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From assembling a robot to designing an automated arm – students complete work experiences at Eaton

Updated: Oct 27, 2020

Eaton Ltd in South Molton - Devon, which is part of the Fuel and Motion Control (FMC) group, have since 2017 been hosting week long work experiences for local young people who gained a silver level Industrial Cadets accreditation at the end of their experience. Presently 34 students have completed the Silver award. The site currently has around 450 employees working in four main factories. Their capabilities include machining, casting, composite, assembly and test and electrical actuation, all of which the students had the opportunity to explore.

The weeks are action packed; the students meet with different departments from across the business. They usually start their week by assembling a robot (DIRK). The students generally spent the rest of their time researching and designing an automated arm that performs a specific task based around picking up, moving and putting back down an object. The parts were designed using Solidworks, and then manufactured either using additive manufacture or traditional turning/milling techniques.

Nigel Carter from Manufacturing Engineering commented:

“This is a great project that allows us to build on the basic idea and adapt as our students come up with more and more interesting designs.”

Megan Sowden, Apprentice and former Silver level Industrial Cadet at Eaton added:

“The Industrial Cadets framework meant that the work experience was much more structured than the previous work experience that I had at a different company”.

Three of the Silver work experience students have gone on to become Apprentices at Eaton Ltd and are now mentoring the new work experience students. Recently 11 students have graduated as ‘Challenger’ Industrial Cadets students, 8 students have graduated as ‘Bronze’ Industrial Cadets and Eaton have had their first ‘Gold’ graduation for a student from Plymouth University who has been doing intensive Solidworks training for 5 weeks onsite. These work experiences could not happen without the dedication and enthusiasm of Nigel Carter (Manufacturing Engineer) and Alan Lethaby (Manufacturing Engineering Manager).

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