MICHIGAN CITY – Three alumni of Safe Harbor’s Michigan City Robotics Team have earned internships this summer at Sullair, an industry leader in compressed air solutions.

“When we began the Safe Harbor Robotics Program in 2011, we believed that the skills students learned on the Robotics Team would translate directly to work world," said Robotics Team lead mentor Al Walus, a senior project manager at Christopher B. Burke Engineering. "And that’s what we are seeing."

Rishi Verma, third-year year engineering student at Purdue University; and Devin Glenn and Scott Kreighbaum, second-year engineering students at Valparaiso University, spent their high school years learning to design and build robots as part of the robotics team.

They spent their summer break learning to design and build air compressors at Sullair as interns.

Describing one of his summer projects, Verma said, “I conducted time studies for the small portable compressor line. This allowed us to review each assembly step individually to verify bottlenecks.

"For example, I determined the wiring station was taking much longer than the other stations, so Mike Mitchell and I balanced the assembly line. Our preliminary line balancing will ideally allow us to produce one more small compressor a day by eliminating the bottleneck.”

Hiring Robotics Team alumni benefited both Sullair and the interns, according to Sullair senior manufacturing engineer Michael Mitchell.

“Rishi clearly has a good educational background and we incorporated him into our processes from day one to review with him the practical application of theoretical concepts," Mitchell said.

"He grasped the technology and developed relationships with people right away. No matter the path this young man takes, he will succeed given the energy and dedication he has shown here at Sullair this summer.”

Krieghbaum, who worked in the Research and Development Department, said, “My responsibilities for the internship were mostly directed towards improving testing processes. I worked to improve the documentation of testing procedures and data collection.

"I also led a project to improve automation of testing on the test stands. This will increase the safety of conditions for the technicians as well as decrease time spent on each test.”

Glen, who interned in the Product Management Department said, “I have had the ability to better understand the importance of cooperation, communication and cross-functionality within the manufacturing industry.

"I have been able to, in some respects, view the product in nearly every stage of its life from VOC to initial development to retirement.”

Reflecting back on his robotics experience and Sullair internship, Verma added, “High school robotics really showed me that I wanted to pursue a career in engineering. The entire process of being given a challenge and a limited time constraint to overcome this challenge captivated me in robotics.

"From these experiences, I knew I wanted to pursue a career where I could apply these problem-solving skills," Verma said. "I am grateful to Sullair for giving me this opportunity to learn so much about the manufacturing engineering field. I have met terrific people here that have offered me a tremendous amount of guidance.”

Sullair wasn't the only company to hire former Robotics Team members as interns.

"Along with Rishi, Devin and Scott, who are interning at Sullair, other Robotics Team alumni have successfully completed internships at Dwyer Instruments, ArcelorMittal, Texas Instruments, Intel Corporation and Task Force Tips,” Walus said.

For more information about the Robotics Program student internship program, contact Sherri Silcox at ssilcox@mcas.k12.in.us.

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