Friday, 23 September 2016

Summer Placement: Cummins Turbo Technologies

Katie Atkins, SELA Cohort 2015

Over this summer I have had the opportunity to work as a placement student for 12 weeks at Cummins Turbo Technologies in Huddersfield. As a materials engineering student I felt a little out of my depth to begin with as we don’t cover the automotive and mechanical side of this industry at university, however I was lucky enough to be working within the materials department where I felt more at home. The team I worked with over the course of my summer was a group of very talented engineers and technicians who provided me with a variety of projects and tasks to work on.

I was trained in many different lab techniques, allowing me to carry out a great deal of tasks independently. My lab training covered many techniques including the use of cutting machines, interferometer and SEM. During my placement I ran 300+ samples on the interferometer assessing surface topography and practiced dye-penetrant methods on 100+ turbine wheels. In this industry there is a need for non-destructive testing as it accommodates the analysis of components during test cycles and without taking them apart - I learnt a great deal about the benefits of these methods and the ease of carrying them out.

I have been able to apply the theoretical knowledge I have learnt at university to real life problems and situations at CTT, including the identification of component failure modes, which was covered during my second year at university, but gave me the opportunity to practice. This really highlighted to me the benefit of applying theory to industrial problems in order to cement understanding and now have a much greater appreciation of failure and fatigue at an industrial level.

I have been able to employ and practice a number of skills developed through SELA whilst on my placement, including team work, project management and communication skills. By working in a large global company I have had to efficiently communicate with many senior engineers across different departments, and sometimes across the world, regarding results, project updates and deadlines. Over the course of my placement I have worked on 17 different projects, often simultaneously, and therefore time management has been very important in order to complete everything to deadline as my work has often contributed towards much larger projects within the company.

There are many experiences I have had at CTT that I would not have been able to get elsewhere at my age and stage as a student and will stay with me throughout the rest of my working life. I would recommend a placement at CTT to anyone studying engineering due to the brilliant opportunities and experiences, but also for the attention to detail and exceptional organisation of their placement scheme.

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