At Navus, our clients often come to us with challenges in manufacturing that require specific, unique solutions. It’s our job to conceptualize solutions that use the right parts, solve their specific challenges, and do so in the budget and lead time our clients require.
Have you ever wondered what the first step is in the process of working with us at Navus? It’s talking to our Senior Development Engineer!
Meet Bill: Senior Development Engineer
Bill S. has been a part of the Navus team for the past 5 years. He’s ultimately responsible for solving our clients’ manufacturing issues, but there’s a lot of fine details to this kind of role.
Developing Concepts That Transform What’s Possible with Unique Manufacturing Solutions
Navus: Describe what you do in your role at Navus.
Bill: I have a lot of experience having been a Mechanical Designer previously in my career, and in the automation industry as a whole for over 20 years. I use my experience to visit customer sites, and I create a concept for them that solves their unique manufacturing challenges. After that I write a proposal and an estimate, and send that to our potential client and work with them on price and lead time negotiations. Ultimately, I get them the solution that our clients need, in the budget they need, in the time they need it done.
Navus: How did you end up in this career, and ultimately at Navus?
Bill: I started my career in a machine/fab shop as an order packager. I learned how to run a couple of pieces of equipment like a CNC press break, big blast shed, saws… You know, just basic tools around the shop. Then I learned how to weld.
I went to school at night for welding, machining, and the manufacturing process. I then learned how to write CNC code, then used AutoCAD to help me write CNC code for the laser cutters we used in the shop at the time. From there I went to detail drafting since I had learned AutoCAD and some light design. I moved into more design work through the years with this experience.
I moved around a couple of different places throughout my career, mainly serving as a Mechanical Designer along with some applications engineering when it came to conveyor and material handling systems. When I decided to move into machine design, I took a position as a Mechanical Engineer for a custom automation company. Along the way I did some parts and service management and project management. Ultimately, I moved to TN and became the Mechanical Engineering Manager at Navus after working for a small startup automation company.
Once I started at Navus, most of my time was spent developing concepts, and writing estimates and proposals for projects. It just made sense for me to fill that position full-time. I’ve been in my current role for the past three years!
Navus: What’s your favorite part about your job at Navus? and working at Navus?
Bill: I love all of the different things I get to see from day to day. All of our work involves problem solving and collaboration. I have amazing folks to collaborate with on the Navus team, which means I never have to work alone on an island.
Navus: What’s your favorite part about working with the team at Navus?
The folks here. They’re top notch. I love the ability to collaborate and work with them. I can always count on fresh ideas and problem solving from our team. 90% of our jobs are being good detectives. We’re trying to find the right parts for the right solutions. Our team is so intelligent. They can see things that I can’t, even with my 20+ years of experience.
Some of our best solutions have come from the most unexpected places on our team. We all collaborate. Sometimes I overhear problems the mechanical engineering team is facing that I can help with, but then the team helps me out when I run into challenges too!
Our team does an excellent job of developing succinct and simple solutions that look elegant. If you have the opportunity to make something that looks really good, but also functions very well, you have to take that opportunity. If you had an end tool that could just be welded to a plate with some grippers on it, why not take the opportunity to make it look amazing and include some unique design elements?
I’m proud that we always deliver solutions like that to our clients. This sets Navus apart from our competitors. We conceive solutions that stay simple and functional, but it looks like a finished product from the beginning of the process to the delivered solution.
Teamwork and a Team That Works
Navus: Describe some of the ways you’ve seen the team at Navus work together to overcome challenges.
Bill: We had a customer we were building a whole bunch of equipment for, and one challenge was this material handling system — a conveyor. We had to make some really odd moves to get rejected parts out of the system (e.g. if the system was overflowing). The mechanical engineering department came up with a solution for it, and we analyzed their solution together and came up with an even simpler solution through the analysis process.
Instead of making all of these twists and turns, we cut back one of the conveyors we had originally by 10 inches and gave ourselves room to do a simple reject chute with a conveyor to move these parts to a more accessible ergonomic area without all of the twists and turns we had previously in our solution. It was simple, and it works.
Navus: What have been your favorite projects to work on?
Bill: My favorite project personally is a high-speed assembly machine we built for the manufacturing of small parts. I love high-speed assembly projects. They are super fast, and the machines have to be so well built.
This machine, in particular, has a 4-axis delta robot hung way up high, and then another 6-axis robot right next to it to handle the parts. Once the machine’s up and running, it doesn’t shake or vibrate. Everything’s moving really fast and flawlessly. It looks fantastic, and it’s everything you want a machine to be. It created 98% uptime in the last 3 years for our client. It’s a crazy efficient machine, and faster than what the end user required of Navus’ solution.
Navus: What do you hope for your future at Navus?
Bill: Not only do I want us to expand on our welding, additive manufacturing, and subtractive manufacturing capabilities. I also want to expand our material handling, and high speed assembly elements. With these expansions, we can be a more complete solution for many of the manufacturers in East Tennessee and beyond.
Forging the Future & Clarifying the Complex in Custom Automation & Fabrication with Unique Manufacturing Solutions
Our team at Navus is invested in every solution we provide to clients. With our intelligent team and all of the years of experience they have, we develop simple solutions that fit your unique needs, and look sleek and elegant at the same time. Dedicated team members like Bill are a part of the reason our company succeeds in helping our clients overcome complex challenges, and forge new possibilities for their manufacturing needs!
Are you interested in joining the Navus family? Reach out to us today. We’re always looking for talented individuals to join our team of engineers and technicians. Learn more by emailing us at [email protected].