Daniel Behan, Electrical design engineer
No two days are the same in the automation industry. Working on bespoke solutions, the team at Sewtec is challenged every day to create unique machinery that meets our clients’ needs.
Being a part of the Sewtec team for the past two years, we caught up with Daniel Behan, one of our highly skilled electrical design engineers, and asked him about his day-to-day working life at the company.
Q: Tell us about your typical working day
Daniel Behan (DB): No working day is ever the same at Sewtec, there is no repetition and you must be up to taking on new tasks every day. A day at Sewtec as an electrical design engineer can consist of a range of tasks, such as being heavily involved in designing the electrical systems for machines, having design reviews, initial design meetings for the start of a project or assisting the electricians with problems that arise during the build stages. All these depend on what stage the project is at.
Q: What made you choose a career in automation?
DB: The future of automation is endless. It’s ever growing into such an advanced industry, and one that’s exciting to be involved in as it keeps you on your toes. It’s growing from month-to-month with businesses heavily investing into automated machinery for production lines.
Automation helps to increase safety, efficiency and the amount of production which, in turn, increases the profitability of a business. I remember coming for my interview here at Sewtec, and after researching what the company was about then coming to see everything in person on the shop floor, I was sold straight away.
Q: What would you say the best thing about working at Sewtec is?
DB: For me, and I guess it might be one of the reasons why most people work in automation, is it brings you right back to your younger days playing with toys like LEGO, K’NEX and other ‘build it yourself’ toys. That sense of achievement you feel once you have gone through all the design reviews, collaborated with the relevant departments to come together to design and manufacture a working machine is brilliant.
To then see that machine working in front of your eyes on the shop floor is a proud moment for any engineer in automation. With Sewtec being a bespoke machine manufacturer, we get that feeling every time we manufacture a machine as each one comes with its own different characteristics.
Q: Name three characteristics you would say are needed to work in automation.
DB: Persistent – with the scale of the industry and the scale of Sewtec as a company, working in automation is extremely fast paced and the goal posts are not just getting moved, but also getting made smaller all the time. You must be up to taking on a few curve balls on a daily basis and understand that you can’t knock everyone out of the park. Sometimes you’re going to get a few strikes, but it’s how you manage these situations and come back stronger.
Passionate – to get the best out of something, and to get that precision that’s needed within automation you have to be very high spirited about your position. To get that very last bit out of yourself comes from enjoying what you do and getting that sense of enjoyment out of something gives you the reason to go that little bit further. This is a key attribute to have working in such an ever-changing industry with great opportunities to strive.
Poised – the amount of pressure that can get asserted when working in automation can creep up on you, but it’s being able to keep yourself composed under those pressures that make you a good engineer. Whether it’s pressure from the customer pressing the project into small timescales, or its pressure that’s been created from slightly unexpected problems at build stages, keeping yourself under control to manage those situations with great professionalism is what makes you stand out and what will help you massively working within automation.
Q: What’s been your proudest moment whilst working at Sewtec?
DB: To be proud of the work you are doing day in day out is a hard thing to achieve. But I feel in automation it’s a massive sense of achievement to have been heavily involved in producing designs for electrical systems on highly valuable machines, to then seeing that machine getting built and working in front of your eyes. That is a very proud moment for any design engineer.
Getting good customer feedback on the machines being successfully installed onsite and running a profitable production that customer also makes me feel proud.
Q: Do you feel inspired by working as part of an award-winning team?
DB: To work within an award-winning team motivates you to strive for more and being part of a team where everyone has the same mentality also helps. You want to be surrounded by team players and self-motivated positive members. It’s also positive to see that Sewtec is getting recognition from such a wide audience, not just in the automation industry.
Q: How have you developed your skills whilst working at Sewtec?
DB: My skills have rocketed since coming to work here at Sewtec. My electrical design abilities have been developed massively not just by the highly experienced people around me, but also by the way we work here at Sewtec and the nature of bespoke automation. With no two machines being the same and with a wide range of controls systems available, it’s meant that my knowledge has been stretched to cater all projects and clients. And with new products coming out on the market to reduce manufacturing time and greater machine efficiency, we are always having to learn characteristics of these new products and how they would benefit the team.
Having slowly been giving more responsibility as my skills have been developing, I have been given the opportunity to design the electrical systems for highly valuable machines for some blue-chip customers. This has allowed me to become more involved with customers, project managers and mechanical designers, all of which contributes to increasing my strengths of working within a wider team.
Q: What aspirations do you have for your career at Sewtec moving forward?
DB: It would mean a lot to me and it would feel like I have accomplished and done myself proud, if I was involved in projects that play a big part in helping the environment. We have taken on a new project recently working with paper cups, which is a step in the right direction. Maximising machine efficiency and working on projects that would have a big impact on daily life is also a big motivator for me.
As for my role as an electrical design engineer, I aspire to become as experienced and proficient as some of the mentors that have helped me during my first year at Sewtec.
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