Video: MMT Visits Linear Mold to See Additive Manufacturing in Action

By: Christina M. Fuges 29. July 2014

Linear Mold & Engineering is an innovative leader in tool building and part manufacturing using additive manufacturing (AM) technology. The company uses production 3D printing not only to "grow" metal parts that couldn't be made any other way, but also to create mold inserts with cooling lines that conform to the curves of the mold for improved heat transfer.  Peter Zelinski and I, co-editors of Additive Manufacturing, visited Linear to film this video.


Passion for How Things Work (and How They Can Be Made Better)

By: Christina M. Fuges 25. July 2014

Celeste Boies is a 26-year-old supply chain, engineering/operations assistant at Westminster Tool for the past seven months. She has her AS in Engineering Science and previously worked as a retail pharmacy technician for seven years. Her five-year goal is to earn her bachelors degree in plastics engineering and work to revise/improve existing plastic injection molding procedures to increase efficiency and quality.

Learn more about Celeste's background and current work at Westminster here.

Now it's time to meet our last brat pack member, Benyuan (Ben) Hu. He is also 26 years old, and came to Westminster with a master of science in mechanical engineering from the University of New Haven.

Ben has been with Westminster for two years. Prior to that he was a research assistant helping Yale medical school analyze a heart stent project using CFD software. He also helped a professor in China design radiant floor heating system including heat loads calculations and water pipe pattern design.

Read more here.

Brains Are Valued Resources

By: Christina M. Fuges 24. July 2014

Alex Orphanos is a 24-year-old, full-time R&D engineer turned training coordinator at Westminster Tool. He has been with the company for a year and a half. He views the freedom and encouragement to experience different positions, as well as the opportunity to train and learn more as the greatest aspects of working at Westminster. His long-term goal is to work in the private space industry.

Alex was exposed to manufacturing through networking and then realized the value that manufacturing could bring to his engineering resume. "Working in manufacturing has helped me to become a better rounded engineer."

Alex started out at Westminster as an R&D Engineer and has recently transferred to training coordinator. He thnks this change will help him become a better engineer as it enables him to learn about the different phases of manufacturing while developing the training program.

Read more about Alex here.


Now let's meet Ronnie Fiero, a one-year apprentice machinist at Westminster. 

Ronnie is a technical high school graduate whose past work experience includes the Town of Thompson Board of Education.  He has his sights set on being a mechanical engineering technician at Westminster in five years. Ronnie sees his co-workers as the greatest aspect of working at Westminster. "They are always willing to help me or teach me something new."

When it comes to how he chose manufacturing, Ronnie says, "This industry appealed to me in the beginning of high school and I chose manufacturing as my trade and have continued to enjoy it ever since. With my internship at the shop, it moved me throughout different areas of work. While helping different employees I learned the essentials to molding components and what it takes to be a moldmaker."

The most important thing Ronnie has learned so far is that consistency of work and procedure is crucial. "Working a lot in assembly, I learned how being consistent provides lean manufacturing in large production projects."
His believes his greatest asset to Westminster Tool is his youth. It gives him an advantage because he has the ability, energy and willingness to learn more about the manufacturing industry.


Aiming High

By: Christina M. Fuges 22. July 2014

Two more Westminster Tool employees aim to perfect what they do, relying on the team to help them do just that.

Seth Velasquez is a 23-year-old apprentice machinist at Westminster Tool. He has been there for five years, and he sees himself perfecting what he does and mentoring others to do the same in the next five years. He believes that the greatest aspect of working at Westminster is the flexibility and work environment. "There's always a sense of change and that's refreshing," he says.

Looking back, Seth shares that he started at Westminster as entry level thinking it was just another job, but with a little more potential as a career. He never really considered manufacturing as a job before; however, after working a short time he started seeing manufacturing in the long-term sense.

He says that as the company started changing, so did his role as an employee. The idea of his job being a career was becoming more real. He started shadowing the older, more experienced moldmakers, and it progressed from there.

"I think I'm a solid example of potential. I didn't have the training in high school and I didn't start working on a manufacturing skill set until I got to Westminster Tool, but now I'm on my way to a solid career as a machinist because the company recognized and utilized my potential. It just shows that with the right training, gaps can be filled in high-demand manufacturing positions," explains Seth.

Seth enjoys the responsibility and credibility he has at Westminster. He's accountable for his work and his work is important to the company. "There's still a lot I have to learn and there's still a lot of training I'll go through, but having some authority and responsibility over what I do is rewarding," says Seth.

Now meet Jeff Smith who works in information technology and support at Westminster. He aims to become head of IT, if not the CIO, in five years. Jeff is 42 years old and comes to Westminster with an array of work experience within various industries, including tool & die, cellular and landline phones, restaurants and retail. His most imporatnt asset to Westminster is his ability to keep the network alive and running.  He notes that the key is to catch issues before anyone notices.

Jeff believes that the greatest challenge the industry faces is cost and productivity.  "The challenge of finding a way to remain on the forefront is a big one, but we are meeting and exceeding that challenge with the implementation of highly talented staff and continued education."

According to Jeff, the greatest aspect of working at Westminster is the people, which is a recurring theme with Westminster's employees.  The most important thing learned he's learned is the value of working as a team. "Keep the ship sailing, full speed ahead."


A "High C" Personality Makes the Perfect EDM Operator

By: Christina M. Fuges 18. July 2014

Danielle O’Connor is a 2013 Windham Technical High School, Manufacturing Technologies graduate working as an EDM operator/trainee for Westminster Tool for the past 9 months.  In 5 years, she sees herself operating and training on the EDM while taking plastics technology courses.

When hired at Westminster Danielle took a DISC test, which assigns a “personality” category based on how you process work, and with her a "high C" rating (detail-oriented)) she was placed on an EDM for training since it requires specific attention to detail ... and Danielle loves it!

She shared that the summer before she went to high school, she took a two-week manufacturing course that taught basic operations performed on machines used in a machine shop. She went on tours to local machine shops to see how machine shops looked and worked. The purpose of the course was to show that manufacturing has changed and is no longer “dark and dirty.” Instead it is technologically advancing every day. Danielle believes strongly that this manufacturing "misrepresentation" still exists today and perpetuates the industry's top challenge: finding skilled labor.  Hear more from Danielle here.


Now let's take a look at another recent high school graduate working at Westminster: Kyle Gagne.

Kyle has been working at Westminster Tool for 3 years in maintenance. In 5 years he hopes to be working on manufacturing projects. Kyle is still in the process of obtaining manufacturing certificates this upcoming fall and spring. He believes the greatest aspect of working at Westminster is the staff. "We’re all so close. It’s a really great environment." His favorite part of the job is learning something new every day, and the most important thing he's learned so are are hands-on skills and the value of hard work.

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