North Sails NEWS
Story Contributors: Sunny Main
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY AT NORTH SAILS
Introducing Sunny Main: 3Di Lead
In celebration of International Women’s Day, we are pleased to introduce Sunny Main, who oversees the tape floor as 3Di Lead. Main retired from being a stay at home mom and joined the workforce in Minden, NV sixteen years ago, after moving to America from her native South Korea.
Main works in Building Two, where she manages the tape head machines as 3Di Lead. She is in charge of all seven tape machines, loading each with the correct sail design file and enough material before the automated process begins laying down the sail structure.» I manage the priority list for the department, and get the required materials for each project loaded on the tape head machines.»
«We usually have all the machines operating at the same time,» she explains. «I assign each of my crew a job, and make sure they have the right tapes to complete the task.» Keeping her team aligned with safety procedures is always at the top of her list. «This is a manufacturing facility, and the machinery is big. It’s important to know what you are doing to avoid accidents.»
«Everyone in Tape Heads knows that Sunny demands the best quality. She is the «mom» of the department and you don’t let your mom down! She’s never sick and always has a sunny smile on her face.»- Per Andersson, 3D General Manager
3Di tapes are stored in industrial-sized refrigerators until a project calls for loading them onto the tape heads. Once removed from the fridge, the countdown begins for Main to get the sail structure laid down and consolidated on the 3D mold before the resin begins to cure naturally.
«Building a sail structure can take as little as one shift to complete, depending on the size of the sail,» Main explains. Sometimes we can make a complete sail in a single shift, but often we require multiple shifts for larger projects.» After the tape machines create the sail structure, it’s inspected on both sides, and then rolled up onto a tube and placed in a bag for transport to the 3D mold in Building One. Once placed on the mold, the infrared lamp applies heat to the sail. The consolidated composite is then the sail is ready to sit for 7-10 days on the curing floor. After curing, sails move onto finishing, where hardware, decals, and patches are added. Each department has a deadline, all based on the final shipping date. «What we keep in mind,» says Main, «is that the pregger supplies tape heads, tape heads supply the mold, and the mold supplies the finishing floor. We all have a deadline so that the finishing floor can ship it to the customer by the date requested.»
Main enjoys her role as 3Di Lead because each project is different. «There is always something new with custom sail orders,» she says. «I take pride in my job and expect the final product to be perfect. I can be tough, but it’s my job to ensure things are done efficiently and correctly.»
The hardest part of Main’s job is training new people. «Although the job looks easy, it has its challenges,» she explains. It’s essential to be 100% accurate, and there are a lot of details involved, especially when it comes to custom orders, which is the majority of what we make here in Minden.»
«Our sail designers are talented. We make our own product. We make our own tapes. Why are our sails the fastest? Because our product is made well.»
One of the unique parts of working in a large manufacturing facility like Minden is that Main gets to meet all different kinds of people. «We host engineering students that come from France, Germany, and Sri Lanka. They not only learn what we do here, but they are learning about our culture, and we learn about them too.»
Even long-term like Main have someone they remember as guiding their career path. «Peter Jahreis [shown above], Pregger and Tape Head Line Manager, is my mentor because he’s a great listener. He won’t hesitate to work along with my team if we need an extra hand. He is also great at problem-solving.»
Making high-performance 3D sails in the middle of the desert is a highlight of her career, she says. «Leading a talented and hardworking crew and having the opportunity to recognize or get recognized every quarter for hard work is a great incentive.» Sunny also likes to be involved in company functions and events, and they have plenty of those in Minden that make their employees feel appreciated for their hard work. «It’s a great way to say thanks,» she says.