The next Inside Diamond open day will feature stalls and activities, a short introduction to Diamond and a tour of the machine. We expect the visit will last around two and a half hours. Booking for open days opens 6-8 weeks in advance of the event. Click here for more details.
What’s your professional background and how did you come to work at Diamond?
I graduated in 1990 with a computer aided engineering (CAE) degree from Staffordshire University. This course included two industrial placements – the first in an engineering design office, and the second in a production engineering and manufacturing environment. In my final year, I chose to follow the CAE route and study subjects like computer aided design (CAD), computer aided manufacture (CAM), robotics, and finite element analysis (FEA) packages.
My first job after graduating was working in a design office, which was populated with traditional drawing boards. My role was to introduce CAD and design all new company products in 3D CAD. This was my first insight in CAD administration.
Prior to joining Diamond I worked for 6 years in the commercial vehicle industry, where CAD, CAM, and FEA are used extensively. Whilst I no longer had a hands-on approach in application use, I was responsible for the administration and support for these packages. The role was to support and develop an already established CAD system.
I joined Diamond in May 2003 as CAD/CAE Systems Manager having previously held the same position at CCLRC at Daresbury. Whilst I’ve worked in different industries, from electro mechanical to ceramics, automotive, and today in Diamond, the products may have changed but the requirements for managing CAD information and design data remain fundamentality the same.
What do you do here and how does your experience help?
For over 10 years, my role has been CAD Systems Manager for the Engineering Design Group. As a department, we provide electrical and mechanical design resources to Diamond. My role was to introduce a full CAD system to support the design and engineering aspects of Diamond. The system today is ‘mature’, which makes the role different from earlier years.
Today is less about growth and more about developing the current systems, user training based around software updates and design techniques, and planning of future upgrades. In addition to system upgrades, there are the day to day operational matters which need resolving. My previous design and administration roles have allowed me to continue to develop and support the Diamond CAD system.
What’s your favourite thing about working at Diamond?
At Diamond you never know what you’re going to be faced with when you arrive each morning. I may have planned my workload the day before and have a rough idea of what I want to achieve by the end of the week, but don’t know what each day will bring. Couple this with the cutting-edge science produced at Diamond, and it makes for an exciting and varied place to work with great colleagues from all around the world.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to get involved in your field?
Be prepared to get your hands dirty - it’s not all done from behind a desk. You need to be able to accept the challenges and learn from your mistakes. I'd also advise aiming to get certification from the relevant bodies. Most importantly, do what you enjoy, and you'll enjoy what you do!
Diamond Light Source is the UK's national synchrotron science facility, located at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire.
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