Meet the CFMS Interns!

Meet the CFMS Interns!

In this article we meet Patrick McLaughlin, Systems Engineer Intern and Tom Hunt, Computational Fluid Dynamics Intern who have joined CFMS from the University of Bath on a year long Internship.

Patrick McLaughlin,  Systems Engineer Intern

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What are you studying?

I am studying Mechanical and Electrical Engineering at the University of Bath. Since a young age I have always been interested in engineering and I wanted to keep my options open with regard to both as careers paths and is why I chose mechanical and electrical. Bath is renowned for its reputation as an outstanding university and the South West has so much high tech and engineering industry based here and is one of the reasons I chose Bath.  It is a 5-year degree and I am in my third year; a year in industry which is an internship at CFMS.

What have you been working on at CFMS?

My main project is focused on applying Machine Learning technology using Raspberry Pi. I have found it really interesting and exciting to learn something new. We haven’t covered Machine Learning at university yet, I think there is a module coming up in the next year but it will be nice to be ahead of the game. I’ve had the opportunity to learn and use Python Programming from scratch which is great.  I’ve also been involved in other CFMS Proof of Concept (PoC) projects including the Smart City Digital Twin Model of Bristol and the Digital Twin Manufacturing demonstrator which both use coding.

Can you tell us a bit more about the Machine Learning with Raspberry Pi?

Raspberry Pi is a really small computer, no bigger than a credit-card which works just the same as a big computer. We’ve been programming Raspberry Pi with Machine Learning to do object detection and imagine recognition, etc. It’s now at the point that it is completely autonomous and can navigate our office space all by itself which is pretty cool! This was an exploratory project using Raspberry Pi. Machine Learning is possible if you have a powerful computer, like the HPC here, however, AI isn’t going to improve until it’s accessible to everyone through a smaller device such as a mobile phone. This was one of our project aims; to discover how much we could achieve on a small computer.

And what about the Smart City Digital Twin Model and Digital Twin Manufacturing PoCs?

The Smart City Digital Twin Model PoC demonstrator was where we collaborated with Sheffield University, Bristol is Open and Zenotech to develop a 2D digital model that showed the movement of traffic and pedestrians. Using Sheffield University Flexible Large Scale Modelling Environment (FLAME) software, smart sensors, data analytics and datacentre scale computing, we created a digital twin of an area around Temple Meads in Bristol. This simulates and models emergent behaviour, typically used for scenario and contingency planning and can provide benefits for traffic related topics.

The Digital Twin Manufacturing PoC demonstrator consisted of a collaborative KUKA iiwa robot and inspection system, which improves scan quality and reduces cycle time through the application of machine learning and enables it to learn and analyse the process.

The Digital Twin Manufacturing project used the KUKA robotic arm which was programmed used coding and has really helped me to understand software development. Smart City used C++ whereas the Digital Twin Manufacturing PoC was in Java, both of which are completely new to me but very interesting.

What have you enjoyed most during your time at CFMS?

I’ve had so many opportunities to work on different projects and aspects of engineering which I know will be beneficial to my future career. I’ve learnt a lot which I know will be useful when I go back to university.

What advice would you give to students starting out on their placement?

I would definitely recommend doing a industry placement, especially somewhere like CFMS because it is a great opportunity to learn something new and to get involved in projects before you start your career. I also think it is useful in terms of learning business etiquette and the working environment, which is a great career experience if like me, you haven’t been in this position before.

 

Tom Hunt, Computational Fluid Dynamics Intern 

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What are you studying?

I am currently studying Mechanical Engineering at the University of Bath. I started my degree in 2015, finishing in 2020. As part of the course we spend a year in industry, which is my internship at CFMS, and will return to Bath to continue my studies in September 2018.

What have you been working on at CFMS?

A lot of the work I have been doing involves Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), working on multiple projects with the team. It has been an enjoyable learning curve for me as I didn’t had any experience in CFD previously. I have been taught how to use the software tools and worked on a number of projects during the first 6 months of my internship. I had some experience with 3D software and Computer Aided Design (CAD), but this now gives me the experience of the latter stages; taking CAD data, generating a mesh, solving and post-processing to create data and images.  Working on CFD has been a great experience, especially when working on actual industrial cases.

You’ve also been working on a VR project

I have also been working on a Virtual Reality (VR) project, another new area for me which has been really interesting.  The project focuses on the use of a simulated or artificial environment, immersing the user inside experiences including, an aircraft landing gear CFD simulation and smart office/city environments. This is being shown at Farnborough Airshow, and is designed to show all the aspects of what CFMS does and the areas we focus on from an engineering design perspective. The really cool thing is that it is a digital twin and virtual extension of the CFMS facility, showing people the different services without having to physically visit the building. For engineers, it’s a great way of being able to demonstrate and visualise different aspects of a design.

What have you enjoyed most during your time at CFMS?

That’s a tough one - I’ve enjoyed it all! I’ve found the VR bits really interesting because it gives you the opportunity to be creative as well as technological. Though I would have to say the CFD projects have been really academically interesting and I’ve learnt such a lot in this area.

What advice would you give to students starting out on their placement?

Enjoy it! Ask as many questions as you can to make the most it. The best thing about being at CFMS is the opportunity to experience software and technologies that are used in live projects. An industry placement gives you a much better insight into commercial work, and the use of technology to achieve the outcomes needed.

 

 

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