Illumination

Insights and trends on augmented reality and advanced manufacturing technology
6April2017

A Day in the Life of an AR Applications Engineer

To help you learn a little bit more about what it’s like working at OPS Solutions, we’re starting a new series featuring some of the talented people that are helping us revolutionize the enterprise augmented reality industry. First up is Brad Foley, an AR Applications Engineer on our crew.

What is your title at OPS Solutions, and how long have you been with the company?

My official title is Applications Engineer, although I wear many different hats, including engineering, sales, integration and project management. I’ve been with OPS Solutions full-time for almost a year, and worked here part-time for a year and a half before that as a student co-op.

Can you tell us a little about your background, and why you chose a career in engineering? 

I knew I had the inclinations of an engineer at a really young age. In high school, I went through an engineering program called the Utica Center for Science and Industry. By senior year, my projects included work on an alternative energy bicycle, a security system, and converting a mini gas-powered RC car to an electric car.

After high school, I attended Lawrence Tech University, where I majored in mechanical engineering. I chose that major because of its generality, and figured it was the perfect avenue for me to physically understand the world.

How did you find out about OPS Solutions?

John Morelli (VP of Operations at OPS Solutions) spoke at a luncheon about Light Guide Systems. At the time, I was working at American Axle Manufacturing, where one of my projects was installing a vision system for a forging press. Since I had that manufacturing background and experience in vision applications and controls, his talk really clicked for me.

After he spoke, I went online and found a couple of the early Light Guide Systems videos with the first dynamic tracking prototypes. The AR technology was new and exhilarating for me, and I knew working at OPS Solutions would be an experience no other company was going to provide, so I applied and the rest is history.

What was your experience as an OPS Solutions co-op like?

I started off as an in-house integrator on Light Guide Systems – which consisted of bringing components in, hooking up the full system, making sure the Light Guide controllers had all the settings properly configured, ensuring the networks and projectors were communicating properly and then sending it off to the customer.

In that role, I created the official integration checklist to standardize the process and better organize it for future co-ops. I also took on coordination of the Bill of Materials. After I graduated Lawrence Tech, I moved into a project manager role, which then morphed into my current role as an application engineer.

What does a typical day at OPS Solutions look like for you?

One of my favorite parts about working for OPS Solutions is coming in and not knowing what I’m going to be doing that day. Every day is different, and that excites me. I usually have project update meetings with our sales team, where I often distill complex ideas into easy-to-understand flow diagrams and data architecture drawings.

Another thing I do quite often is create CAD models, which involves getting a picture of how many projectors we need, where it’s going to be placed in space, designing structures, getting quotes from suppliers and coordinating to make sure everything is where it’s supposed to be.

I also work closely with internal processes, like making sure material pricing and part numbers are up to date, creating help page documentation, and writing/pushing out new process codes.

What are some memorable projects you’ve worked on at OPS Solutions?

We’re actually just finishing up a project for an aerospace manufacturer—a high-resolution, four-projector system that covers the entire perimeter of a 4×4 cylinder. The company has major floor space requirements which minimizes the footprint of our system, so I created CAD drawings and worked with suppliers to make sure the projectors could be mounted in the right locations using customized lift-assist jibs.

Another thing I’m proud of is creating a standardized bench table that’s ergonomically designed to be either a stand-up or sit-down station, depending on what you need it for. It is sized to be able to fit through a doorway, and the whole thing is on casters so you can roll it anywhere and turn it into the workstation that fits your specific project best.

Every manual station needs a table, so we can either retrofit our projectors onto a current table or replace it with a turnkey, off-the-shelf solution that we can create in-house. So anywhere there’s a table, this structure can fit, meaning it can work for virtually any industry – most notably medical and automotive.

What manufacturing technology trends are important for people to keep an eye on? 

I’d say the biggest one we’re following at OPS Solutions right now is cloud-based MES. Cloud-based MES works really well for a manufacturing company that, say, has satellite factories around the world because it congregates valuable data in one place. This is extremely valuable because it gives executives the ability to identify potential bottlenecks or improve processes, among many other things.

What makes OPS Solutions a great company to work for?

I love working at OPS Solutions because of its casual atmosphere. There are unique opportunities here. There is also a lot of diversity in peoples’ skill sets. Everyone you talk to knows something you don’t, and there is a ton of knowledge to be learned from the people I work with.

What are some of your passions outside of work?

I’ve been doing martial arts since I was 17, and I’m still very much into it. I also enjoy reading, water skiing, wakeboarding, snowboarding and playing soccer. I love trying new things and staying active!

If you’re interested in learning more about the careers available at OPS Solutions, and how we’re using augmented reality to revolutionize manufacturing processes, send us a message.

Brian Close

Brian Close

Brian Close is the Executive Director of Sales for OPS Solutions. Brian has over 10 years of experience managing sales, manufacturing and engineering operations including managing implementation of new manufacturing equipment and processes with processes and managing $20M+ portfolio of contract engineering projects. Brian holds a BS, Materials Science & Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and a MBA from the University of Michigan.
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