Principal Manufacturing Engineer

Job Ref: 2843216 | Type: Permanent / Full Time

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About The Role

About Rocket Lab
Founded in June 2006 as a center for advanced space systems, Rocket Lab’s goal is to remove the commercial barriers to space by providing frequent launch opportunities to low orbit Earth.
Rocket Lab is rapidly expanding to meet the global demand for our commercial launch service. The Huntington Beach facility is seeking passionate, highly-skilled individuals who are comfortable working in a dynamic, technically challenging environment where they will be given ownership of processes from start-to-finish. We believe that an empowered and motivated workforce has been the cornerstone of our success and will be essential to our long-term growth as we redefine how the world accesses space.
Principal Manufacturing Engineer (Propulsion)
The Rocket Lab production team in Huntington Beach is seeking a principal manufacturing engineer to join them at an exciting and important stage of the company. The principal manufacturing engineer will play an integral role in Rocket Labs future success as they commence rapid production rate increases of Electron and the innovative Rutherford engine that powers it. The ideal candidate has experience scaling production from introduction to maturity plus experience in both a machining (repeatable) production environment and a prototyping/new product/R&D manufacturing environment.

Key Responsibilities Include
Process & Tooling

  • Provide Engineering support for day-to-day production and inspection processes
  • Develop production procedures and processes and ensure they are accurately and clearly documented, including testing procedures, health and safety requirements and supervisor sign-offs.
  • Design, develop, and implement tooling for use in a production environment where appropriate to improve quality, delivery and/or cost performance
Design for Manufacture
  • Contribute to design reviews acting as an expert in design for manufacture, design for test, productivity, supplier capability assessments, quality control, etc.
  • Oversee introduction and implementation of new products and product revisions.
  • When required, lead problem containment and root cause & corrective action investigations
  • Quickly analyze and resolve manufacturing discrepancies and non-conformances.
  • Interface with the quality team for rework and deviations.
  • Perform structured root cause analysis of in-process failures
  • Liaison between production, quality, supply chain and design engineering staff for complex problem solving and process changes.
Continuous Improvement
  • Identify, plan, and execute capital equipment, machine, and layout upgrades to meet volume requirements including preparation of business cases
  • Lead the continuous improvement process in your area using Lean tools and techniques.
  • Introduce automation where appropriate and ensure equipment data links directly to MRP and quality systems.
  • Ability to develop necessary new processes where none exists
  • Domestic and international travel may be required
  • Additional duties as reasonably required
  • Adaptable and comfortable in an exciting, dynamic and evolving environment.
  • Establish / set planning, project and future-state budgets.
Health & Safety
  • Be a role model for a safety conscious culture.
  • Ensure health and safety policies and standard operating procedures are followed.
  • Ensure correct PPE is worn in designated areas.   
  • Near misses and incidents are reported promptly
Required Experience & Education
  • Bachelor's degree in mechanical, electrical, aerospace, or manufacturing engineering.
  • 10+ years of experience in a manufacturing environment.
Required Industry / Background from 1 of the following disciplines
  • Logistics / Supply Chain
  • Avionics and/or Electronics
  • Composites and/or Materials
  • Mechanical and/or Assembly
Preferred Skills & Experience
  • Ability to create and deliver accurate presentations for design and manufacturing readiness reviews      
  • Experience transitioning products from design to manufacturing as part of a cross-functional team in a fast-paced iterative design environment     
  • Experience modeling with 3D CAD software e.g.: SolidWorks, Inventor, NX/Unigraphics, Catia
  • Working proficiency with DFMEA, PFMEA methodologies and Fault Tree Analysis.
  • SPC knowledge and experience applying statistical methods to track process capability.
  • Basic competency with SQL databases and SQL programming
  • Demonstrated experience designing tooling in a manufacturing environment
  • Hands-on with a passion for continuous improvement and building the best hardware
  • Capable of solving complex problems with little to no supervision in a timely manner.
  • Pareto analysis, root cause and corrective action experience.
  • Experience with capacity modeling, process mapping, Lean and continuous improvement principles      
  • Excellent communication skills both written and verbal      
  • Geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T) experience  
  • Experience supporting production of complex electro-mechanical, mechanical, or composites systems in high volume work centers and/or during production ramp-up.
  • Has led major improvement projects. Including Capex, People and process design.    
  • Proven track record of year on year process improvement activities.
  • Has successfully introduced new product to the shop floor having been part of the pre-development design for manufacture process.  
  • Conducted both process and design FMEAs which has resulted in substantial reduction of risk and design changes.
  • Conducted complete system capacity analysis. Able to identify technical solutions to bottlenecks including specification, assessing alternatives, ROI analysis and successful justification in Finance/CAPEX approval process.     
  • Able to identify new technologies and develop to real shop floor solutions.    
  • Developed and maintained budgets and forecasts for a major production area of several years.
  • Dedicated to adopting a Lean approach without compromising safety or reliability.     

Important Information:
To conform to US Government space technology export regulations, applicants must be a US citizen, lawful permanent resident of the US, protected individual as defined by 8 USC 1324b(a)(3), or eligible to obtain the required authorization from the US Department of State.

Rocket Lab USA is an Equal Opportunity Employer, employment with Rocket Lab USA is governed on the basis of merit, competence and qualifications and will not be influenced in any manner by race, color, religion, gender, national origin/ethnicity, veteran status, disability status, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, mental or physical disability or any other legally protected status.

For security reasons background checks will be undertaken prior to any employment offers being made to an applicant.  These checks will include nationality checks as it is a requirement of this position that you be eligible to access equipment and data regulated by the United States’ International Traffic in Arms Regulations.  Under these Regulations, you may be ineligible for this role if you do not hold citizenship of Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland, the European Union or a country that is part of NATO, or if you hold ineligible dual citizenship or nationality. For more information on these Regulations, click here.

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