A 25-year journey in manufacturing excellence: Doug Carvelli
July 27, 2011
A key success factor in providing Meyer Tool & Mfg., Inc. customers with the Lowest Total Cost of Ownership is our experienced staff. This is the first in a series of occasional articles profiling an integral Meyer Tool employee. There is no better example to start off with than our Shop Supervisor, Doug Carvelli.
Name: Doug Carvelli
Job Title: Shop Supervisor
Years with Meyer Tool: 25 years
What I Bring to the Table: “Ideas, organization, and a high level of energy"
Twenty-five years ago, on his first day at Meyer Tool, 16-year-old Doug Carvelli was handed a broom. Now, at the start of every workday, Doug “hands out” work assignments to members of Meyer Tool’s manufacturing team as our shop supervisor.
Doug began working at Meyer Tool in 1986 as part of a work-study program through his high school. Early on, his supervisors saw he had the “right stuff”: a positive attitude, honesty and a strong work ethic, the same traits that continue to define Doug’s work today.
At 16, Doug started work at Meyer as a trainee, learning about safety and some basic shop skills. He quickly showed an affinity for assembly and testing and his on-the-job training began to move in that direction. Doug was depended upon for tasks such as polishing, deburring, tapping and cleaning. Doug’s detail oriented and mechanically inclined nature contributed to his success in this area and management quickly grabbed the opportunity to expose him to increasingly more complicated processes. Over time, Doug’s position grew to that of Senior Technician and eventually the assembly shop foreman, when that position became available. He became our in-house expert in leak detection; capable of performing dye penetrant, vacuum, pressure and hydrostatic testing of components ranging from the relatively simple to the increasingly complex. We continue to depend on his expertise, training and leading less experienced technicians. More often, though, Doug spends time transferring his knowledge to others so they too can achieve his level of success. President Eileen Cunningham states that “Doug leads by example and his dedication through the years to quality and teambuilding is the backbone of the Meyer Tool reputation for being able to build the impossible, as well as our goal of continually striving to achieve zero returns.”
Throughout these past 25 years, Doug has continued to learn. He continually strives to improve his knowledge and contribution to Meyer Tool’s commitment to “Reduce Project Risk.” Beyond the institutional knowledge he has cultivated through personal experience, Doug has supplemented his on-the-job training with machining and technical classes and various psychology classes, gained extensive knowledge in helium leak testing, and participated in classes and seminars focussed on leadership and management techniques. To further his personal development for the good of the company, Doug has committed to external training while maintaining a full-time work schedule and raising a young family. These years of both internal and external experience have given Doug a combined analytic and intuitive understanding of the processes that Meyer Tool’s manufacturing team utilizes to make us the specialists in Cryogenics, Vacuum and Pressure Technology that customers have come to depend on. Supervising the team responsible for Meyer Tool’s manufacturing, from the receipt of the raw material to the packaging of the finished product, may be a daunting task; however, Doug’s 25 years with Meyer Tool enables him to get it done.
As the shop supervisor, Doug regularly works with the engineering staff, in addition to his overseeing the production of the Meyer Tool manufacturing team. His interactions with engineering allow him to knowledgeably and thoroughly detail shop work instructions and schedules so that our integrated shop team of welders, machinists, and technicians have the information required to meet even the most intricate or innovative projects that Meyer Tool is asked to build. Doug says that he works on “all the normal stuff,” e.g. simple vacuum vessels, OEM projects in cryogenics, industrial gasses or vacuum process vessels, as well as the more demanding projects. He finds that his collaboration with Meyer Tool’s engineers on these challenging projects help him gain an understanding of the “bigger picture,” making his work in the manufacturing shop more “well rounded.”
During his journey from a trainee to expert in precision fabrication, Doug has contributed his know-how to building components for scientific projects ranging from the National Ignition Facility, where 192 laser beams are attempting to ignite a fusion reaction, to the South Pole Telescope, which explores the mystery of Cosmic Background Radiation, to industrial/commercial projects ranging from the cryogenic extremes of helium liquefaction to the ultra-high vacuum requirements for aluminum process vessels for manufacturing “Jumbotron” type LED screens.
Doug discussing engineering plans for the eight feedboxes Meyer Tool built for CERN’s Large Hadron Collider.
His 25 years has enabled him to work on some pretty exciting and “high profile” projects, which include the eight feedboxes that Meyer Tool constructed for CERN’s Large Hadron Collider. This project required intensive labor and acute attention to detail, demanding that the testing, assembly, and inspection were all closely supervised to ensure the success of the project. Doug’s interactions with the engineering staff on this project, not only created a stronger foundation for the production of the Distribution Box project, but also a deeper understanding of the needs that would be placed upon Meyer Tool’s manufacturing team while creating the eight feedboxes. Doug noted that this project was the most “high profile” project he has worked on in his almost 30 years with Meyer Tool and said that it is undoubtedly the project he will “remember the longest.”
Another project that left a lasting impression was the more than 200 deformable mirror housings Meyer Tool built for the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). Doug described this project as a “difficult, dimensionally strict job.” Each housing consisted of a precision machined rectangular vacuum weldment made of 6061-T6 aluminum. The housings varied in size ranging from 24"-29" wide x 53"-70" long x 15"-19" tall and wall thickness from 3/8" to 1-1/2." All weldments were CMM inspected, vacuum leak tested and cleaned per NIF cleaning specifications. It was imperative that the project strictly conform to stringent specifications and drawing requirements. The challenging dimensional requirements led to an intense effort to define manufacturing processes in the first few units so the production schedules could be met. Pre-production planning required the typical close coordination between the Meyer Tool engineering and manufacturing teams. Together, they developed the proper tooling and robust, repeatable processes in welding, machining, inspection, testing, cleaning and assembly. Doug led the coordination of that effort in the shop
One of the over 200 finished NIF deformable mirror housings made by Meyer Tool, a project Doug recalls to have been "challenging, but ultimately very rewarding."
To Doug, part of the fun at Meyer Tool is the opportunity to meet the unique challenges that many of our projects present. For example, on the NIF deformable mirror housings, the NIF specifications for cleaning the aluminum laser components necessitated that Meyer Tool improve and expand its cleaning capabilities. “We ended up constructing a clean room specifically for this project. When all was said and done, it took 12 hours to clean just one of the deformable mirror housings, while, comparatively, it only took 3 hours per unit for all other aspects of the housings’ finishing touches,” Doug recalls. He believes that his dedication to developing high quality, effective solutions allows him to meet the various challenges each project presents and help Meyer Tool provide the lowest total cost of ownership to our customers. A project like NIF’s deformable mirror housings highlights not only Doug’s individual efforts and capabilities, but also the Meyer Tool team’s success in handling large multi-component projects. Doug recalls, “as with many of our projects, customer expectations were very high. I was extremely proud to be part of a team that exceeded these expectations.”
Doug discussed how “this project proved to be challenging, but ultimately very rewarding." Doug realizes he is just one of the Meyer Tool employees who enthusiastically rise to exceed expectations. Meyer Tool is often faced with projects that demand skill, attention, and dedication. Typically, a first planning step at Meyer Tool would be project engineers identifying specifications that are essential for the project’s success. Coordinating efforts between the weld, machine, and assembly/test departments to meet these specifications is one of Doug’s most fulfilling tasks. Doug has never believed in meeting the bar, he looks to surpass it, stating that being “sub par [or] on par are simply not for him.”
Doug says projects such as the eight feedboxes for CERN and the deformable mirror housings for NIF, are one of the reasons he has dedicated over 25 years of his career to Meyer Tool. He claims that working for Meyer Tool actually “makes you [a] smarter person”! It’s “never mundane work”; what Meyer Tool builds is “always new and different.” Doug states that “these projects are fascinating, and I really like being part of the cutting-edge science community.”
Doug is proud to be a contributing factor to Meyer Tool’s growth and success over the years, noting that his “motivation stems from his desire to help move the company forward.” He feels that Meyer Tool is a reflection of its employees. At Meyer Tool, company success and personal success mirror one another. Doug prescribes a high-energy attitude, dedication to quality, and synergy as the best method for the company, all its employees and its customers, to achieve our mission of reduced project risk!