A day in the life... with Joe Hodder, Senior Mechanical Design Engineer

August 4th 2023

“The satisfaction of coming up with an idea, designing something and then actually seeing it put together physically, is worth the hard work!” says Joe Hodder, Senior Mechanical Designer Engineer.

Joe’s career with Selwood started 12 years ago, straight out of university, as a Design Draughtsman. Through training and on the job experience, Joe progressed to a Design Engineer role before reaching the senior position he is in today.

“As a senior member of staff, I support and guide the design team. We have a great team, so this is sometimes as simple as bouncing ideas around. Some of our team are quite new to Selwood, so there is a lot of support relating to designs they haven’t worked on before.”

Joe is very hands on in his role and takes on the task of designing new builds for Pump Rental and external customers, as well as updating existing builds, based on regulatory and customer requirements.

“Due to recent changes in engine regulations, we had to update the design of some of our existing pump builds. We’re also always looking to make improvements and develop our product range, so work with our production team to update certain features.”

From a 3D model to manufacturing

Joe and the team use a 3D CAD software to give them a visual representation of what the product looks like. This can then be used to create detailed drawings of each part of the pump, for the production team to assemble.

Sometimes, issues are found with a build and Joe will have to go back to the drawing board.

“Once a pump prototype has been built and tested, we'll work with the development technician to analyse anything that hasn't worked as intended, or that could be improved. One example is someone working on or servicing a pump might need to be able to fit their hand into quite a small space – sometimes the access isn't quite as good as it looks on the screen.

“Last week, I worked with production to optimise a build sequence (the order something is put together). We agreed on a relatively simple design change that would make the part easier to fit and removed the possibility of the part being fitted in the wrong orientation.

“We break down our designs into manageable sub-assemblies as well. So rather than just showing a complete build with 100's of part in it, we group related parts to make the GA's (general assembly drawings) clearer. The idea is you want to be able to give anyone those instructions and they can put it together!”

Joe not only works to make life easier for the production team to assemble the pumps, but also manufacturing.

“We need to work closely with our suppliers, to ensure parts have been designed for manufacture. We also need to highlight critical features for our Quality team to inspect. In doing so, the team has confidence that the parts can be easily assembled when they arrive on the shop floor.”

Project management

As a Senior Mechanical Design Engineer, Joe takes on the responsibility of project management.

“The project I managed recently was to update a range of Super Silent pumps, which was driven by needing to meet the latest emissions regulations - we couldn’t sell these in the UK/EU anymore in their state at that time. In simple terms, we had to change the engine so needed to adjust the design to fit this, but this also gave us an opportunity to introduce further improvements at the same time. The length of time a project takes to complete does vary, depending on the complexity of the design.

“There’s often not enough time in the day to get things done. In this role, time management is a challenge as I could have a deadline for months away, so it’s about planning your time well in between so you stay on track.”

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