Matthew Boswell, 30, is a Team Technician - ‘TT,' for short - in the Paint Shop at the MINI plant in Oxford, UK. He's responsible for supervising the 35 staff in the application section of the Paint Shop and monitoring the quality of the work done by the men and the robots as they spray the MINI bodies that glide through on the production line.
“I’m not quite a spanner man,” he says. “It’s more about keeping an eye on the technical side of things – ensuring that the facilities are in a good condition, that the temperature and humidity are set properly, that the conveyors are ready for production, so that the car leaves us in optimum condition and is all set for the next stage of the process.”
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The ostrich feathers used in the Emu machine are all female - the males' feathers are too ragged from fighting.
"BEFORE spraying, the frame is buffed up by going through a carwash-like set of rollers made of ostrich feathers. They’re perfect for the job – ideal for removing dust. Oddly, the machine’s actually called an Emu."
"THE only paint that’s applied manually is sprayed into what we call 'the internals' as the car moves along – inside the doors, the engine bay, the tailgate, those places the robots can’t reach. There’s a real art to it."
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Approximately 35 cars come through the Paint Shop every hour.
"I LIVE 10 miles up the road, and other members of my family have worked here. My own kids are four and two, and they’re very into the family days that the plant holds. They love spotting MINI when we’re on the road, too."