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My Experiences and Advice

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Write here only if you have personal experience of working as a process engineer. Why did you decide to become one? What are your qualifications? What are the ups and downs of the profession?

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      02.10.2001 06:48
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      WOW!!!! YIPPEEEEEEEE!!!! I am amazed that Dooyoo decided to give me my own category lol!!! Yes indeed I am a Process Engineer (or was!!). I joined Rover as an associate welding on the Metro. It wasn’t really what I wanted to do but it was a foot in the door. I moved onto Rover 200 when it was in the pre-production phases (which means we were building one car a week!), so I had plenty of time to look around at the engineering jobs available within the company. During my time on the Rover 200 I had lots of contact with the Manufacturing Engineering Department. One engineer in particular Mike (my eventual best buddy!) was the Process Engineer for the track (last build area for the car body). We had daily meetings to discuss the development of the welding booth and what improvements were needed (net curtains, comfy armchairs etc) and I spent more time asking him questions about his role! Well soon after a vacancy came up for a Process Engineer working with Mike and I jumped at the chance. Qualifications needed were HNC/Degree in mechanical engineering and experience of working within the automotive industry. Luckily I had both! I was so chuffed when I got the job but as fate would have it, the day I handed my contract to Personnel I found out I was pregnant with charlotte. I waited until I was 3 months before I told them and it went down like a lead balloon. Once I explained that I would be back after having the baby they settled down. The first few months were spent training. Learning how to use CADD (Computer Aided Drawing), the filing systems, and the many systems needed to bring changes into a body. I also had to learn how a car body is put together. I also did courses in robots, control engineering (how to run robots), panel pressing (how each panel on the car was pressed from sheet metal). During this time I was also building up contacts, so that if I had problems I would know who to talk
      to. Well I went on maternity leave, had charlotte (awwww!), and came back just as the Rover 200 Coupe, Cabriolet and Estate were being finished. I had to liase with the service people to decide which parts of the body would be needed once production had finished, and then I had to find a supplier who could produce these parts for the service people. Then Jewel came along. This was a facelift for the Rover 200 that would become the Rover 25. Basically all the bolt-ons (bonnet, wings, doors, tailgate) would have changes made to them and this meant changing the tools that put them together. I had to liase with: Body Engineering – they redesigned the parts – I had to make sure they designed them so that we could put them together Quality engineering – they made sure that the measurements and cosmetics were correct. I had to make sure Body and Quality didn’t start fighting, design versus quality! Production – they have to use the parts to put the body together – I had to get them to agree to new ideas and changes to process. During all this I had to contract suppliers to make changes to the existing tooling so that the new parts could be welded together. I also had to rewrite the process for 3 cells, consisting of 20-30 areas consisting of 100-150 operations in each area. Lot of writing!!! Then the New Mini came along. A lot of my job was done for me because we employed a contractor to produce the equipment and process for the Body (a turnkey project). But I still had to liase with all the different departments. Ensure that the contractors were doing what they said they would. Making sure that any changes made to parts were incorporated into tooling and process (and there were many). Ensure that costs for changes were correct and that the tooling was changed to coincide with the change made to the parts. Once I said that a hole, which was reduced in size, woul
      dn’t affect the tooling. Only when I had been screamed at in German several times did I realise that I had stopped an entire build phase because the hole was used in almost every area of production. It was even used to carry the bodies from Zone to Zone. Well I made a mistake but I put it right! So being a process engineer is it for you? Qualifications HNC/Degree in Engineering CATIA/CADDS trained Qualities You have to be able to prioritise – I had the front end of the Mini to do and my in tray touched the ceiling at times. You have to be able to put off till tomorrow that what can wait. You have to be able to communicate on all levels – one days you will be talking with shop floor blokes about how the hell are they supposed to reach that handle over there. The next you will be discussing budgets with the MD of a company. You have to have tact. This is not one of my qualities I’m afraid. If something is poo I will say it is, but it can cause trouble at times. It doesn’t help either if you are called to look at a process which the Production Manager says isn’t producing the amounts in the time allowed and you tell him his blokes are just dossing!! You must be able to say NO NO NO NO NO. You will say it all day long. You will say no to stylists who just want to add a little curve here and there, you will say no to Body engineers who ‘just’ want to move this hole right over there. You will say no to production who just want to delete this row of welds because it will save time. You wont be the most popular of people some of the time. You will be the dogs some of the time, but most of all you will get tremendous job satisfaction. When your baby goes into production and you see them being driven in Civvy Street you can say yes, I did that and feel proud. UPDATE oh yes I forgot to mention if you are f
      emale the following qualities are vital: You must be able to look at a naked women objectively and have comments ready for remarks like: 'look at the jugs on that', 'my she has a big ........' You should be able to discuss at length the merits of England football/cricket/rugby teams and will get slaughtered if you do not know what offside/lbw/scrum means You must be able to burp/fart/swear/drink pints as well as any of the lads to be regarded as one of them You must be prepared for splitarse jokes on a daily basis concerning driving, domestic chores, getting 'knocked up' etc. Once you have mastered all these qualities you should fit in just fine!!!

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