Design, Manufacturing & Engineering ManagementErin Caldwell: Industrial Experience

What has been your favourite module as part of your degree?

The module I have gained the most from was the industrial projects class in 3rd year PDE. For this class I had to report and present about my 4-month internship and continuing job with the Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC).

Throughout my internship I was responsible for researching, designing and implementing a digital visual management system to over 100 engineers and researchers. This put a lot of business and design principles I had learnt over the years to test in a fast-paced industry. I learnt the value in pushing a project through in a short time scale and the importance of self-motivation.

After finishing my internship, I completed a report on key takeaways from the experience, a critical analysis of the business as well as the impact left on the business throughout my time working there. This was then presented to the other students who completed an internship. This was a really interesting experience that displayed the wide range of companies and roles that we can work in with the diverse engineering and design topics that Product Design Engineering covers.

What did your Industrial Group Project entail?

My teams industrial project was working with the company NCR. NCR are global leaders in developing transformational transaction technologies including online banking, POS systems and mobile payments. You have most likely seen their logo at tills within the supermarket.

Myself and 3 team mates worked with the companies Lead Innovation Architect in order to research and develop an early concept for improving children’s financial education. We were able to travel to Dundee, meet the team and get a tour around the design and manufacturing facilities that they have.

Working on the project they gave us, which was a deliberately vague project definition, allowed us to take complete creative control over the concept. We were then able to decide whether we wanted to opt for a physical product, educational class, app, system or game in order to improve children’s ability to budget from a young age.

We created a scale model, CAD Renders, branding, packaging, software mock-up, folio and a business model as part of our final solution.

How did you benefit from doing the Industrial Group Project?

Working with 3 students from different courses was a great opportunity to learn from different methods of thinking, which created a truly multidisciplinary learning environment. I recognised the importance of great communication and making the most of each other’s strengths to benefit the team.

On handing in our work to university we also had to pitch our project to an auditorium full of engineers and students from companies such as Rolls Royce, Nike and NCR Representatives. This was a fantastic opportunity to throw us out of our comfort zone and a nice way to end to the project, suited and booted in the Universities Innovation Centre.

Have you gained any other industrial experience during your studies?

Yes, I also went on the DMEM study trip to Barcelona!

Around 15 students and I were able to gain insight into the world of design in a brand new light. We were given a guided tour around the SEAT manufacturing plant, seeing industry 4.0 in its prime. We ventured the streets of Barcelona, understanding its rich design culture and also attended an incredible design workshop in a world renowned design school.

This experience was truly once in a lifetime and gave us a great perspective on design on a worldwide scale.