FT Technologies has been inviting sixth form students from the local community to Sunbury House to take part in an Engineering Discovery Day. Students from Waldegrave, Grey Court and Surbiton High School attended a full day of workshops, hands-on sessions and factory tours led by members of the FT engineering team.
The visit was co-ordinated with the Kingston and Richmond Education Business Partnership, part of Achieving for Children’s 14-19 Team. “This is the third year that we’ve been here with our group of students who are interested in the world of engineering,” said Denise Toye from KREBP. “FT puts on a fantastic day. There’s so many different technologies in one place and it gives the students a much better understanding of what engineering’s about and all the different areas that they can go into. It’s just an amazing experience for them.”
The students saw how 3D printing has helped FT iterate quickly on new product designs, and then printed and assembled their own fidget spinners - the designs for which they had submitted in advance of the day.
FT mechatronics engineers explained how FT uses robots to ensure reliability and repeatability of its production processes. In the Automation Lab, the students learned about FT’s latest Automated Transducer Placement project and then got hands on experience teaching an industrial robot to write their intials on a page.
With the electronics engineers, they participated in a demonstration of FT’s unique Acoustic Resonance technology and then assembled a pair of wireless bluetooth speakers.
Inside the R&D Lab the students used embedded workbench software to develop a board for a MSP430 micro-controller and then added peripheral hardware. Using an oscilloscope they explored the internals of a microprocessor, and learned how microprocessor architecture is affected by the software running on the device.
“The building here is incredible,” said Anna Williams, a Year 12 student at Surbiton High School. “I thought it would be a boring old factory with stuff on conveyor belts but the machines are amazing. I now understand the science behind how they manufacture all the sensors and it’s pretty cool.”
“Seeing the students inspired by our Engineering Discovery Day is always rewarding,” said Robin Strachan, Chief Engineer for FT Technologies. “As an employer who is always on the look out for engineers, we want to encourage as many students as possible to pursue STEM careers.
“At school and at university you learn about the standard stuff. Here at FT, our product is very advanced, so you are often working in unfamiliar territory. It challenges you. Our engineers, even the Chairman himself, are working at the very edge of their knowledge to invent new things.”