International Engineering Ambassadors
Insight into the life & course of international students.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

My Summer Internship Experience

Written by: Birju Galaiya

Hey guys, its me again! It has been a while since my last post. I have had a great summer where I got the chance to apply my engineering knowledge by undertaking a challenging but fun work experience.

As stated in my previous blog posts I was searching for a summer placement after my second year. After few interviews with several companies, I was fortunate to land a position in Aeguana Ltd- a small engineering firm in Central London. The company wanted me to help them develop one of their projects that they were working on and after a telephone interview they were happy to have me for 2 months. Unfortunately the internship started one week after my end of semester exams so I didnt get much chance to relax. On the other hand I was excited to start

For my accommodation, I was staying at my cousins house and I had to commute by train (about 45 minutes one way) to Barbican where the firm was based. The daily morning rush caught me by surprise- many people travelling to work in the heart of London. Weather-wise it was quite hot with highs of 30ยบC which was tempting enough to go relax in the park rather than be in the office! London in summer is totally different from what it is in the winter- so vibrant and beautiful, trust me you should experience it someday.

Over the 2 months I was primarily working on Solidworks where I would design, alter and improve components of a smart vending machine. Computer aided designing is really interesting in terms of how precise and accurate you can make your drawings and the simplicity of manipulating specifications iteratively to improve the overall quality of the product. What I had learnt in my 2 years in university helped me grasp the concepts how the vending machine operates. The project was challenging though as there was no clear cut solution- as an engineer you need to calculate and assume many things to come up with the best solution.

ou may wonder what stuff I learnt in university helped me in this internship. Well, quite a few actually. After having designed structural bars that held the vending machine onto the wall I had to verify the results of the Finite Element Analysis i.e. stress and deflections. Using calculations I had learnt in one of the modules, I calculated the stresses and the maximum deflection in each of the structural bars. This is an important step as the brackets have to withstand the weight of the components. Its important to mention that I had to carry out some research on the methods of calculations as although they were similar to what I had learnt, the conditions were different.

I also designed a gear system for the dispenser of the machine. I researched about different types of gear systems and understood the fundamentals of how the gear system works. Then I calculated the number of gears that would be required to reduce the motor speed which would turn the pulley which forces the item to drop from the shelve. The most difficult part was the fact that the space to fit the gear train was limited and constrained by many factors thus it was almost like a trial and error method I adopted in trying to fit all the pieces while also meeting the tolerance criteria. This took time but I finally managed to find a solution.

The 2 months went by pretty quick. After work I usually met up with friends for dinner and enjoyed the late sunsets and on weekends I spent time with my family. It was great working in the summer especially in London. I thoroughly enjoyed this internship- it taught me a lot in terms of designing components, cost optimization and I improved my computer skills as I knew many more functions of Solidworks which I didnt know previously. I would recommend anyone to undertake an internship in any firm- whether it is big or small. The experience is immense and it shall certainly help you get a graduate job once you have finished your studies.

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