On-the-job Experience Builds Intern Understanding
Nexxis intern Gavin Bathgate was encouraged by colleagues while working in the mining and construction sectors to go to university and learn about systems and processes that fuelled his ongoing curiosity.
That suggestion led Gavin to Edith Cowan University, where he will embark on his final Honours year of a Bachelor of Instrumentation, Control and Automation Engineering degree in 2018.
He says rolling his sleeves up in the Nexxis workshop, as part of an internship over the summer months, is opening his eyes to the ways in which industry utilises inspection cameras, crawlers, borescopes and NDT equipment.
“I believe the best way to develop my knowledge in advanced sensors and monitoring is to attain as much hands-on experience as possible,” Gavin said.
“It is often hard to understand that an engineered product must be both efficient and practical, both to build and maintain. This hands-on experience at Nexxis is helping me develop my knowledge regarding how things are built.”
It’s not the first exposure Gavin has had to building and operating automation technology. He took part in a nine-month project as part of an ECU team that competed in the National Instruments Autonomous Robotics Competition in Sydney.
“I was tasked to help develop a working robot to autonomously pick up and deliver passengers whilst avoiding dynamic obstacles and obeying road rules,” he said.
“My main role in the team was to help program the robot. More recently I was assisting ECU’s school of education to program robots that help autistic children to communicate.”
Gavin’s time in the workshop has helped him develop ideas on the future of inspection and testing technology, which he sees as vital to safer, more efficient practices across a lot of sectors.
“I think NDT will continue to evolve and be more reliable, so that stopping processes to visually inspect a section will come a thing of the past,” he said.
“In time there won’t be a need to second guess what data collected automatically means and the notion of powering something down to inspect it will no longer be required.”
When he commenced in the workshop, Gavin was surprised at the demand for much of the equipment supplied by Nexxis.
“Nothing sits on the shelf for long before it is re-issued to a new client,” he said.
“I have been surprised at how willing companies are to adapt to new techniques and technology once it is explained and demonstrated to them how a machine works and what it can do.”
In the future, Gavin hopes to work on major large-scale projects involving multiple different disciplines of engineering.
“I have a keen interest in the subsea sector and would love to be more involved with subsea engineering problems,” he said.
“I have aspirations to become a Principal Engineer and lead a design team that produces innovative and efficient products for clients.”