Kieran Kirby

Kieran Kirby

What was the name of the company you worked for and what do they do?

I worked for Cummins Ltd. and was based in Daventry, home of their High Horsepower Plant in the UK. Cummins Manufacture both HMLD (Heavy Medium Light Duty) and HHP (High Horsepower) engines for a variety of on and off highway applications as well as generator sets, rail engines, and marine engines. The high horsepower diesel and gas engines manufactured in Daventry are between 38 and 91 litres in size.

What was your role within the company?

My role within Cummins was as a Regional Service Engineer or DFSE. I was responsible for the Europe region and my role was primarily in identifying failures in parts from both High Horsepower and Heavy Duty engines. I interact with people all over Europe as well as Russia as parts are normally sent to us directly from customers/technicians or other service engineers based in those countries. I also provided assistance to other service engineers based in other countries for some issues ranging from software troubleshooting to possible failure modes for a particular component from their observations.

Can you please give me an insight into a typical day?

A typical day would primarily involve inspecting parts after tearing them down to their bare components. This often means that I spent a lot of my time in a workshop having to use different equipment and tools, as well as Metallurgy equipment to detect any failures in the parts. Once the inspection is done I take pictures of the parts and put together a report which gets sent to the service engineer at that location and it is then normally forwarded to the customer. 

Sometimes I have to take part in meetings with other DFSE’s around Europe, where they detail their projects and status. I also became a STEM ambassador while at Cummins and had to regularly visit a local school to build a GreenPower kit car with the pupils.

What did you enjoy the most and did you get involved in any interesting projects? 

During my third week with the company, I spent a week in Germany on a training conference getting to know all of the other service engineers I’d possibly be working with in the future. It was both an interesting and fun week with the team based activities and small presentations on useful information such as new software and ways of going about specific work. It also allowed me to get to know the other engineers during the evenings while having food or drinks. The following week I travelled to a quarry in France to inspect a damaged engine on a drilling vehicle. Whilst there I met with 3 different companies that were customers of Cummins and learnt a lot about the commercial side of the business.

Most of my projects have involved inspecting failed parts from engines and these issues have all varied and ranged in severity.

Why did you want to undertake a year in industry?

I wanted to undertake a year in industry as it was a great opportunity to gain valuable experience which cannot be provided while at university alone, especially as my CV had near to no work experience. 

It was also an opportunity for me to put into practice what I have learnt during my studies, such as Labview and knowledge primarily from the Engineering Materials and Thermofluids modules, and seeing how different work impacts on a business.

What did you hope to get out of this experience?  

What I hoped to gain out of this experience were valuable skills which I could not gain while purely studying my degree. These came from being involved in projects critical to the reputation of the company, learning more about the commercial/legal side of the business and working with people from different departments around the world in order to complete projects.

Do you have any tips and advice to current students thinking of undertaking a year in industry?

Personally I’d say it’s a great idea to do a year in industry, as it opens a lot of doors for your future providing valuable experience with may make you stand out from other job applicants or even in the case of Cummins provide a graduate opportunity once you’ve completed your degree (most new graduate’s at Cummins spent their year in industry here). As for tips, I’d say just be confident as it may take a few interviews to get a placement and it is definitely worth doing it.