On March 31st, IEA was host to a tour through its factory, sponsored by the local SME chapter. Participants were five students from Gateway Technical College, SME chairman George Yust and GTC Student Chapter Adviser, Rich Buhnerkemper.
Phil Bulwicki of IEA’s engineering staff was the official IEA host. He led the group through the heart of the company’s production process; core fabrication, core, cooling and back section assembly and final assembly.
Kevin Schmidt, Director of Manufacturing, was up next, guiding the group through the latest expansion to IEA’s manufacturing capability, the fabrication department. There the group was literally walked through the progression materials take from sheet metal to a stamped/laser cut flat part to a formed section to a welded component part, which is then moved to the assembly departments they had visited earlier in the tour. The design of the welding department and its robotic equipment proved a particular highlight.
“Seeing first hand the size and range of our products, and learning what it takes to design and produce them, kept the group engaged and enthusiastic throughout the tour,” said Bulwinki. “They asked a lot of great questions and seemed genuinely amazed at how many different places our products are essential to making vital localized power possible.”
The final stop on the two-hour tour was the Calorimeter Lab, where Test Technician Craig Snyder got to demonstrate one of primary reasons IEA is able to guarantee its customers that the products they buy will perform up to specification. Being the “techiest” place on the tour, the Lab garnered a great deal of interest, with several students inquiring about the possibility of future employment.
“We were more than happy to work with SME in providing this group a close-up experience with all that industrial manufacturing involves and the opportunities it can provide to them”, said Schmidt.