Although I grew up in an engineering family, I never thought I would go down that route,” explains Lucy, 20. “I’d worked informally in most departments over the years but, when I was offered a trial in the Quality Department, I said, ‘Yes but only if I am treated no differently to anyone else joining the company.’ I loved it. I realised that in Quality, I’d found my niche.
Verified by an engineer
Lucy was raised in Wadebridge, Cornwall, and took a diploma in Business Studies. After a series of short-term roles in local companies, Lucy joined the family-owned business of Daften Die-Casting in 2022. The company was founded in 1961 by Lucy’s grandfather Alan Weedon and his brother Sidney. Daften Die-Casting specialises in aluminium pressure die casting, machining and finishing and employs approximately 50 people.
Why the GD&T course?
“At Daften Die Casting, we carry out all the processes you might expect: die-casting, machining, sanding, linishing, powder coating and so on. One of our main products is manufacturing components for pumps used in medical industries. They are quite small and the specifications are critical for the pumps and the patients who use them.
“On a day-to-day basis, I do a lot of paperwork, scrap analysis, measuring on the Coordinate Measuring Machines (CMMs), pulling up drawings and so on. Prior to this course, I would get the data from the CMM and then have to ask someone to help me understand what it was telling us. I was learning on the job through other colleagues’ knowledge and experience. As a team, we decided this was not the best way and that it would help me and the company if I could be taught by experts. I could then bring that new knowledge back to Daften.
“We looked for courses around the country, but none seemed to have the depth we wanted. My brother also works at the company and is a member of the IMechE. He said he’d have a look and that’s when we saw this three-day course. I contacted the IMechE to check it was suitable for someone like me, who has very little experience. They re-assured me and sent me full notes about what we would learn. It looked perfect.”
What was your experience of the course?
“I was really excited and eager to start because I knew, by the time we’d finished, I’d be able to start making decisions about quality on my own. The size of the group was ideal – 12 people from different industries. The trainer knew our backgrounds and level of experience, so tailored the course to that. We had a lot of group discussions around how GD&T worked in our own businesses and particular problems people were facing. That was really interesting.
“We were each given a big workbook we made our way through as a group, with the trainer illustrating key points with lots of examples. We’d go through a section and discuss where we had seen a particular issue in our own work. For example, concentricity is not necessarily an everyday GD&T for many, but it is something we at Daften deal with. So, I was able to offer my perspective, and others were able to do the same on other areas.
“The course was definitely challenging but I enjoyed that. It was just the right level for me – not too hard nor too easy. GD&T is not an easy subject and, let’s be honest, it’s not necessarily the most exciting topic! But the trainer made it interesting and would stop at any time to answer questions. By the end of the course, I knew I understood the symbols and data, what the data was telling me, and how to make changes if something had failed. I am really satisfied with everything I’ve learned.”
What are the key reasons someone should attend the GD&T course?
- It’s not the most exciting subject but it’s so important. I felt inspired by the course – truly!
- It’s a three-day course, so you go into things in real depth. That meant we could go back to the basics of GD&T, and ensure we really understood the fundamentals before moving to more complex concepts.
- If your training is informal and on the job – and that was a common theme for attendees in my group – this course will help you gain the wider knowledge you need to make a difference to quality.
What’s been the impact?
“The course has made a difference in the way we do things and where we are doing our quality checks. We have more people in the team we can devote to quality. For example, previously castings were bought from the machine shop to us. But we have all the calibrated gauges in the machine shop and the guys suggested we come to them to do the checking in the machine shop. It’s a really good idea – it’s kind of step one: set up your machine and have your gauges ready on anything you need to check.
Another good thing is that there is more knowledge within our department and we are all working together to improve quality. The workbook I got from the course sits on my desk and it gets referred to all the time – not just by me but by all my colleagues!
Three pieces of advice you’d give future attendees
- Make notes! You’ll be listening to what the trainer says and what others on the course are saying. But make some notes at the time – it will help, as you can flick back and connect it all, to ensure you really understand it.
- It is intense but, if you focus, the hard work will pay off. I feel really inspired by the course and confident with the whole subject now.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions – the other delegates are often thinking the same thing. The trainer will stop and take as long as needed to be sure everyone understands the topic.
“I feel I have come away with not just new knowledge but more resilience and determination. I definitely want to do more courses and training – I love learning. I like the look of the Six Sigma Yellow Belt course at the IMechE. I am really keen to further my career and am hopefully going to be starting an apprenticeship in Quality soon.”
Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerance