Welcome to the sixth instalment of Meet Your Maker Q&A! Meet Your Maker is a series of behind-the-scenes videos and blogs that illustrate the wide range of in-house skillsets used to design and manufacture our market-leading broadcast technology whilst exploring the amazing people behind Calrec.
This week we had the pleasure of speaking with Calrec’s experienced Project Engineer, Joe Gulaiczuk, who has worked at Calrec for over two decades about Calrec’s robust project engineering system and acceptance area, the importance of consistency, and how testing has changed for the better with more remote capabilities.
1. What is your role?
I am one of several project engineers working in the manufacturing section of Calrec. We provide the link between the sales team and production/manufacturing. All broadcast installations are detailed and unique, and we provide a point of contact for the customer to discuss with their individual requirements. This allows us to ensure that nothing is missed and the customer receives the optimum working solution to meet their needs. We also provide a point of contact for any questions/requests that may arise during the manufacture and testing of the systems.
2. What defines project engineering for Calrec?
It is a structured system that ensures that the customer receives exactly what they require. This means that each customer receives the same high level of dedication and attention to detail as the next. Any issues to do with compatibility, software versions, compliance are taken into account during the process.
3. How does the project engineering system work?
Once an order is placed, a Project Engineer is assigned to that order. All information relating to that project is collated and analysed and everything is checked against our current system builds to look for any anomalies or opportunities for improvement.
At this point, any corrections can be advised and alternatives can be suggested. We then work with the production planner to schedule the work on the manufacturing calendar within the required timescale.
Project information is then summarised and presented in a consistent, understandable format to the rest of the company. During the life of the project, we also provide a single point of contact. This is vital as there are many different specialists within the company whose advice may be required along the way. We are best placed to be able to work out who to talk to and get that information, rather than the customer being passed around until they find the right person!
4. What documentation is created?
Internally, we provide build information for the manufacturing team in order for it to be able to be assembled into a customer’s bespoke console and audio system. That same information is also passed on to the customer for reference during the project and for the life of the audio system going forward.
That allows for easy reference in case of additional equipment being added later or any fault-finding that may be required. This includes:
- Layout diagrams showing the surface configuration of the mixing consoles.
- Network drawings showing the interconnection of the system components.
- Wiring drawings detailing the connectivity of the panels within a console and any external connections.
- A set of the customer’s audio and networking settings, including running levels and identification numbers for the audio In/Out, and networking components.
We also compile the parts lists that are used in the shipping process.
5. How does ISO accreditation improve things?
Consistency! ISO standards provide an accredited high level of consistency in the way each project is handled. A customer can be certain that each project is completed using the same processes and that those processes are carried out to the highest quality standards required to achieve accreditation. This in turn leads to greater quality, efficiency and helps ensure that nothing is missed.
6. How has testing changed in the last decade?
As a former desk tester for many years, one of the key changes has been a move toward network testing alongside the range of audio measurements we undertake.
High-quality audio circuits will always be a key part of Calrec’s designs and are still checked and measured at numerous stages throughout the manufacturing process. In addition, we also have to ensure that whatever IP networks the audio is transported on are stable, scalable and resilient. As such, we have had to look at ways of measuring and guaranteeing that stability for audio networks.
Alongside the development of networked audio is the possibility for remote access to systems, which in turn enables us to carry out testing functions and configurations remotely. We can now allow engineers to log in to a system to help diagnose and solve any issues, giving our customers an extra level of support which was not available even 10 years ago.
The ability to download and upload scripts has also improved significantly since the old days of serial ports, while a fully networked test system also allows for more straightforward scalability than some of the pre-configured systems that we used to engineer.
We have also improved our testing software and developed a number of in-house visual-based applications that are easy to follow and quickly ascertain that any system is fully functional and error-free.
7. Why has Calrec built an acceptance area; what is it for?
Sometimes customers like to check that the configured system matches their original requirements, or they might want to perform a set of pre configurations and checks before the desk reaches its final destination. This can be useful if you are new to Calrec products and are not all that familiar with the equipment yet, or you could be an existing customer looking to expand a system and discuss the possibilities.
The acceptance area is a new dedicated space where a customer’s console /system can be set up as it will be used. The area is a comfortable, private and self-contained space where customers can spend some time with their console before shipment.
It’s a great opportunity to get to know our customers and get some feedback from them too!
Missed our previous Meet Your Maker Q&As?
Take a look at the following:
First Instalment of Meet Your Maker with Gareth Frimston, Product Manager
Second Instalment of Meet Your Maker with Darren Silcock, Lead Customer Support Engineer
Third Instalment of Meet Your Maker with Sally Baines, Production Manager
Fourth Instalment of Meet Your Maker with Andrew Munt, Software Manager
Fifth Instalment of Meet Your Maker with Maria Mitchell, Senior Product Test Engineer