Mechanical engineering major Carson Foy worked in the Quality Department at JTEKT in Vonore, Tennessee, a team is responsible for ensuring that every electric power-steering gear being shipped to customers is within specifications and up to quality standards.
As a co-op, I had the opportunity to gain valuable, hands-on experience in the automotive industry. I worked alongside many engineers and technicians in various departments around the plant. Though every day was different, most of the projects that I was involved in were ultimately to help improve the quality and efficiency of the production lines, or to help fix pressing issues facing the plant.
One daily responsibility I had was to perform steering gear tear-downs and performance testing for problem analysis from our production lines, customer line returns, or warranty returns. The type of analysis and testing done to a gear depended on the problem, and I was able to learn how to use various specialized equipment and machines, MCU diagnostic softwares, and metrology tools to analyze the root cause of an issue.
I also had the opportunity to improve my modeling skills with Solidworks to design and 3D print prototypes for various tools, pokayoke systems, and master fixturing, some of which were machined and implemented onto the production line.
Through this co-op experience, I was able to learn a ton about manufacturing, quality, and working with many people of different backgrounds. It was extremely rewarding to apply the theoretical knowledge I am learning in my classes to real world problems in an industry setting, and it made me excited about any future opportunities I may get in the industry.