For lead machinist Greg Coppus, working at Arnold Machine Inc. has become a way of life.
"When I started, I was on a band saw and cut parts," Coppus, 29, said. "It was one of my first jobs."
Starting work at Arnold Machine in his junior year of high school at Hopewell-Loudon in 2000, he has adapted over the years to meet the demands within a machine shop.
PHOTO BY AARON POST
Machinist Greg Coppus works on a CNC machine at Arnold Machine.
Coppus studied machining at Sentinel while in high school.
"Although Sentinel taught me how to use a micrometer and calipers, the most challenging part is keeping up with technology and learning new machines," he said.
Coppus works on a computer numeric control machine, a milling machine he uses to cut and shear metals most the day. This is mostly done with lasers.
"I usually average five to 10 (parts) a day," he said.
Over the last 12 years, Coppus said parts have become more intricate and precise.
He works with four other machinists and is part of a 30-member staff.
"We (the machinists) are one of the first steps," he said. "We kind of get involved in the machines."
Coppus makes the parts a couple months before they show up on a programmable logic controller.
"I like seeing the parts running on the PLC," he said.
PLC technician Eric Lawson has worked at Arnold Machine since 2001.
"Most of my parts come from the machinists," Lawson said.
Lawson's job is to assemble these parts onto a PLC in a process that will build a machine capable of producing parts.
The team is currently working on building machines for Jacobson Manufacturing located near the Seneca County Airport, Whirlpool in Clyde and Bridgestone in Upper Sandusky.
"Machines can take several months from conception to completion," Manager Nick Silardi said.
The workflow at Arnold Machine typically begins with the engineer, goes to the machinist and then to the PLC technicians.
Lawson said everyone in the shop ties together.
"Without the machinists, I would not have the pieces," Lawson said. "I would not get the grippers from Greg for my PLC."
Lawson gave a more detailed view of the shop's workflow.
"We work on smaller and bigger machines, with three or four (PLCs) going at one time," Lawson said. "Parts can take two to three weeks in machining before I get them, and then go back to engineering for two to three weeks. By the time I get to it, I have two to three weeks to assemble the wiring."
"When we first started in '94 the shop only built machines for the automotive industry," Silardi said. "But we expanded before the recession hit."
Expansion included servicing the appliance and heavy equipment industries.
"Things have changed over the years with upgrades," Lawson said. "There are more functions and more devices to work with. It's learn-as-you-go."