David Draper

Senior Manufacturing Engineer

"3M focuses on graduate development by investing in training and support across a range of business functions, offering me flexibility within my future career."

Degree studied and university: Computer Aided Product Design at Nottingham Trent University

Current Role at 3M: Senior Manufacturing Technology Engineer at 3M Aycliffe, Co. Durham

What attracted you to join 3M?

3M is a large multinational company with a reputation for producing innovative products and solutions. I had previously worked for 3M before, as an industrial placement student, working as a product development engineer in the 3M Aycliffe Lab. This was a great experience and provided new skills and ideas for my final year at university. I knew that 3M focuses on graduate development by investing in training and support across a range of business functions, offering me flexibility within my future career.

What have you done since joining 3M?

Since returning to 3M in 2010, I have completed the ‘O2’ Optimised Operations Engineer Graduate programme. This involved two placements:

3M Bangor manufactures a range of masking tapes, primarily for industrial applications. Since starting the graduate scheme with 3M, I have been working on numerous projects which have been focused on process optimisation; by reducing waste, detecting faults and improving product quality. Alongside project work, I also undertake day-to-day responsibilities including monitoring process settings and reviewing video footage to detect production errors.

3M Northallerton manufactures a range of protective coatings for industrial, energy and military applications. I was able to work on manufacturing scale-up projects for numerous key projects, as well as undertaking productivity improvement projects on other product lines.

A comprehensive training programme is included in the graduate scheme, which focuses on developing the skills needed to work effectively in this type of business; including practical manufacturing training, leadership skills and business techniques.

Upon completion of the O2 Programme, I moved to a permanent position at 3M Aycliffe, as a Manufacturing Technology Engineer. 3M Aycliffe manufactures, primarily, Disposable and Reusable Respirators for a range of industries. I have worked, with increasing responsibility, in the reusable respirator value stream. Throughout the last 4 years at Aycliffe I have led the introduction of manufacturing automation, material changes, cost reduction programs, efficiency/productivity improvement activities and supported product improvement activities.

3M has supported my development throughout this time, getting to me to a place where I am now able to support ‘new starters’ to 3M.

What do you enjoy most and least about your job at 3M?

Best - The opportunity to work at different sites and with people in different job functions. This gives a good insight into the overall running of 3M as well as creating a network of contacts who may be of help throughout my career. Working with external machine and material suppliers helps you see what is happening in the wider industry.

Worst – Due to the nature of the products that we produce, there is plenty of paperwork to ensure documentation of regulatory compliance!