Frédéric, 37 years old, smelter on induction furnaces
Founders elaborate the melted metal in induction furnaces. They are in charge of the composition and the quality of the melted metal. This work is done in collaboration with the laboratory and the process team. Melted metal is very sensitive to different parameters like time, temperature… so the founder has to do a very precise work in a limited time.
Melting metal is the first stage of our production process for both static and centrifugal casting.
Frederic, tell us how you made it to this position:It is an interesting story. My father in law had worked at Manoir for almost 30 years and I had heard a lot about the company. In fact, I don’t know if it was because of how he described it or because of me, but I was really not interested at all to work in a plant at the beginning. I am actually a plumber and worked in domestic heaters. I also worked in a security company. So, very far from Foundry environment.
Then, what happened?
In 2006, my father in law told me that Manoir was looking for some help in the melting sector. I came here pretty much for a trial, but fell in love for the melted metal. There was no add for a job, just mouth to ear. I learnt my job on the spot. No scholar training.
What positions did you have since you joined?I started here as a helper to repair the ladles, on the refractory lining of them. Then, obviously, moved up to the furnaces and did some refractory lining work there as well for a while. I then became a smelter. I work in shifts.
What do you particularly like about the job?
Frederic shows a big smile across his face – The metal, again and again. Always learning something new. Melting is a beautiful job. Hard, conditions can be considered by a few as tough, but it is fascinating. You need to operate in a reliable environment, for the furnaces as for the staff. You need to depend on them both. Team spirit is also there.
Have you seen the company changes through the years?
In a way, yes. The most senior guys retired and with them a particular mindset disappeared as well. The bond between us is probably not as strong as it used to be between the old guys. Generations, I suppose…I saw quite a few young guys joining since 2006. I taught them how to stick to the rules when it comes to melting. You can’t do what you want. Basic stuff first, then procedures, then experience. Safety is also a must- adhere- to principle.
If you would try to convince someone to join the team, what would you say?
Well, if those guys have been around a bit, being a melter on shifts is paid for what it’s worth. So, I can’t complain. It’s worth considering with this in mind as well. I am not a welder, yet, I am happy with what I gain. Again, my job is just beautiful: liquid steel pouring, heat, sparks here and there. No routines. This job, quite unknown and frankly hard to describe and explain, needs to be better known.
Anything else to add?
When I joined, I was told “if you are afraid of the metal, don’t work here”. Well, I can only admit that I developed a fascination for this steel. I am proud, like a lot of my colleagues. I will be delighted to show people what I do during the 100th anniversary to the people who will visit.