Machine shop teaching assistants keep the machine shop running smoothly. They keep an eye on students to help them work safely and productively. They do chores, keep the place clean, put tools in their place, and they become technical experts in workshop processes. They help students learn to operate our machinery. If you like making things and you like helping others, you might be a teaching assistant. Teaching assistants have to deal with the clients who arrive unannounced at random times and want immediate service.
The machine shop is like any other shop floor, and thus it needs to be organized so that it is easy to use. Also, it is easier in the context of an industrial shop floor to get things organized because it has regular users, usually the employees, coming in. The scenario at the machine shop in this respect is really different. The shop floor sees a lot of users from varied backgrounds, most of which are not regular, so maintaining and organizing the machine shop is a mammoth task. Hence, arises the need for a special dedicated team toward sorting, organizing, and sustaining the organized work culture at the machine shop. The 5S Team works on the 5 Japanese principles of organization, which have been successfully implemented at various shop floors around the world. The 5 pillars of organization that we aim at are:
- Sort (Seiri)
Sort means that you remove all items from the workplace that are not needed for current production (or clerical) operations. This essentially involves segregating items of immediate use from items that are not needed.
- Set in Order (Seiton)
Setting in order whatever has been “Sorted.” Labeling and marking down required items of usage. Creating designated areas for frequently used tools and arranging them so that they are easy to find.
- Shine (Seiso)
Cleaning up after the work is over. Putting tools and used materials back in their designated places, the way they were “Set in order.” Cleaning and sweeping the workplaces, so as to avoid any hazardous materials spills and other accidents at the workplace.
- Standardize (Seiketsu)
Standardize whatever has been achieved so far using the first three pillars. Making it a part of the daily routine and setting aside time to sort, set in order, and shine repeatedly.
- Sustain (Shitsuke)
Sustaining the clean and organized work environment over a long period of time to enhance productivity.
Social media, as the name suggests, reaches out to the social masses through the platform of media. Informing, educating, notifying, and updating are the main tasks associated with the social media group. The different platforms associated with the team are the primary website, the Wiki, Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr. As a team, we go and visit the engineering classes that are directly involved with the machine shop and get updates about their contribution. Sorting the pictures taken during the events and uploading them to the various platforms, along with descriptions, is done periodically. Also, information and schedules for various events that occur is provided and updated regularly through Google calendar. There are different student teams like Dartmouth Formula Racing (DFR), Dartmouth Humanitarian Engineering (DHE), Gyrobike, etc. The Social Media Team is responsible for tracking the direct involvement of the machine shop for these student groups. Also, since all the information, pictures, and videos are available directly for the students, faculty, and other staff, it creates a great interest among everyone to know what exactly happens at the machine shop. Social media can thus be used to bridge the gap and make everyone more aware of the machine shop as an entity.
The team provides a centralized repository with a front end to keep track of students, tools, and invoices. The student module’s functionality provides a front end to retrieve and add details of students in the machine shop including TAs. The tool crib module provides information on all the tools in the machine shop. Information such as the location of the tools, their descriptions, images, etc., is maintained in this module, and it also has the facility to add new tools with corresponding information. The invoice module involves creating an invoice of purchases done at the machine shop. This application will help the machine shop to better access and maintain all of its assets. These assets are the users (students), employees (TAs, instructors) and machinery (tools). This will greatly improve productivity and efficiency in the machine shop. This application can also facilitate better management of resources.
Greeters occupy the service desk area of the machine shop in order to intercept visitors and route them to the worker who can best meet the client’s needs. Their job is to get help for visitors while defending the other shop staff from interruptions. The Greeters remind everyone to follow the rules. They let people into places they need to access, and keep people out of places they don’t belong. They keep everyone productive.
Greeters are also responsible for record keeping. Records are kept for attendance of student staff, for recording shop users and their activities, and records required for conformance to the machine shop’s safety policies. Greeters familiarize themselves with the safety requirements dictated by Dartmouth’s Environmental Health and Safety office and monitor the machine shop facility for conformance.
The Safety Officer in the machine shop is responsible for checking for compliance of the safety rules and regulations within the machine shop. Thayer Machine Shop hosts hundreds of students over a month. There are a lot of security considerations that need to be kept in mind as Thayer School focusses a lot on student safety. The Safety Officer checks for safety compliance periodically and helps in maintaining the standards that make the machine shop a safe place to work for students and employees.