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Adam Schoolfield stands in front of the JTEKT headquarters during his coop work experience.

Student Spotlight: Adam Schoolfield

Adam Schoolfield, a senior in mechanical engineering, gained valuable work experience during his co-op with JTEKT Vonore. In his role as a Manufacturing Engineer, Schoolfield actively participated in process improvement and product development, skills that he can apply to his future career.

My name is Adam Schoolfield. I am a senior in mechanical engineering. During my time at JTEKT Vonore, I worked as a Manufacturing Engineer for the assembly processes in the plant. My job was to design and build improvements for steering rack assembly machines on the pre-existing BMW and Honda lines. It was my responsibility to work with senior manufacturing engineers on creating improvements that reduced machine down time or decreased manufacturing cycle time. Many of my designs were intended to reduce the amount of time a steering rack would remain at one assembly station. I also made a few designs intended to improve traceability of assembly components, guaranteeing that they were correctly assembled and that their quality was within standards.

One of the greatest challenges I faced while working at JTEKT was learning new terminology, acronyms, and each individual process on the assembly line. I made sure that I asked questions when I did not know what specific terminology or acronyms meant, and I spent a great deal of time close to the assembly line to understand each process and how it worked. Once I understood all the company specific terms and equipment, I found myself being able to communicate problems and solutions to my coworkers much more effectively. The key lesson I learned was that good communication and asking questions when uncertainty arises is vital to keeping operations running smoothly and coordinating with others.

The most valuable benefit I received by working with JTEKT was real world experience. Many of the things I learned from this assignment will never be taught to me in school. I learned about industry vendors and standard purchasing sites, how to design machines to be safe and easy to perform maintenance on, how to create parts that can be easily manufactured, how to ensure the quality of the product through sensors and standard work procedures, and many more similar experiences that have greatly improved my ability as an engineer.

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