Rachel Turnbull, Mechanical Engineering

Rachel Turnbull

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

Eaton Electrical Ltd. is a global leader in electrical products, systems and services for power quality, distribution and control, power transmission, and lighting and wiring products. Eaton have 2016 sales of $19.7 billion and approximately 95,000 employees globally. My work involved fire detection and alarm systems used in commercial buildings, apartments and office buildings and hospitals.

What was your role within the company?

My site manufactures over 20,000 fire products weekly, which are mostly electronic devices and fire panels. Since each product is critical for life safety, each completed product is tested to ensure quality and high performance. As part of the Test Development team, I work between Operations and R&D, supporting the introduction of new products into manufacture and continuous improvement on existing products for a more lean process.

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

A typical day involves production support, resolving technical line stop problems on the shop floor that can be quality, process or test related. In terms of software development, I would be writing LabVIEW automated tests and using SolidWorks to design test jigs. To design the test gear, I’ve had to learn the basic electronics found in the products to understand how they work and how to detect when they are not performing to spec.

Each day, I represented the test team at an accountability meeting. It set a corrective action plan and introduced preventative measures with the input of all the production stakeholders.

There have also been many professional development training courses, opportunities to visit Eaton’s nine other UK sites and work with colleagues across continents.

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

I’ve been involved with introducing new product ranges into the business and working on projects for big companies like Bosch, Siemens and Panasonic. Being involved with a project from in conception to mass production, working with product managers, supply chain and R&D to champion the need for design, manufacture and test has given me a lot of responsibility.

Why did you want to undertake a year in industry?

To gain experience and narrow down what sort of work I wanted to go into after university.

What did you get out of this experience?

For me this year has been a great challenge. Coming in from a mechanical background, learning about product electronics, basic circuit protection for test gear and electrical health and safety requirements has been really interesting. I’ve really enjoyed working across departments and learning from experienced managers and engineers about managing people, processes and projects.

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

Get motivated. Tailor each application or CV for the company by including key words that match their key values and include examples of uni projects that are applicable to the specific company’s industry.