Why I Love My Job
Julia Reynolds 07.01.2015
Wow, I really love my job. I know that sounds strange to many people, but I really do. In 2006 I decided to change my career from Veterinary Technician to Computer Electronics Engineer Technician. I know that’s a mouthful, so let’s just say CEET for short. When I got started, I had no idea exactly what that meant, but I knew I liked to take things apart, find out how they worked, improve them, and put them back together again. Most of the time it worked. In 2008 I was getting close to graduating but I was still unemployed. My career counselor at school told me about this job at Okuma America and suggested that I apply. I did, and to my amazement, I got the job! When I did my walk-through for my interview, I saw the department I’d be working in, and it looked just like lab class at school. By the way, lab was the best part of school for me.
Here in Board Repair, we have some very dirty, grimy units that come in, and sometimes they smell like things I used to clean up when I worked as a Vet Tech (I worked with large and small animals). We’re talking parvo dogs, cats with coccidia and cows with…well let’s get off that subject. We clean and restore the units. Then we go through and repair each unit, and perform upgrades and modifications, as an added bonus with your service. Like everyone else, we’re challenged with parts becoming obsolete and aging boards, but these happen to be the ones that need repairs most often. This is where we offer an advantage when you send your units to us – we have the ability to contact the source (in Japan) and acquire the original specs. I know there are third-party companies out there, but there are definitely advantages to working with the OEM supplier, and we have a lot of talented people who do really great work here.
My Two Favorite Things to Work On
#1 is what I call the dinosaurs, the SDU units. These guys are challenging because they’re built on the base technologies of all Okuma spindle drive units but you can no longer find the parts. Fortunately we have some new parts from when they were still in production years ago. Some of the schematics are so old that they practically turn to dust when you touch them. (Not really.) It also helps that I have people working around me with 15 years’ experience repairing Okuma spindle drive units. There are also people in other departments who’ve been working with these units even longer. All of this has helped me develop the base knowledge of how all the rest of the spindle drive units work, and the best way to repair them. I still have a lot to learn though.
#2 is the new MCS3 units. These are new generation spindle and axis drives together. Some even include the power supply in the unit. There are so many combinations of these units that we have to simplify what we keep in stock. We upgrade each unit to the highest amp value for each unit. We call them service units. The service units will take care of every size that particular unit could be used for. I get to be on the front line of development with these units.
Other Loves of Mine
Now I still enjoy working on the spindle drives that fall in between. Units such as the VAC3 D-11, VAC3 D22, and my favorite VAC unit the VAC3 D6. That little D6 will make the biggest and best explosion if you don’t find certain issues before you put power to it. These units have specific upgrades that are applied when they’re submitted for repair. The 1006-1107 board on the D11 and D22 has common failures that have been identified through the years as well as upgrade reports or P-reports sent to us from Okuma Japan. I’ve even found some myself.
Wow I almost forgot the VAC5 units. They are the newest VAC units we see in Board Repair, and we’re not getting many coming through yet. I like to grab them when I’m able to so I can learn all the new ways these units are put together. And how about the BL2D units and the new BL4D units…I could go on and on about what I love about my job. But perhaps that will be another blog, for now I need to get back to units that need repairs. There’s a shop somewhere that needs me, and I’m more than happy to help!
Julia Reynolds is Board Repair Technician, Okuma America Corporation.