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In 1974 I worked in a privately own business that generated tooling for local companies with contracts for the parts generated with the tools manufactured. I worked on all Tool Room machine tools and produced stamping dies, die cast molds, fixtures, special machines for product fabrication and assembly. This job allowed me to work while going to School at South Hennipin College located in Eden Prairie.
After finishing school I opened a business with my father (also a toolmaker, Dunwoody graduate 1950). I was involved in all aspects of the business. Some of the skills I used that I brought to the business included: Sales, Design/drafting documents for communication with customers and manufacture of piece parts, tools and machining of parts. The company was sold after operations .
I took on new work at Computype Inc. as a Manfacturing Engineer in 1988. Initially I was in charge of manufacturing and modification of a label applicator for small labels. I supported the companies that purchased the machines and as needed traveled to the installation site for support. My work gradually moved to supporting bar code labeling production machines. Many of the machines used in production were designed for different materials and applications that meant Computype needed to add features or otherwise modify the machines to work more reliable and more accurate. An example would be the die cutting operations. The material cut consisted of different layers of materials that were adhered together in the end users product. These varied on the customers product. Some were to be stored in liquid nitrogen, others room temperature etc. Barcode labels can range is size some had very small bar code labels that meant that the cut made on the 12" x 12" maximum page size had to locate to the cutting tool very accurately or the image may be cut away. Given that the barcodes were sequentially numbered a failure on the die cut would make a single page or more of product that would require costly manual replacement in a roll of labels made from photographic film. Computype also developed label application technologies and for a time I worked in that area. Some of the machines I was involved with included print and apply machines, print-dispend-pick-place machines for circuit board manufacturing, 2 axis placement machines, small machines for special applications, and machines that handled materials and labeled them such as test tubes. These were fed to the machine in bulk, positioned to a printer where the label was applied, and the product was verified and kept in sequence for the customers packaging.
After working at Computype Inc. I had a number of jobs in the field of computer design. Some were product development design but by far the rest were fixture, tooling design and special machine design. I used many different design products and revisions including Solidworks, AutoCAD, and many other that were dying off. At one employer I used at least 5 different design products and revisions in a day.
Over 20 years there everything changed. Photographic film disappeared from the market, new materials an machine designs changed everything and each required review of data collected from all the processes and materials so that new changes made to operator work instructions, machine capability and materials were continuously changed base on failures and customer demands.
- Date: August 30 2018
- Location: Minneapolis, MN