ARCOL UK Ltd is a leading electronic component manufacturer based in Truro. They recently spotted various anomalies with one of its resistor manufacturing processes; this caused late deliveries, waste products and loss of revenue. Working with Foundation Degree students from Cornwall College, the issues were identified and a plan agreed to help rectify the problems.
Dave John, Lecturer, Engineering, Cornwall College Camborne said, “This is just the type of project that we like our students to get involved with, as it combines what they have learned, with a real-life scenario. Working closely with the business, we were invited in to collect data in order to establish the root cause of the problem, using statistical analysis techniques”.
The company which places great emphasis on ensuring that its manufacturing, production, sales and purchasing functions operate in one place, have devised a dynamic hub that meets the needs of every customer and partner with ease, regardless of location or requirement.
Working closely with the Quality Manager, Jayne Thorley and Lead Engineer Tristan Boase, the students made a number of visits to the plant, collecting data and observing the manufacturing process.
Tristan Boase, Lead Engineer, ARCIOL UK Ltd added, “The passion and commitment from the students was incredible, not only did they visit the site during normal lecture time, but they also visited us in their own time, some turning up as early as 6am to log machine activity and start-ups. By having fresh eyes and some great ideas, they really dug deep to help identify the issues which culminated in a professional presentation of their findings”.
The students were all working on a Manufacturing Systems module, this teaches manufacturing operations tools and techniques to analyse performance. In this case, the students use of LEAN and Six Sigma philosophies proved crucial in recognising the faults.
Course Tutor Jenna Saberton commented, “Engineering is a complex subject, therefore an activity that can apply classroom theory to a real problem-solving project promotes learning. Our students have really enjoyed this experience and they have all shown great enthusiasm and professionalism, whilst completing this task. Following extensive analysis of the collected data the students were able to pinpoint the product design aspects and manufacturing procedures that were causing the quality issues”.
The students in the group plan to continue their engineering studies once they complete the FdSc Engineering by completing a top-up BSc Engineering Design and Manufacture at Plymouth University.