A day in the life of... Lee Ford

Lee joined Gripple in 2011, as part of the company’s newly formed Automation function, having spent 11 years with Betafence (formerly Tinsley Wire) in project and technical sales engineer roles. Lee fulfils the role of Design and Development Engineer within the Automation team – meeting customers and suppliers, quoting for jobs and working on projects from design, to build and commission.

What does a typical day for you consist of?
There is no ‘typical’ day at Gripple Automation to be honest; one day, I can be designing parts for a machine, the next day I can be out on the shop-floor, working on the build itself, so it’s a very varied role. As we’ve started quoting for work outside Gripple now as well, I’m often showing prospective customers around our new facilities (Gripple Automation moved to purpose-built facilities at Gripple’s Hawke Street site earlier this year).

What are you working on at the moment?
Currently, we’re making a machine for Gripple. Gripple buys the product in in as things stand, but the company has decided it’s going to manufacture in-house so naturally, it’s an exciting project for us. It’s a walking beam design, which is something we haven’t done before, so it’s going to be quite interesting.

What do you enjoy about working for Gripple Automation?
It’s not a typical job; I can come in each day and do something different. It means I’m always engaged and interested in the day-to-day activity and I’ve always got variety.

Do you have any personal or team achievements that stand out for you?
On a personal level, managing to automate the process of putting a spring into an Angel Hanger – that was a highlight! In terms of the team, the Angel machine project as a whole; it’s a very efficient machine and we’re really proud of it. Additionally, we’ve just completed our first external project which gets sent to site this week, and that was another great team effort, and milestone.


What are your hopes for Gripple Automation’s attendance at Automechanika?
We’re really keen to get the Automation name out there, and the whole GLIDE group (The group are exhibiting together for the first time at this year’s show). We’d like to show people our capabilities and what we can achieve, because we think our offering is quite unique in the sense we’ve got a lot of experience within a manufacturing organisation. Obviously our main hope is it leads to more work for the group!

Where do you see the business in 5 years time?
Onwards and upwards from here! We’re just getting started but we think Gripple Automation is well set for bigger things.

Lastly, on a personal note, do you have any interesting facts you can share with us?
I’m a keen runner; we’re taking on a challenge internally at Gripple – dubbed ‘Grippathlon’ where our sites across the world are competing in a race to reach a cumulative 15,000 mile target first, the stipulation being miles completed are from running, cycling, swimming or walking. I’ve run 120 miles so far this month, and we’re 3 weeks in, so I’m pretty pleased with that!


Gripple Automation will be exhibiting at Automechanika 2016, 7-9th June at Birmingham NEC, alongside the GLIDE group of businesses. Click here to register your attendance.

Tags: Corporate, Careers

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