- Course: Mechanical Engineering (Industrial) MEng
- Job title: Product Engineer
- Company: Cummins Turbo Technologies
Where are you working, what is your role within the company?
I work for Cummins Turbo Technologies (CTT), a subsidiary of Cummins Inc which is based in Huddersfield, UK. CTT was formally known as Holset Engineering Co, a British company with worldwide status as a producer of turbochargers, primarily for diesel and heavy duty applications. The company was purchased by Cummins Inc in 1973 and officially changed name in 2006.
The parent company Cummins Inc is a Fortune 500 corporation with over 48,000 employees worldwide in approximately 190 countries. Cummins Inc designs, manufactures and distributes diesel and natural gas engines varying in size for ~2 to ~100litres. A number of subsidiary companies exists covering technologies including emissions solutions, power generation and filtration systems.
CTT uses a departmental rotation scheme for their year placement students; this is flexible and I had influence on the departments I was able to work in during my time here. The departments are spread between project teams, technology functions, test facilities and non-engineering support functions.
My rotation plan has included time as a product engineer in two project teams working within different product lines as well as a technology and test facilities function. Having the opportunity to rotate is an excellent opportunity to gain an insight into a number of areas within the company; particularly if you are unsure of the future direction of your career.
Describe a typical day.
Having spent the majority of my time working as a product engineer within project teams, I am best equipped to give an outline of a typical day in this area. As a product engineer you have direct exposure to the customer; generally working with customers to resolve field issues and provide improvements and cost reductions to product lines already in existence. This involves planning and carrying out the necessary test work and validation to drive any changes through the correct internal processes.
I particularly enjoy my role due to the amount of opportunity for hands on learning and the time I am able to spend down in the testing facilities. The opportunity to present work and findings both internally and externally is also a great experience as generally product engineers sit between the customer and the rest of the engineering functions within CTT.
In addition to working with customer part of my work also involves internal validation work and testing which has involved working with suppliers to improve manufacturing processes, improve robustness and decrease costs.
Why did you want to undertake a year in industry?
One of the main reasons for undertaking a year in industry for me was to enable myself to step back from university education and began to think about my future career. Having completed my first three years of the engineering course, I felt that working within industry would give me invaluable experience which I would be able to use when returning to complete my masters. The experience has enabled me to think about what I would like to pursue after university and has provided me with direction for when I return to university in terms of knowing where I would like to go and how to go about it.
Additionally, in this competitive job market, the connections you are able to make are invaluable. At CTT there is a strong move towards graduate hiring from previous placement students - not only does a placement offer increased employment prospects with CTT but it also strengthens your CV when applying to other companies.
What did you hope to get out of this experience?
As explained in the previous question to opportunities for future employment are greatly increased, particularly within the Cummins graduate scheme. Not only this, but the placement has enabled me to put a lot of the academic learning obtained in university into practice as well as develop professional but gaining experience and improving in numerous non-academic skills such as project planning, presenting and customer interaction and communication. All of these skills will also greatly improve my ability to complete my Masters effectively and efficiently and will be carried on into a future career.
Additionally, CTT runs a very organised Monitor Professional Development Scheme (MPDS) and provide a mentor throughout the placement – by keeping a record of work completed and compiling a quarterly report the first year of professional development toward chartership can also be completed on placement as I have been able to do.
Do you have any tips/advice to current students thinking of undertaking a year in industry?
My placement has been a great experience so far and you will develop and learn a lot in such a short period of time. I found the interview processes when applying very daunting initially and news of rejections were pretty disheartening. As I attended a few interviews I felt a lot more relaxed so make sure to persevere and think of the first few interviews as a practice run if nothing else.