Originally from Joinville, Brazil, Tigre Group is one of the largest manufacturers of plastic materials for construction sites in South America. It operates in a large majority of South America, including Peru, Colombia, Argentina and Ecuador. It also operates on a small scale in the United States in Janesville, Wisconsin. Tigre- Argentina has sixteen extrusion machines, ten of which produce PVC, three PP (Polypropylene) and three PE (Polyethylene) all of which produce over 100 tons daily. Also, it has thirty-six injection molding machines.
Thirteen of the injection molding machines produce PVC and the other twenty- three in PP, combining for a total of production of 8 tons daily.
One of the main reasons I chose to complete my professional experience in Tigre Argentina because of the opportunity to learn and help implement the concept of TPM (Total Production Maintenance). Also, the opportunity to work in a real engineering environment with qualified professionals. Not only that, I picked this company because of the new experience and challenge that would be to live in a country that has a different culture and language then mine.
The main problem of the project was being able to effectively communicate with all the different departments and after having the information, being able to differentiate and analyze what data was useful information and what wasn’t useful. The rationale for choosing that data was to use data from the past 12 months in order to have an up to date report on the OEE of the extrusion machines.
The project was successful in reporting/ informing the directory board of the effectiveness and the losses of the process of all the 18 extrusion lines.
The Project I was assigned consisted of collecting data in order to build a loss tree and determine the OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) of the extrusion process, from the moment the raw material comes in, to the very end where the PVC/ PP/ PE pipes are being packaged. In order to gather the data, it was necessary to determine the quality, availability and performance of the factory. In order to determine those you need to calculate runtime/ operation time, actual speed/normal speed and good product output/ total product output. After collecting all data, our main goal was to analyze and identify where the major losses take place and to investigate the ineffectiveness of that process. At first it was difficult to collect all the data due to the large process that extrusion is. This is because extrusion molding of PVC is a continuous process and in order to collect all the data it is required to follow all the steps of the Procedure. It required communication between sectors of the production, such as the raw material preparation and the extrusion sector. Also, challenges accompanied the necessity to balance not only this task, but many others. The project was successful, because I managed to conciliate all the necessary tasks and to communicate well with the different necessary sectors. This means I was able to gather the necessary information of the extrusion process, analyze it while also keeping the supervisors and different sectors of the factory up to date on the project.
Section III: The role of your education
Having an education from St. Ambrose University has helped me in many ways during this new experience that has been this internship. The classes that are specific to engineers such as PHYS-306 (Electronics), ENGR-302 (Dynamics), ENGR-303 (Strength of materials) and ME-312 (Thermodynamics) or classes that are considered to involve business and marketing such as ENGR-251 (Engineering Design Lab and Social Entrepreneurship) have helped me pull together important aspects from each class and connecting them to apply my knowledge into skills that take place in the processes happening from both the points of view, not only as an engineer, but also witnessing and being involved in marketing and the business side of the production. This is essential to understanding how to improve production and how it will affect all sectors, from manufacturing to marketing and commercial. When it comes to mathematics, Physics and Chemistry, it’s not applied directly in the sense that it was not “required” to do mathematical equations, but they are indirectly inserted in the process and you should be able to identify resistors and dissipator along with how they work.
Section IV: Professional Experience Assessment
1. What is professional responsibility? Describe a situation in which you or a colleague were required to act professionally. How did you or your colleague respond?
Professional responsibility according to, “What Is Professional Responsibility? Definition and Meaning.” BusinessDictionary.com, is the legal and moral duty of a professional to apply his or her knowledge in ways that benefit his or her client, and the wider society, without causing any injury to either. One situation in which I had to act professionally when doing preventive maintenance on the extrusion molding machine I observed workers without their protection gear (glasses, ear protection·etc.) I had to intervene and ask them to utilize all their equipment for their own safety. At first they were hesitant because they would argue that they have been working without protection for years and nothing happened. This was the main struggle, changing the culture of safety in the workplace. This is because the workers believe because if nothing happened, nothing will happen which is not true. After talking to the workers, I was successful in persuading them to want more safety, and use their safety gear.
2. What is ethical responsibility? Describe a situation in which you or a colleague were required to act ethically. How did you or your colleague respond?
Ethical responsibility is the ability to recognize, interpret and act upon multiple principles and values according to the standards within a given field and/or context “Ethical Responsibility.” Suny Empire State College, www.esc.edu/global-learning-qualifications-framework/learning-domains/ethical-responsibility/. One example of ethical responsibility that was evident during my professional experience was when my supervisor who is a mechanical engineer was asked to fill in a position in the factory which was not his expertise, he could’ve done it to “make him look good”, but because of his ethical responsibility and the rules of practice which an engineer should follow says “Engineers shall perform services only in the areas of their competence” “Code of Ethics.” Code of Ethics | National Society of Professional Engineers, www.nspe.org/resources/ethics/code-ethics. he didn’t do it.
3. What is the purpose of the General Education component of your engineering degree? Describe a situation in which your General Education provided you with a greater understanding of an engineering problem.
While in the beginning I believed as an engineer that general education was not necessary for me to be a good engineer. After having professional experience, my opinion changed, this is because I realized that having taken classes such as PHIL-102 (Critical thinking), English and COMM-132 (Survey of human communication) have helped with many skills like forming my ability to form opinions and inquisitions with critical thinking and the ability to express those opinions and thoughts in a way that creates effective communication with my coworkers and my supervisor. For instance, with COMM-132 I acquired presentation skills that will be of great value in my future career. During my internship I was required to present a project to the executive board and because of the practice and application in my communication’s class I had the skills necessary to present clearly and confidently.
4. Describe a situation in which you or a colleague displayed an understanding of engineering solutions in a global and societal context.
Pipes and fittings production produces a lot of scraps, and if a plan for recycling and reusing is not in place it can be really damaging to the environment and to the company.Changing the culture of the company and employees by implementing a system of reusing of the scraps, by shredding them and mixing them with the pure pvc, not only saves money and reduces the damage that untaken care scraps can do on the soil but it also demonstrates understanding of engineering solutions in a global and social context of my colleagues.
5. What does the term “life-long” meaning mean to you? Why is it important? Describe a situation in which you or a colleague engaged in life-long learning.
The term “life-long” meaning means to me knowledge and/or experiences that it marks you and you carry for life. One example in which I engaged in lifelong learning was by doing an internship in a country that I have never lived at and with a different language than my own. I consider this a life-long learning experience because not only I am learning about the daily life of an engineer in this company but I am also having to adapt and overcome difficulties in a different culture which helps to build my resilience and people skills which are necessary qualities if I want to be successful in my career.
6. Describe a time in which you or a colleague displayed a knowledge of contemporary issues?
Contemporary issues can be defined as “A contemporary issue can be defined as any event, idea, opinion or topic in a given subject that is relevant to the present day.” “Code of Ethics.” Code of Ethics | National Society of Professional Engineers, www.nspe.org/resources/ethics/code-ethics. Having that in mind, one time in which my supervisor displayed knowledge of contemporary issues was when reorganizing the factory he built what is called “islands” which are small spaces around the factory with a bench and coffee machine where you can use your phone. This is because everybody is so inclined to check their phone once in a while, it is not safe to do so in a factory with a variety of dangers, and by introducing those “islands” it gives the workers a safe place to do so. Jose Pereira, my supervisor, demonstrated knowledge in contemporary issues by doing this because instead of trying to prohibit everyone from bringing their phones to work, he realized in today’s day and age it’s easier to manage the use of cellphones rather than fighting against it.