JR Automation - 3rd Rotation
Employer: JR Automation
Job Title: Controls Engineering Intern
Major: Engineering - Computer
Received Credit: Yes
Description of the Organization
JR has been growing rapidly, I have witnessed some changes even in the short time since beginning my first co-op rotation. While JR has continued to grow, it has managed to maintain (for the most part) a small company feel. This is in large part due to the company's "Business Unit" structure. Using this structure, one of the world's leading automated systems integrators with more than 2000 employees worldwide, divides itself into "Business Units" which each feel like their own small automation company. They operate largely independent of one another, helping one another and communicating as needed; each BU has its own flavor, and often times works on different types of machines and/or machines serving customers in different industries. I love that I can work for a big name company that still has a small company feel.
Description of the Tasks/Projects Completed
Briefly, and ignoring many specifics that are covered in a different prompt, I was charged with commissioning two different machines. This means assigning IPs, configuring devices, and establishing a happy network by which the PLC communicates with its peripherals. I also was charged with being primarily responsible for programming an HMI for one machine, and assisting in the HMI program of another. I assisted in debugging PLC logic, hardware testing (I/O checking, VFD testing, etc.), I/O mapping and writing some of the safety program for one of the projects. I also assisted with auto-sequences, manual motions, dry cycle testing. I'm sure I'm missing a lot. If you prove yourself capable and eager, JR is always happy to give you more.
Skills/Knowledge Gained Through The Experience
Specifically, I have gained further mastery of Allen-Bradley PLC programming (Ladder Logic), especially with regard to safety programming, IO-Link protocols, explicit messaging, auto sequences, as well as different learning about different motion axis powered by a variety of drives, hardware testing, and I'm sure there's even more I'm forgetting. I've also bettered my understanding of Allen-Bradley HMIs, in addition to gaining a great deal of additional experience with these, I have also more specifically come to understand the use of remote PLC operation of the HMI, HMI security (beyond object visibility but also the code which supports HMI security functionality), HMI objects subject to ActiveX control, HMI global connections, and HMI macros. Furthermore, I have developed a very in-depth understanding of communication networks. I was given the opportunity to help establish a ring topology, whereas systems I had worked with previously were all star/line. In that same vein, I gained an immense amount of experience configuring/initializing devices so that they might communicate and function.
Favorite Part of the Experience
My favorite part was being given the opportunity to travel for JR for the second time. JR perpetually rewards me for my work. Because it is not common for interns to travel for JR, it fills me with pride and encourages me to learn more and work harder. I always know that my efforts will be rewarded, and being allowed to travel as an intern is a huge reminder. Furthermore, being on the road with my co-workers is always a lot of fun because of the exceptional people that JR is absolutely full of.
How the Experience Influenced Future Career Goals
I have been encouraged by previous rotations to pursue a position at JR after graduation and this rotation has done little to change that. I hope to continue working at JR automation after graduation and continue proving myself so that I might move into a senior, and eventually even lead position. I've loved my time with the company and I hope to return after graduation.