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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Week Three interning with Rolls-Royce

Winner of the Female Undergraduate of the Year, Ella continues her weekly summary of what she has been up to whilst interning at Rolls-Royce
This week I have been hard at work trying to re-configure and streamline some internal processes. This includes creating contract maps of aftermarket services that my team are managing, as well as looking at the objectives I will need to cover over my next few weeks at Rolls-Royce. To be honest, I’m a bit stunned that my third week is already over – it won’t be long until I go to China in August for a 2 – 3 week business trip as part of my prize!
On Tuesday I was lucky enough to be afforded a privileged insight into the Trent XWB Pre-Production shop in Aero Repair and Overhaul (AR&O). Andy Knox, Head of Pre-Production  - Operations, working on the XWB engine, gave me a great tour and there were a couple of things that, as a non-mechanical engineer, really struck me. First is the sheer enormity of a modern plane engine. The Trent XWB is particularly large, but even in my experiences of flying, I have never stopped to really look at how massive the engines are on a plane. In my family, we have a tendency to measure the size of things by whether my exceedingly tall twin brother, Joe, can fit inside them. I can safely tell you that there is plenty of space inside a Trent XWB for many Joes! 
I was also struck by the complexity of an engine and the steps that go into the production and assembly of parts in order to create a working engine. Of course I already knew that an engine is very, very complicated but I think it takes being able to have a close look at all the pipes and parts in order to really appreciate the intricacy of every piece.  It’s also interesting, and reassuring, to hear how much is done when things don’t quite function as they are supposed to. The pre-production process struck me as highly reactive, constantly evolving to fit needs, and it’s really interesting to compare how things are being done on this new-build engine compared to engines in the past.
I’ve also been spending some time sitting in on meetings with my manager, Larissa, to see how she is planning and managing a visit for the end of the week from one of our Greater China customers. It’s a task that is a lot more Customer-Management focussed, whereas up until now I have been getting a much broader overview of the whole Civil Large Engines division, the products we deal with and the technical management side. I’m starting to feel a lot more settled in the team too – luckily there’s been a lot less of the initial embarrassing hiccups of inadvertently stealing someone’s chair and sending emails to the wrong people!