Engineer Interview – Andrew Bennett, Camfil Farr APC LTD

In this new series of blog posts, we interview engineers from around the world discussing their careers and what changes they think their industry will face over the next 5 years.

This week we speak to Mechanical Engineer, Andrew Bennett. Andrew has been a qualified engineer for over 24 years and the team at PIF have been looking forward to what he has to say about his time in the industry and what we should be expecting over the next 5 years.


Name: Andrew Bennett
Industry Sector: Mechanical Engineer
Company: Camfil Farr APC LTD
Years as Qualified Engineer: 24, with an extra 4 year apprenticeship

When did you first realise you wanted to become an Engineer?
My father was the Works Engineer at a Felt Manufacturer and I had an inclination towards engineering and practical things from an early age. I took engineering and technical drawing at school and left school with 8 “O” levels, winning a schools achievement award for that year. I could have gone on to “A” levels and university, but I favoured a more practical and traditional route.


Did you attend College/ University? If so, where/ what did you study?
After school I attended Engineering training school for 12 months. After that I did a traditional apprenticeship in Mechanical and Production Engineering. I attended college on a day release and evening basis at Rochdale Technical College and Accrington Technical college, leaving college with a Higher National Certificate and extra qualifications in CAD and AUTOCAD. My apprenticeship was completed with EITB 46week broad based training certification, EITB H03 Mechanical Fitting and EITB H25 Mechanical Fitting (the EITB qualifications were later credited to Entra NVQ Level 3 Mechanical Fitting equivalent).


Describe your first job as an Engineer? What were your responsibilities in this role?
My first job was an Engineering Apprentice in a textile machinery manufacturer. In This role I prepared small components for assembly into large Carding Machines.


What sort of role would you recommend to someone who is at the start of their engineering career?
For practical reasons and experience I would always favour traditional apprenticeships, coupled with further education. This is the best of both worlds, practical and theoretical experience.
Personally again I would favour the manufacturing industry.


How have you progressed from your first job role? What were the stepping-stones you made to get to your current role?
I started as a fitter on the shop floor and gradually gained on going promotions to become the Senior Engineering Manager after 14 years with the same company. I feel the factors attributing to this were good initial education, and as you progress product knowledge becomes all important. Dependability and reliability as well as a pleasant manner are stepping stones which will gain a person respect. Respect is something that has to be earned. If you have peoples respect they will work hard for you.


What is your current role? And what are your responsibilities?
My current role is of Senior Project Manager, my roles involve customer liaison, producing detail drawings, arrangement drawing, bills of materials, and all aspects of project handling from order received to order shipped (and beyond).


What has been the most challenging engineering project you have worked on in your career?
I have done many many projects of varying degrees of complexity. Handling a waste system for flu vaccines (the first of its type in the world), food projects, Pharmaceutical projects etc etc. Most projects present their own individual challenges.


What are the most satisfying parts of your current job role?
Seeing the job from start to finish. Being logically and sequentially minded it’s always a satisfying achievement to move from step 1 to step 100 and completion. This is something that eventually encompasses your whole lifestyle and can be adapted whether your painting the garden fence or handling a million pound project.


Would you do anything differently if you had the chance to change one thing in your career?


Do you have any patents? If so, tell me more about them? If not, is it something you are interested in pursuing?


What do you see happening in your industry in the next 5 years?
Combustible dust is something that rears its ugly head when factories have dust explosions. Dust explosions  are thankfully rare, but small initial dust explosions often lead to secondary explosions. These secondary dust explosions are ones that end up destroying complete factories and cause fatalities. Combustible dust legislation is moving forward in the right direction, yet many facilities are still unaware of the potential dangers. Camfil APC ltd are at the forefront of the combustible dust legislation and pride themselves in process qualification and evaluation. Pushing this evaluation deeper into industry is something that Camfil APC Ltd spearhead and will be a driving force in the industry in the next 5 years.


Would you use the Internet to try and get in touch with other industry experts?
Camfil are experts in the field of air pollution control, and combustible dust, and are approachable via the internet. Camfil project team often consult industry experts over the internet to bolster knowledge in other areas.


How do you keep up-to-date with the latest technologies in your sector?
Magazines, Case Studies, Seminar and exhibitions etc


Finally, how do you take your mind off work when you’re at home? Hobbies/ Interests?
I have restored many American Muscle Cars and in 2007 started a race car project. This race car is also American Muscle Car and took 5000 hours to complete (and is fully safety certified to an SFI accreditation). This car is raced at Santa Pod Raceway in Northampton, it is 8130cc, 850hp, is fuelled by methanol, and completes the quarter mile in 8.6 seconds at over 150mph in a class called Super Pro ET. That’s 60 mph in less than 3 seconds, much faster than a Formula One car or Bugatti Veyron!


Have any questions for Andrew regarding his career? Leave them in the comments section below and we'll get in touch with Andrew to ensure that they are all answered. 

For more engineering interviews, click here

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