July 9th, 2018 | Company News

My work experience – George

Laser Quantum regularly offers work experience placements to students, encouraging the scientists of the future, giving an insight to how the business is run and the chance to see what careers are available within the scientific industry after they have finished their education. Having this knowledge is invaluable as it can inspire students in their future career. Last week we had George Simpson visiting us, the following is a blog post written by him highlighting some of the tasks he undertook this week:

What I have Learnt at Laser Quantum

I came to LQ with no real prior knowledge of how a business functions; I certainly did not know how different departments interacted or how the supply chain functioned. My stay has therefore been a true eye opener into the business model of a company making specialised, technologically advanced products at the forefront of science and engineering. I did arrive at the company with an interest in physics, designing and engineering, an appetite which has been generously catered to.

Because of the size of the company, I have been able to visit nearly all parts of the supply chain and get a taste of each job and sector of the business. In just one week I have been given a flavour of each sector, the roles within it, and its overall function in a major company. Here is how my week shaped out:

I began on Monday with health & safety and sub assembly, looking at both optical and electrical component preparation. This was the beginning of production but for me was a complete introduction into the functions of each component and of the overall laser itself. I also visited purchasing, a real insight into how essential communication and coordination is between departments.

On Tuesday I was shown around production, visiting many different labs for multiple different laser assemblies, as well as initial quality control and stores. This was extremely hands on and a fantastic introduction into engineering, as well as manufacture of a highly specialised product. I also realised the level of preparation and care which goes into each of the products, IQC must be meticulous in checking over so many components.

On Wednesday I saw an overview of general operations, more orientated around core parts of the business to keep it functioning and improve it. I was shown to Continuous Improvement, a department based around improving the business and making it a nicer environment for workers, whilst also more productive and efficient in terms of production. I then was exposed into the essential world of IT, a vital component of any modern business, without it communication and storage of data simply wouldn’t be possible. Finally, I saw new product introduction, where a newly developed product is made ready for production.

On Thursday I went to final quality control where finished products are checked before shipment to the customer and then saw the CAD team. This was a particularly interesting area, as it required hands on design of each frame for both the laser heads and power supply unit, revolving around the configuration required for the lenses in the cavity and the ease with which it can be manufactured. The department must therefore have excellent communication and planning with both optical and electrical R & D as well as production/NPI. I was then shown to software, a team responsible for creating all the programs used on the test stations, showing me some of the physical applications of software development and programming. Finally, I saw electrical R&D and the extremely complex circuitry designs they create on site.

On Friday, I had a debrief reflecting on my experiences and the use of my work experience at LQ. I then had an introduction to sales and the importance of a sales team especially with a specialised company. I also had an introduction to finance, and its pivotal importance in tracking the flow of goods through a company. For my final period, I worked with the marketing team, who work with sales to produce anything from promotional videos on social media to adverts in physics related magazines. The team were very busy and like all my periods, I felt extremely lucky for them to welcome me.

Seeing multiple parts of the business was fantastic. I was provided with a rich insight into the supply chain of manufacture and the physical processes behind it as well as the commercial side of the business, a very rare opportunity for many, especially someone still at school and unsure of their future career. Having seen all the departments, my interests in both business and the pursuit of knowledge in physics have only been increased. I also really want to increase my creative skills and do more editing in CAD and software design. Laser Quantum itself seems to have an extremely pleasant environment as a business, everyone I met was accommodating and welcoming and was happy to divide some of their time to help me. I would like to thank everyone in the departments I visited for giving me some of their time to introduce me to the business. I would also like to thank Laser Quantum for giving me this amazing opportunity.