Every year, Rotary Power employs placement students to help on various projects. A placement can be great way for engineering students to receive hands on experience and to apply their academic knowledge to working life.

We spoke to Dominic and Ethan, engineering students at Durham University about their summer placements at Rotary Power, what they’ve been up to and their future plans…

What are you studying?

Dominic: I’m entering my penultimate year in October 2021, studying an integrated masters in Mechanical Engineering.

Ethan: I’m also entering my final year of my Aeronautical Engineering integrated masters in October 2021, which will be more specialised towards aircraft.

Why did you apply for the summer placement?

Dominic: Over the Christmas holidays, I completed a project with Stephenson Gobin developing an analysis tool in Microsoft Excel and validating it with finite element analysis (FEA). In the New Year, I received an email from the Business Development Manager to see if I was interested in the engineering summer placement at Rotary Power. I applied and here I am!

Ethan: I have previously been involved in two projects with Rotary Power. During the Christmas period I worked on optimising a back plate on a XJ05 motor and used FEA to work out if it had improved. Later in the year I repeated the project but focused on a bigger XJ20 motor. I really enjoyed working with Rotary Power so I was keen to apply for the engineering project this summer.

How would you describe your time at Rotary Power?

Dominic: I’ve found the summer placement insightful. Being able to learn from other engineers and taking advantage of their knowledge has been great. The team have been very helpful.

Ethan: It’s been interesting learning new things and seeing your ideas develop. Everyone at Rotary Power is hands on and it’s been nice to use my academic background and put it into practice.

What projects have you been working on?

Dominic: I’ve been working on a range of projects within the design engineering team. This has included analysing components to assist with improving designs, computer aided design (CAD), and a bit of FEA. One of the main areas was evaluating a new piece of software and using it to produce technical documentation.

Ethan: One of my tasks was to rebuild the existing results processor used in the development lab. With the updates I’ve made, the processor now works on any rig using any data logger. Manually, these tests would take about five hours to process where as now it takes under ten minutes.

What have you enjoyed most?

Dominic: I’ve enjoyed investigating new software and using it to help implement a design change. Being able to apply knowledge learnt at university to real life projects has helped further my understanding and gaining experience in engineering software has been helpful.

Ethan: I didn’t have much experience working with hydraulic motors. At university we mainly work with diesel engines and electrical motors. I’ve enjoyed learning something totally new to me.

How will the summer placement help you in future?

Dominic: Applying my academic skills to real life scenarios will help me during my masters and after graduating. Hopefully, it will make it easier when applying for graduate positions too!

Ethan: The analysis skills I’ve developed will definitely help me for my master’s thesis. I’m keen to work for an engineering company in the future so the experience will be beneficial.

We would like thank Dominic and Ethan for their hard work over the summer and wish them the best of luck in their final stretch at university.

A placement for engineering students are useful when applying for postgraduate roles. Find out more about how a British Engines summer placement student became a Senior Business Systems Engineer.