom, which was more in line with my skillset. From there, I was asked to be the Toolroom Machinist, again a role I enjoyed. Within a few years I was offered a position as Toolroom Supervisor, which progressed to a Managerial role.
I enjoy all aspects of my current role, although some aspects are more enjoyable than others! I must admit I do particularly enjoy passing on my machining skills to the younger generation whenever time allows.
The thing I am most proud of is the team of people I have around me. All good engineers. Additionally, the development of our in-house repair capabilities, we are now carrying out work that no so long ago would have been considered subcontract only repairs, which are both expensive and time consuming.
If you’re interested in a career at CastAlum, just get started! Then get yourself noticed (for the right reasons), and work hard to become a valuable employee. Take every opportunity to show what you are capable of, make improvement suggestions, and go the extra mile whenever you can.
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