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Career Story: Industrial Engineer For A Fiber Optics Company

Industrial Engineer For A Fiber Optics Company

Job Title: Process Engineer

Education: BSE Industrial Engineering, University of Iowa

Job Tasks: The company I work for is a worldwide provider of passive (no electricity) and active (very detailed circuit board paths) fiber optic devices. The company provides kitted product (for customer install), assembled product (immediate use by customer), and custom customer specific product designs.

In a typical day, I am working with all three product types. Kits and assembled products are typically a released item (it has a drawing with each part number listed, all test requirements, any special requirements and a routing). But there is a steady stream of new personnel that require training on how the kit parts and assembled product are assembled and packaged. I also train the inspectors at Final Inspection (last step before customer sees the product) on what is acceptable/failure as far as the performance of the specific product.

The custom designs involve working closely with the Sales/Marketing Department (to provide customer input and feedback), Mechanical Design Engineering (to provide material and design support) and myself to evaluate the manufacturability of the product.

This position often requires fast thinking, good analytical skills and attention to minor details for when things just don't quite work.

In addition, I also evaluate the workflow process. This covers quicker, safer and more efficient ways to do things. Examples are eliminating repetitive motions, determining which safety equipment to use and where, and developing easy preventive maintenance processes.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: I think the best part is finding and fixing things to make people's lives better. Not only can I help provide the customer with a more user friendly device, but I can also provide fellow employees with a safer and more efficient place to work.

The worst part is when there are external deadlines placed on product that are unrealistic. This requires early mornings with late evenings and many questions as to why isn't the product fixed yet when the cause is still being evaluated.

Job Tips:
1. Take as many actual mechanical design classes as you can. It makes it so much easier to grasp how the design effects, and can be manipulated, the process to build the part.

2. Practice taking things apart and putting them back together. (toasters work well) See how many different ways you can do this with the toaster still working. Then try explaining and documenting exactly what you did. Can you follow your own documented instructions?

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