Digging Deeper - February 2024 - Akkerman

Digging Deeper – February 2024

Akkerman Inc.

Digging Deeper – February 2024

Navigating Off-Course

Written by: Robin Lorenzen

We’ve all been there—the laser moved, the laser wasn’t set to the correct grade or alignment to properly launch, or ground conditions changed while tunneling. There are numerous circumstances that can occur where you find the machine is heading off course as a TBM operator.

What do we do now? Don’t panic! You have a long bore ahead of you, and there is no need to be in a hurry to get back to the center of your target. Remember, friction is your enemy when jacking pipe. Industry standard for overcut is .75in on a radius, so you want to keep that in mind when it comes to turning a machine for alignment corrections. Create a plan for success instead of making drastic steering adjustments to cover up deviations before the next shift arrives.

First, double check that your guidance instruments are set up properly to the designed line and grade. Make sure your reference points are also set so you can periodically re-check the alignment. Ensure the tunnel is properly ventilated and that your laser has not succumbed to laser refraction. Your next moves are critical, make slight adjustments to the steering to counteract the direction the machine is heading because you know it’s going the wrong way. Run a few cycles to see if the situation improves or gets worse.

Remember, you have a long machine, and it will take some time for the machine to react to your changes. Your first goal is a holding pattern on where you’re at on the target. It always gets worse before it gets better. Once you have established that, you can begin slight changes to return to the target. Your next goal is to not overshoot the target in the opposite direction, as you will be starting over at the top of this paragraph.

Staff Highlight

Tony Belden, flame cut operator, has been with Akkerman since July 17, 1990. He was also a 2022 Akknowledgement recipient. Tony was nominated as February’s Employee of the Month for his helpful, reliable and dependable nature, along with this intelligence and positive attitude.

Nominated because:

“Tony is always willing to help in whatever way he can. He is knowledgeable in many aspects of the company. He is always in a good mood. He does a good job utilizing his plate to make sure he gets as many pieces as possible out of each sheet.”

“Tony is about the nicest person ever. He has one of the most physically demanding and dirty jobs here and always gets the job done.”

“Tony is a valuable member of the IP , Machine Shop Department. He has a vast knowledge of our product. He is one of the main guys I rely on to coordinate work flow through our department.”

35th Akkiversary

Mike Hansen came to Akkerman as a machinist on February 6, 1989, as one of a couple of formally trained machinists in a department of five under Dick Gunderson. At this time, we had just a few machining centers. Shortly after his arrival, we got our first new machining center, a Kasuga CNC Mill. Jason ‘Slick’ Schlichter comments, “In those days, Mike wrote every parts program for the mills and lathes until the early 2000s.”

Today, Mike runs lots of GBM and MTBM parts on the Okuma LB45III mill, purchased in 2020 (with the Iowa Hawkeyes magnet).

Jason comments, “He’s been a great resource for the machining department; he’s trained a lot of people and is good to bounce ideas off of. You can hand him a print, explain what you need, and he’ll write the program. He’s sharp and an excellent machinist.”

“He displays in-depth product knowledge and is willing to share that information with the newer guys on the machine shop floor,” said Jeremy Mauseth. “He’s a top machinist, and he will gladly let you know if he feels something is not to his liking – LOL!”

When you see Mike, please thank him for his dedication to the company, machining department, and high integrity in his work.

5th Akkiversary

Paint manager Ben Wolcott began as a night shift painter with Akkerman on February 12, 2019. We are celebrating Ben’s fifth year of working at Akkerman this month.

After high school Ben pursued a degree in collision repair with Riverland Community College. He started his industrial painting career with McNeilus Truck in Dodge Center, then was employed as board operator by Absolute Energy in St. Ansgar.

Ben was referred to Akkerman by his mother-in-law, Mary Hartson. As existing painter Jeff Hall was approaching retirement, hiring Ben was an excellent opportunity to bring his expertise to Akkerman while training under Jeff and maximizing the department’s production on two shifts. Jeff retired about two years into Ben’s employment then Ben moved to the day shift and paint manager position.

When asked what he enjoys most about this work, he likes the challenge of making each piece of equipment look smooth, consistent, and finished. Ben enjoys working for Akkerman, the environment, and his colleagues. “The company treats you well, and there’s a nice family environment,” he comments.

Ben and his wife Hannah reside in Lyle, MN, with their three daughters, Jadyn (6), Iylah (4), and Emilia (4 mo.). Ben likes spending family time at Mary’s and Mike’s cabin, relaxing and jet-skiing. He’s also a big motocross enthusiast and hopes to get his oldest two daughters on bikes this year.

When you see Ben, congratulate him on his anniversary and thank him for all his hard work and attention to our equipment’s aesthetics.

The World of Guided Auger Boring

Dive into the world of Guided Auger Boring with Akkerman! Discover how our innovative GBM Guidance System ensures precise pipeline installations, maximizes drive lengths, and saves time and costs. From optical clarity to versatile tooling options, we’ve got you covered every step of the way. Learn more about our cutting-edge equipment solutions and revolutionize your projects today!

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