NAW2021 – Alcon Apprentices

Entering the first lockdown, we realised our apprentices and young team members were at risk of being particularly affected in these difficult times. We wanted to support them and ensure they would still be able to develop within our team.

On 20th July, we called our trainees and apprentices together (in a COVID-secure way) and asked them to form a team to solve a problem – “How to create an assisted lift for iron brake calipers”.

Our new CIL46 and CIL55 iron calipers can start to feel heavy to repeatedly lift off the line in production volume. The team was given a brief and asked to design / introduce a manual assist lift for the Special Vehicles assembly line. With this project, we were hoping to give our apprentices an opportunity to gain new skills, as well as learning from people who have decades of experience across the business.

The team consisted of:

  • George Bird – Production Engineering Apprentice – Machining/Assembly
  • Tom Clements – Ex – Engineering Apprentice – Machining/Assembly
  • Niall Rabin – Ex – Engineering Apprentice – Project Leader
  • Vicky Stanislavska – Design Engineering Apprentice – Design
  • Daniel Sutton – Assembly Apprentice – Assembly/Documentation

Adrian Fitzpatrick, General Manager at Alcon commented: “The project was devised to enable our apprentices to work together with leaders from the Alcon business, giving the team knowledge and guidance on Project Management, Design, Engineering calculations, Purchasing, Machining, CNC Programming, and most importantly Team work.”

The apprentices successfully met the desired project specifications, creating a safe and functional crane. This new ergonomic and easy-to-use system is rated to lift 40 kilos and is equipped with custom caliper fixtures.

The project demonstrated how our investment in our apprentices has allowed them to work together to introduce something of value to the business“, adds Adrian Fitzpatrick. “They have learned many new skills along the way and are keen to start a new project. The team worked really well together and we are proud of their achievements and in the knowledge that they have gained and then most crucially used to deliver the project”.