Week 2 – Eaton Kenan Fellow Internship

I want to begin this post on a personal note. At the end of June, my husband entered the hospital with a critical illness. This unexpected life event threw my plans into a tailspin and my internship into question. I want to express my gratitude and appreciation for the flexibility and concern shown to me during this trying time. Eaton Corporation’s Forest City location, Lori Ray, and the Kenan Fellowship Program directors worked with me to reschedule my second and third-week experiences. The accommodations allowed me to take care of my situation and to gain the most from my Kenan Fellow Internship.

Upon my return to Eaton, I explored the assessment of the quality of the products produced during the manufacturing process. Operators inspect materials, and if they do not adhere to strict product specifications, then it is labeled as nonconforming and placed into a “hold cage.” These materials are examined more thoroughly by quality engineers and management, and if it is defective, then it is scrapped. Some examples include burned wrap, patchy curing of the hose, bubbling, outer or inner diameter errors, wrinkles, and hose that does not meet length specifications. The quality manager and engineer sit down and discuss each item in the “hold cage.” They utilize a problem-solving process like 5 Why or 8D to identify the root causes of the problem and determine how best to deal with them be they man, method, machine, or material issues. The results of these problem-solving strategies often reduce or eliminate the root causes creating less scrap and the costs associated with it.

Another aspect of the quality assessment process is carried out in a laboratory. Quality testing for burst pressure ratings, tensile strength, conductivity, adhesion strength, and many more are performed on each product line several times yearly. The laboratory is inspected often so that the product safety certifications can be maintained. The lab technician utilizes a wide variety of tools and techniques to perform the job. Calipers, rulers, tape measures, pressure gauges, OD and ID gauges, and a microscope are a few examples. The technician told me during my visit that it is one of the few jobs where someone gets to “blow stuff up” every day. During my visit, the technician burst three difference product samples well above the maximum pressure rating for the hose. For example, one product, rated for a 900 psi burst pressure, ruptured at more the 2000 psi. Pictured is a product with a fitting that was blown off at high pressure. Knowledge of when and how product failures occur ensures the safety of the product when it goes to market and becomes part of a vehicle or other hydraulic hose application.

Overall, I enjoyed learning how quality is maintained and how product testing is carried out. Any comments and opinions are my own and do not reflect those of, and are not made on behalf of, the company or its affiliates.

Eaton Corporation’s Forest City Hydraulics Facility – Week 1 – Kenan Fellowship Internship

Eaton Corporation in Forest City, NC, produces hydraulic hoses utilized in a wide variety of mobile or industrial applications. Whether the hose is used to clean, cook, transport, or other processes that require moving fluids, Eaton produces products that can function under low or high pressure or temperature conditions, and can provide variable flow rates safely and efficiently.

The corporation places a high degree of importance on safety in the workplace and develops an atmosphere of teamwork, creativity, and caring among its workforce. Eaton’s work culture, as described on the Eaton website (www.eaton.com), claims to be moral, passionate, accountable, efficient, transparent, and committed to learning. This culture, recognized by Fortune, Forbes, and Newsweek to name just a few, provides workers with an environment in which they can immerse themselves taking ownership of their jobs while being rewarded with competitive wages, chances for advancement and professional growth, and excellent benefits.

On paper and online, Eaton sounds like a phenomenal company for which to work.  The reality does not fall short. In my first week, I have had the opportunity to explore the production process, examine the importance of human resources to the production equation, and begin to learn the tiered structure of the management and supervisory roles. On day one, I underwent safety orientation and spent the majority of my day with Lori Ray, the Human Resources Manager, and my Kenan Fellowship mentor. We developed a plan for my three-week internship, and then Lori introduced me to a “Standard Work” document that is available for every job in the production facility. We used as the example the HR Manager’s Standard Work document.  This document provides guidelines for the expectations for daily, weekly, monthly, and annual practices associated with a specific job. The HR manager is responsible for talent acquisition through recruiting and hiring, employee benefits, pay, recognition, and so much more.

On day two, I was able to begin my time “on the floor” where the actual production of hydraulic hose is accomplished. I was allowed to follow the production process from the material preparation to tube extrusion and braiding. I had no idea of the complexity required for the production of what seems like a simple product. I was reminded along the way that these hoses are utilized in motor vehicles, transfer trucks, and even in aeronautic systems. The safety and reliability of the product are critical to the safety of the people riding in these modes of transportation. Day three took me through the processes of covering, wrapping, autoclaving, unwrapping, adding stenciling, and then finishing.

Day four and five allowed me to begin exploring how materials are handled and shipped, how management directs production in order to meet the demands of the consumer,  how supervisors work with employees to ensure safety and quality product production, and how the plant reduces wastes, maintains energy efficiency, and provides a safe and orderly work environment.

Overall, the week opened my eyes to the manufacturing process, the demand for reliable, efficient employees, and from the perspective of an educator, I became aware that schools need to be more proactive in preparing students for the world of work.  I look forward to two more weeks at Eaton Corporation and producing quality instructional materials to share with my students.  Please note that any comments and opinions are my own and do not reflect those of, and are not made on behalf of, the company or its affiliates.

Taking PD Back to the Classroom!

The KFPD Summer Institute lived up to the promise of leaving the 2019-2020 Kenan Fellows #tiredandinspired! The hours were long but filled with new ideas that I plan to take back to my classroom. I am setting as a personal goal the incorporation of more apps and social media into the pedagogical strategies, approaches, and assessment tools utilized during instruction. I also hope to live my brand as an educator to help my students take ownership of the knowledge that I share with them whether they are in my Chemistry, Introduction to Biotechnology, or Biology 111/112 classes.

The professional development experience was longer, more intensive, and built a more authentic sense of community than any previous PD experiences in which I have participated. Overall, I look forward to completing my internship with my mentor, Lori Ray, at Eaton over the next few weeks and moving on to create a project-based learning (PBL) module that will engage and expand opportunities for my students.

Highlights of the KFPD Summer Institute

The highlight of the summer institute was the trip to Judaculla Rock and the scavenger hunt!  My team consisting of Caroline Olson, Sheronica Sharp, Rebecca Bozkurt, and Nicole Emmert exemplify the value of PD teambuilding. We rose to the extreme challenge to complete 64 of the 66 tasks set for us over the course of the day at NCCAT, Judaculla Rock, and the trip to the river. We had fun, learned new things, played to each others’ strengths and by the end of the day accrued 8265 points!! This was enough to land us in 1st place!