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A day in the life of…
Graduate Engineer at Cochlear
Michael Bettison graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) (Honours), from The University of Adelaide in 2016, and is now a Graduate Engineer at Cochlear.
Alarm goes off, I get up and get ready.
Leave for the train station, occasionally I’ll say good morning to John Howard on the way, out for his morning walk – he lives just around the corner.
Admire the majestic Cochlear building on the walk up from the station. Built on the Macquarie University campus, Cochlear collaborates with the university and its hearing research partners, centred in the Australian Hearing Hub.
I arrive at my desk and check emails from the evening production shift. Shift managers oversee each manufacturing area and will highlight any issues and give progress on investigations currently running in their area. I apply my problem solving and analysis skills to work towards a solution.
Every day at 9am there is a stand up status meeting at the production dashboards to keep stakeholders from procurement, production, planning and quality informed – I attend once a week. Shift managers report on output and yield of the main operations during the previous day’s shifts, and discuss any trends identified and what is being done to fix them.
One of my tasks in production support is investigating why a sintered ceramic part is not fitting into the titanium implant chassis. I measure samples on a Smartscope and organise some trials for a root cause analysis of when and how the parts are deforming.
Some of the other grads head to grab a coffee and for some fresh air and a chat, to compare notes on what we’re all doing in our current rotations.
Mechanical team meeting for my R&D project – everyone shares updates on their work packages. It’s crucial to keep each other up to date as changes in one work package often impact others. My main work package here is impact testing of one of the components to ensure it meets the applicable standards. It’s important not only to perform the testing, but also to document the entire process – working in a regulated industry such as medical devices means reports such as this can be checked in an audit. If it is isn’t documented, it isn’t done!
Lunchtime mixed netball – I put together a team with my colleagues here at Cochlear from a few different departments, we go have a run around to get the blood flowing.
Cake Club – to live up to the unofficial name of Cakelear, a group of us gather for homemade cake to celebrate birthdays, in addition to each department’s monthly birthday cakes. Because you can never have enough cake.
Catch up with my graduate sponsor to touch base on how my rotations are going, ask any questions I have and discuss my next rotations. This is a fairly informal meeting but it’s useful to check in every fortnight.
Fast Response Meeting: after the higher level insights into production at the 9am meeting, this is a smaller meeting to drill down into the specifics. This is where I report my progress on the investigation this morning and we put in place some actions to prevent it recurring.
Back to my R&D rotation, I run some early characterisation testing of a new polymer material. I mix the components and use a rheometer to replicate the curing cycle while also measuring the viscosity. This helps gather data to optimise cure temperature and duration to reduce the cycle time.
CAD modelling of a testing jig in PTC Creo. This jig allows measurement of how the material shrinks while curing, so it replicates the part of the device where the polymer will be used.
Head to the Red Cross Blood Donor Centre in Chatswood for a plasma donation. Not only do I get the warm fuzzy feeling of saving lives, they make me a milkshake to boot.
My brother is in Sydney this week for his work, so I head to dinner with him. He’s keen on Thai food so it’s great there is plenty of Asian cuisine around the area.
Catch the train home, then (try to) play some Santana on my guitar that I’ve had for years but still don’t know how to play.
Watch some Netflix before I wind down for bed ready for tomorrow.
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