Practical engineering skills and knowledge for Coalesce interns

Taking a break from brainstorms, research, design and testing at Coalesce, new interns Alison and Chris recently attended a training course in the manufacturing training facility at IMS Supplies Ltd, a Huntingdon-based manufacturing engineering firm.

IMS was established by veteran engineer, Ian Story, who built the firm up over 25 years. Frustrated by the scarcity of good apprentices, he wanted to improve the standard of training that apprentices received. To that end, he taught for a while at the local college and then, in 2012, established a training facility at IMS with the objective of providing training that would be more in tune with the needs of industry. It was here, under Ian’s tutelage, that the Coalesce interns developed a greater appreciation for manufacturing.

The objectives were two-fold:

1. To improve knowledge and understanding of manufacturing processes, helping them to design better products and prototypes and work effectively with manufacturers and suppliers.

2. To develop their practical skills to improve their ability to make and assemble test rigs and prototypes safely and to a high standard.

The course began with an introduction to common hand tools, refining skills and technique. A dose of theory followed, covering frequently used manufacturing processes as well as the machines that they would go on to use later in the week, including pillar drills, mills and lathes (which Chris was most excited to get on!).

A constant stream of tea was supplied, fuelling the team as they each made their first piece, a scratch gauge, made from aluminium, cast iron and silver steel.

The next piece to be completed was a tapping wrench, chosen to develop turning skills. The finished wrench should last decades, endowing the trainees with not only valuable skills and knowledge but also personalised hand tools!

After the course, Alison and Chris were effusive in their praise for Ian and the course, complaining only that they would have liked to have stayed longer. We are delighted that they responded so positively and that their new skills and knowledge are already helping them to be better engineers and designers.