Job Series #18 Miller at Estève
If there is a job that does not suffer from a drop in demand, it is certainly millers. Julien Reina can definitely testify. At 28, he had the luxury of having the choice to work for several companies.
Originally from Carcassonne, after a baccalaureate STIGM, Julien Reina is currently doing a BTS specialized in industrialization of mechanical products (with the qualification of a turner-miller) in Beziers. He arrived in 2009 in Toulouse, and worked as a trainer at McDonald’s for 18 months and was recruited in 2011 by the SME South Aero in Merville, as a miller-trimmer.
After 18 months working on aeronautical flight parts, he left the company looking for new adventures and a higher salary.
It is the Toulouse company specialized in aeronautical equipment, Dedienne Aerospace, which hires him as a miller. « I worked on large parts, many prototypes », remembers Julien Reina. « I was more independent and more autonomous ». He left the company after two years for the same reasons, spending three months at Mecahers where the monotony of tasks pushed him to refuse a permanent contract.
The SME Estève then offered him a position in June 2015, as a miller. Specialized in the prototyping division, his role is to perform the various parts machining operations on a CNC machine. « I choose all the machining processes, the programming of the part on the machine, the choice of tools, I often perform the control myself after the machining, » says Julien Reina.
Machining complex pieces
He works in the workshop 37.5 hours a week, in a day shift and an evening shift : a week from 1 o’clock pm to 9 o’clock pm, the following week from 5 o’clock am to 1 o’clock pm. What a typical day looks like ? « When I arrived, my partner sent me the instructions. I’m working on new pieces that have already gone through the filming stage, so I have to machine them. I look at the machining plan on paper : I will choose the right tools, I adjust the machine, I place the piece, I process and then I control. If it meets a certain criteria, I continue the series of pieces. Otherwise, the setting must be corrected. »
At Estève, series range from 5 to 100 pieces on average. It is impossible to give the number of pieces treated : everything depends on the piece, its size, its material, its complexity. From time to time, Estève must machine parts from the partner company Fusia, which manufactures them using 3D printers.
« These parts are more complicated to machine, » says the miller. There is a lot of support to remove, the programming is more complex and we are not entitled to the error. Sometimes you have to spend two weeks in the same room. On screen, he can use 3D images that allow him to view the odds that are not on the map, and therefore choose the right tool for example.
What Julien Reina has learned through his various professional experiences is that mass production, « pushing a button stupidly continuously, » is not for him. Being a miller at Estève is not a robot job. It is an activity that requires thought and rigor. And that’s what our miller appreciates. « I like the complexity of parts, such as parts from additive manufacturing or those that I must program in five axes. Even if sometimes, we struggle on a piece! It takes time, it’s a personal challenge ».
Being manual and loving machines
To exercise this profession, something is necessary : be manual. « On the machine dedicated to prototypes, we have a lot of things to do : set all the tools, look for the material to manufacture them, he argues. You have to love the contact with the material. You must also enjoy working on a machine, in a kind of inseparable and complementary duo.
A negative aspect of this job? Julien Reina points out one. « It’s sometimes tiring. When I find myself alone at 4 o’clock, on my pole milling, having to launch several machines … But it’s worth it. I like it when it pulses ! » The fact also of not always knowing in which place of the plane the piece that he machines will be integrated in the long term can be frustrating. The future, Julien Reina sees it in management and logistics.
Why not, eventually, manage a team in the workshop. « You can mill all your life, » he says. I’m not made to do the same thing all my life. I would like to evolve in this core business. In the aerospace sector, he also appreciated the tooling segment, when he worked at Dedienne Aerospace. Unlike parts that will one day fly, there may be less constraints in machining.
As for the size of the company, it is the SME that wins his membership. For its family atmosphere, and the impact that each employee can have on the structure that employs him. « We are more listened to when we wish to change things even if we are young, » he admits. « It is a job that fascinates me, concludes Julien Reina. I am aware of being on a right niche. I will always have work to do. I’m not worried about my professional future ! « .
QUICK BIOGRAPHY :
Age : 28 years old
Training : Trainee in Mechanical Engineering STI and BTS Industrialization of mechanical products with a Turner-miller qualification, Jean Moulin High School in Béziers
Entry to Estève: June 2015