Gratnells Engineering currently has two apprentices in their injection moulding section, Jamie and Thomas. They are on a five year plan and so far have learnt a lot about operating the machines, changing tools and fixing the robotic arms.
Thomas has recently embarked on his latest learning curve and took on a mixing nozzle replacement project. This has resulted in cycle time improving by around two seconds, as well as helping the company save on masterbatch.
Gratnells identified that one of their current KSM mixing nozzles was creating some issues when it came to colour mixing and it was up to Thomas to replace it. This was a completely new challenge for him but he took to it very well, recording the process as he went.
With a bit of guidance, Thomas was able to replace, fit and even rewire the thermocouple leads into a three pin adaptor plug so it could be plugged into the machine. The heat can then be controlled by a leaf thermocouple inside, rather than running the temperatures using the hot runner box.
A spokesperson for Gratnells Engineering commented:
“It is important to us to encourage our apprentices from the start how to identify and solve issues whilst keeping efficiency at the forefront of their minds, meaning that they will take with them the right mind-set to enable them to get the best out of themselves in their career.
“We are very impressed with how far our apprentices have come in such a short time and the impact they are having on the company. Reducing cycle times by two seconds and saving on masterbatch is a good result for Thomas at this stage. Next up for our apprentices is to crane in and fit a tool in the machine completely unsupervised by their 18th birthdays, and we look forward to seeing how they get on.”