From The Classroom to The Real World- My Engineering Internship
My Engineering Internship, here it goes:
Throughout the period of the internship at Industrial Controls and Automation, INC., I shadowed the project manager and the project engineer and was able to visit different companies where they were working on a variety of projects; the companies ranged from a paper factory, to a freight forwarding company, and a bread-making machine factory.
During these visits, I got the chance to open the panel boards and grasp the purpose of the components that I have learned about in class, such as the circuit breakers, relays, frequency drivers, and more. For instance, I had not really understood how the relays worked from my Power Systems class, and it was not until I saw and worked with a real relay that I understood how the contacts worked, and how the relay sends a signal, but does not act on it.
Foremost, relating it back to my class, in a line with a fault, the relay is the one that would tell the breaker to trip, but the relay itself does not fix the problem—a concept that I explained to my friends in the class that had also not understood how the relays functioned. Overall, the past summer I have interned at ICA has challenged not only what I have learned but also the way I learn and practice.
As a student, one of the toughest parts of getting out in the real world is reconciling the theory with the practice because nothing is as black and white as we are often taught in class. Moreover, it is also easy to get accustomed to having one answer for almost every exercise, and unconsciously end up thinking there is only one solution for a problem. For instance, one of the first tasks I had was programming on the LOGOComfort application for the SIEMENS LOGO! PLC, and I kept insisting on getting the solution for every exercise.
After working alongside the Project Director, Luis Guerra, on one of the tasks, I witnessed how my idea to solve the problem was different from his—but the important part is that my idea worked, and it was as valid as his. Not only for programming but for everything in general, there are multiple solutions out there and the best one depends on what you are prioritizing, such as resources over time.
Subsequently, I also realized that there are different ways to program, for instance linear vs. step and transition programming; whereas in my programming classes, I just worked on the programs without really thinking HOW—as long as it worked, I did not really care how I did it, which took more trial and error than usual because there was really no thinking process behind it.
However, since I started using the LOGOComfort, I was highly encouraged to work on a pseudocode, either writing it all out, defining the steps, drawing the time sequences of the inputs and outputs—whatever I wanted to do, but to just give it some thought on paper before using the computer. This practice, although tedious, helped me program faster, and whenever I was having problem, it was mostly because I was lazy and did not want to write everything down.
Foremost, the LOGO! training has been one of my favorites because I have never really been a fan of programming, and even though I struggled completing the assignments I was given, I enjoyed it and started liking it.
All in all, the engineering internship has been an amazing experience that helped me understand what I have learned in class and helped me regain interest in something that I thought I hated.
If you are interested in knowing more about this company, ICA Inc., USA, do not hesitate to contact them! They have the latest automation products in stock, and the best engineers that offer the best engineering services for your company.