- Jan 14, 2005
- Mechanical Designer/Project Manager
How did Frank Bruno, Linford Christie and Daley Thompson secure [€150] US $180 million investment, 800 jobs in Welwyn Garden City [WGC] Hertfordshire England?
A few years back I heard Frank Bruno [won the WBC heavyweight championship of the world from Oliver McCall in 1995] say on tv that he had become a boxer, professional fighter because he didn’t know how to do anything else, which prompted me to contact a friend of mine, Neville Williams who is a friend of Frank’s, to arrange for me to meet Frank [that didn't happen] so that I could tell him what a positive impact he has made to many people’s lives, especially mine.
Easily my most successful and high-profile Mechanical Designer contract was as part of the 5 man Design Integration Team led by Ivor Thomas [my best boss to date] on mid-volume Photocopiers at Rank Xerox’s WGC Research and Development [R & D] facility between 1985-7.
However, it became obvious once I started there that but for the manner in which Frank Bruno, Linford Christie, and Daley Thompson had made being a fit-looking 6 foot 4 black man, a friendly jovial character, as opposed to the super-macho menial mugger, obvious criminal threat to life and limb stereotype; I would NEVER have got that contract despite my engineering qualifications and experience, as most of the people on site did not know, had never even spoken to anyone black, previously or since.
I had just finished my first Mechanical Designer contract at Stone Vickers who specialised in Marine Drives, that incorporated computer controlled variable pitch/reversible thrust propeller systems, which included design/detail checking General Arrangements of Marine Thrusters (auxiliary drive systems used to manoeuvre or stop large ships, independent of Tugs, etc.) that are multi-directional and retractable (azimuthing) into the ship’s hull, which are now standard, as opposed to back then, experience that had greatly enhanced my drawing speed re mechanical design and detailing, producing drawing for manufacture.
At Rank Xerox in Welwyn Garden City [WGC], I worked in a five-man Design Integration [DI] team [Arthur Fox, Derek Page, Barry Sullivan] co-ordinating the design and detailing output of 15 Design Engineering groups of the Hannibal B0 & B1 R & D program, that produced the Xerox 50/46 copier. However, with no experience of photocopiers, smaller-scale assemblies with plastic mouldings was a challenge that I enjoyed [assisted by the prototype modeling shop’s guidance and supportively rapid production of my designs], was eventually very very successful in.
Post resolving the fuser handle foul that was preventing the paper system door from closing and having done the tolerance study that highlighted that the paper system to drives plate latch was subject to a + or - 30mm tolerance build-up relative to the machine datum, which is probably why it was totally ineffective; I was given the short straw job of coming up with a design that resolved this issue [everyone but me, knew that I was in BIG TROUBLE], in that weren’t my more experienced workmates going to have to eventually bail me out?
In fact, I subsequently designed and detailed a latching arrangement, (which was patented by disclosure and publishing in Rank Xerox’s [U.S. CI. 355/3R, Int. CI. G03g 15/00] 1988 journal, thus no one else can patent that design) utilising a cam on the drives plate.
The cam and latch were used to upgrade Derek Page’s safety interlock [fire risk prevention by assuring that paper drops out of the Fuser when the Paper system is removed] of the Fuser assembly to position and accurately locate the Paper system of the Xerox 50/46 copier which subsequently had an 8-year production run.