May 03, 2006
Seagate teamed up with a group of four students at the school as part of the annual Engineering Education Scheme, which is organised by Sentinus, one of the largest providers of business education activity in Europe. The initiative aims to increase the number of young people choosing to enter careers in the field of engineering by presenting them with a project that will require them to conduct research, develop ideas, trial potential solutions, and record outcomes in order to decide on the best end-solution.
Participating companies provide the skills and knowledge of an experienced engineer who mentors the student team on a specific project that, once completed, will be of real benefit to the host company. Meanwhile the pupils benefit by developing a range of skills and experience that only a practical, business-related project can deliver.
Paul Talley, a senior engineer at Seagate's Limavady facility, mentored the students through their project, which involved them working in the wash area of the manufacturing process. The team was tasked with selecting a suitable replacement for the discharge elevator - a light-weight lifting mechanism, which removes, lowers and turns the disc for the next stage of the manufacturing process. In coming up with a new design, the students had to ensure that certain criteria were fulfilled: it had to increase system reliability; have no impact on tool throughput; reduce repair time; and reduce the cost of components held as spares. The students' solution was a pneumatic slide that will now be put to use within the Limavady facility.
Limavady Grammar School student, Sarah Semple, said about participating in the project, "I always liked technology and practical classes and was keen to get some experience of an engineer's life in the real world ahead of making up my mind on which career to work towards. Thanks to Seagate I'm now much more aware of what's involved in careers within the engineering field."
After they completed the research and development stage, the student group prepared a written report on their project and formally presented their findings at the recent showcase finale - a public exhibition and ceremony at Queen's University, Belfast.
"It was great to see such young minds come up with logical and practical solutions," said Seagate's Paul Talley. "Their decision-making capabilities were unclouded by preconceived notions of what types of components were traditionally used in our facility. A number of less traditional component types were considered for this application before selecting the pneumatic slide and this type of open-ended selection process reminded me of the importance of 'thinking outside the box.' Each member of the team certainly demonstrated promise for a career in the engineering field."
Ken Smith, physics teacher at Limavady Grammar School, added, "Not only have they developed a very useful solution for Seagate but they've developed their own team building, problem solving, and communication skills along the way which will stand them in good stead in whatever career they choose."
Seagate is the worldwide leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of hard disc drives, providing products for a wide-range of Enterprise, Desktop, Mobile Computing, and Consumer Electronics applications. Seagate's business model leverages technology leadership and world-class manufacturing to deliver industry-leading innovation and quality to its global customers, and to be the low cost producer in all markets in which it participates. The company is committed to providing award-winning products, customer support and reliability to meet the world's growing demand for information storage. Seagate can be found around the globe and at www.seagate.com.
Seagate, Seagate Technology and the Wave logo are registered trademarks of Seagate Technology LLC. All other trademarks or registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
Seagate has two facilities in Northern Ireland, employing over 2,000 people between them. At the Springtown wafer fabrication facility, the Company develops and manufactures the recording heads, which write information onto and read information from the recording disc inside a computer's hard drive. The Company's Limavady facility produces nickel-plated aluminium substrates, the core material on which computer hard disc drives read, write and store digital information.
Sentinus is a not for profit organisation and is one of the largest providers of business/education activity in the United Kingdom. Through the establishment of partnerships between education and industry, the organisation creates an awareness of the exciting opportunities available to young people in science, engineering and technology and assists their development in readiness for the world of work.
As part of a national network of SETPOINTs Sentinus has a strong focus on young people, from 5 to 19 years old, enhancing their life skills through challenging and exciting experiences with an industrial focus.
Sentinus initiatives promote innovation and creativity in science, technology and engineering and give pupils from our schools the opportunity to work with other people, gain real experience of practical problem solving, develop communication skills and make informed career decisions.
The work of Sentinus is supported by many companies and organisations throughout Northern Ireland, providing vital opportunities for young people, nurturing the workforce of tomorrow and making a real impact on society.
Further information can be obtained from Sentinus on Belfast (028) 9262 7755.