Internship Field: Mechanical Engineering, Car Industry
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Host: DaimlerChrysler AG
Location: Stuttgart/ Sindelfingen
Duration: 3 months in Summer 2005
Description: I was stationed in the production planning department, on a team that was focused on optimizing the design and improving the assembly procedures for vehicle wiring harnesses. My boss was heading a project focused on facilitating communication between the designers, manufactures and vendors to establish a set of guidelines to make vehicle assembly more cost efficient and ergonomical for the workers.
In addition to assisting with this project, I worked independently on two related projects. My first project was to prepare a presentation on possible ways to improve the design of the rear wiring harness from an assembly perspective. I used ideas from the brainstorming sessions, previous presentations and data from the assembly line to determine how much time and money could potentially be saved with each solution. My conclusions were compiled into a power point presentation, which I presented to my team (about 10 people) during one of our weekly meetings.
My second project involved investigating a potential application of ideas and concepts from the areas of bionics and neuroanatomy in the area of production oriented product design for electrical systems. I read a neuroanatomy text book and created an analogy between the human nervous system and the electrical systems in a car. I devised several potential ways to use what I learned about the nervous system to improve electrical design and assembly."
Comment: "The skills I acquired were more interpersonal than technical. I had never worked in an office before. I learned how to work with other people in that environment. One of my team’s most important functions was communicating ideas. They needed to take the technical results obtained by the engineers and convince other departments and higher management levels, with little or no technical background, that they were indeed the best possible solutions. I had never realized how important these tasks were to making a successful product, and making a company run smoothly, so it was very helpful to see this first hand and learn how to more effectively communicate ideas. These skills will be very useful in any career I decide to pursue.
The most interesting part of my internship was the time I spent visiting the assembly line and the development center. I had the chance to see how the cars were put together and speak with the people who were doing it. It was nice to see the actual product and how certain ideas were being implemented. It was also very rewarding to really get to know a number of Germans. My office was much more diverse than I had expected it to be. Many were non-native speakers, hailing from Russia, Spain, Iran and England. I got so many different perspectives on a number of issues from these people."