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Final Co-op Report

Parker McColl
Biomedical Engineering
Advisor: Mike LaBeau
GE Healthcare
Florence, SC
Jan 2016-May 2016
UN 3002
Cooperative Education I
Spring 2016

I.

Introduction
For the spring 2016 semester I

have been on co-op with GE Healthcare in Florence, South Carolina. This


location is a manufacturing facility where Magnetic
Resonance (MR) systems are
produced. I am
interning under the

Operations

Management
Leadership
Program (OMLP) with a role in
Advanced Manufacturing Engineering
(AME).

Within the AME department I have mostly been assisting with New Product
Introductions (NPI) from a
manufacturing aspect. Responsibilities have
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included validating equipment, assisting with prototype builds and


generating assembly instructions for production associates.
Additionally, I have been involved in two Lean Action Workouts focused
on improving the current manufacturing state within one bay. This has
included mocking up new layouts and transport systems and designing new
materials carts and work stations to optimize efficiency and reduce footprint.

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II.

Projects
Major projects while on co-op have been with the NPI and Lean

workouts. Within the NPI, sub projects have included developing Tooling
Qualifications, assisting with prototype builds and revising manufacturing
instructions. These projects provide value to the plant as they are necessary
for the new product to be manufactured and sold to customers. The Lean
workouts help to optimize factory layout, reduce operation time and improve
safety, ultimately driving manufacturing costs down.
In order to have all necessary tools qualified for the new product, I
identified tools requiring qualification, wrote TQ documents and brought the
tools to be inspected. Working specifically on tools for bays three and four,
nearly all identified tools were qualified, with 21 tools approved in total.
I also prepared four manufacturing instructions for release. These
documents outline the work a production associate will complete during
manufacturing and must be in place for the NPI to move forward into
production. For the largest of these I helped run a two week long Enclosures
build, collaborating with Engineering and production associates to identify
necessary additions and revisions for a final 200+ page draft. I assisted with
two prototype builds as well.

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Participating in Lean workouts, our first team was tasked with


improving manufacturing flow while separating processes and
accommodating for new equipment. I utilized 7 Ways to brainstorm future
layouts and analyzed solutions with Pugh matrices. I also developed a
materials cart and a prototype work station to help achieve our chosen
layout. In a second team, our goal was to transport magnets through the bay
in a more efficient and safe way, eliminating crane and forklift moves. I again
brainstormed potential transport modes and cart designs which were
analyzed. The top cart designs were created on a 1/15 scale and integrated
into a scale model of the proposed future state layout. I developed two
materials carts to assist with separating operations and organized the cart
with visual aids by standard work sequence.
I believe my greatest contribution this rotation was revising the
Enclosures work instructions. The entire build dragged out for two weeks, as
we were frequently halted due to missing parts or the need to take notes and
pictures. Making the changes electronically into a final draft also took
significant time. By managing this, the rest of the AME team was able to
continue to focus on other projects without getting bogged down.
From these projects I gained insight into the manufacturing
environment. I experienced manufacturing regulations and procedures,
specifically with preparing for an NPI. I learned how to apply Lean principles
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to challenge current state and push improvement. I also experienced the


consequences of cutting corners, as the AME team was slowed by documents
that were not completed correctly the first time around.

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III.

Co-op Evaluations
In my Progress Evaluation and Final Evaluation, my supervisor was very

satisfied with my performance. In the Final Evaluation, my supervisor and I


discussed how to manage my workload in order to better prevent alternating
between constant business and periods of down time. While this was in large
part due to the nature of my work, prioritizing tasks to save lower-priority
projects for slower times would help to even my workload. Moving forward, I
will be cognizant of project priorities and deadlines and balance my time
accordingly. Overall, my supervisor and other coworkers have been happy
with my performance and allowed me to gradually take more and more
ownership over projects, up to supervising prototype builds.
Throughout the rotation, regular meetings with other co-ops and
supervisors helped address any issues and develop proficiency in the
workplace. These meetings were very helpful and informative and enabled a
successful rotation.

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IV.

Reflections on the Co-op Experience


In this co-op I learned a lot about the professional workplace, the
manufacturing environment and the healthcare industry. This
experience also shed light on my career paths and what I will look for
in a full time position.
A. Likes and Dislikes in AME
I found that I liked the variety in AME, working with both current
and future products and with all the different manufacturing
processes. This kept things fresh and interesting because of the
broad scope. I also liked the hands-on aspect, being able to
alternate between desk work and standing work, going to the
manufacturing floor to assist with builds and work alongside the
assemblers On the flip side, I was not a big fan of the amount of
documents I wrote or the red tape around approvals. Writing
documents got repetitive at times and with the length and
quantity of documents it was sometimes hard to stay motivated.
B. Co-op and Educational Experiences
Working a co-op was a good addition to my education. Seeing
the way a company works from the inside and how projects are

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executed put my major into perspective. I have been realizing


over the semesters that Biomedical Engineering was not the best
path towards my career interests in the healthcare industry, and
my co-op experience helped affirm this. Looking back, majoring
in Industrial Engineering would have better aligned with my
career interests. The opportunity to co-op earlier would have
been helpful to steer my courses and/or major in a different
direction.
C. Career Planning
This co-op provided insight into the type of job and company I
will look for upon graduation. Overall, I thought the AME area to
be a good career fit. This would be fairly dependent on the exact
position though, as I would look for a position with some
flexibility and limited overtime requirements. My experiences
with Lean work really interested me, so I will definitely look
further down that path as well.
Despite a few conflicts, I found GE Healthcare to be a good
company to work for. The competitive environment, although
daunting, allows hard workers to be noticed and with several
locations and many job areas there is room to move up and
around. The friendly atmosphere at the plant was nice as well,
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which surprised me for being such a large public company. In my


search for full time positions I will be keeping an eye out for
these traits.

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