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Supporting innovation with student engineers

Real world experience is important to complete a university degree, explore options for the future, and gain valuable experience in the field. However, it’s not only students that can benefit from internships, companies and industries can as well. Recently, FITT Resources has given an international student the chance to complete an internship while also expanding their own capabilities and supporting innovative initiatives.

The graduate

grad-engArjen Schoustra is a mechanical engineering student from the Netherlands, and is completing an internship with FITT Resources.

As part of his Bachelor degree he must complete a graduation project in his final semester.

“I chose to do it with FITT as they offered me an interesting project in pump efficiency and shaft sealing arrangements. The project provides the perfect chance to prove myself and gain some experience in the field,” Mr Schoustra said.

“The chance to complete my internship abroad was also a factor in my decision.  After I complete my degree I would love an international career where I can work with people from all over the world and this opportunity allowed me to gain more experience working with different people and practice English.”

The project

For his project Mr Schoustra is looking at the difference between packing and mechanical seals, and coming up with modelling and calculations of how changing to mechanical seals can save power and increase profitability through the reduction of costs over their lifecycle.

Too much shaft leakage is a well-known problem for small centrifugal pumps. This occurs when sealing arrangement fails.

There are multiple ways of sealing the shaft to prevent this problem. Mr Schoustra’s project involves using the two different types of sealing on the same centrifugal pump and comparing the results.

The sealing techniques he is using are gland packing and cartridge sealing and as they require different setups and he will reverse-engineer the stuffing box to fit both solutions. At the end, the flow and the amount of leakage will be measured.

He is currently performing theoretical calculations on energy consumption and pump efficiency. Both the mean time between failure (MTBF) and the energy consumption of the two arrangements will be analysed to calculate the saving costs over the years to draw a conclusion.

Mr Schoustra’s project will add to the wider industry conversation of increasing energy efficiency by looking for innovative ways to reduce the running costs of pumps and rotating equipment, and proving that to customers.

Giving back to the industry

According to Daniel Hetcher, Manager of Engineering and Operations at FITT Resources, providing internship opportunities is not only beneficial for students but also the company and industry.

“Part of our company mission statement and values is continued improvement and looking for innovation, and providing students with internship opportunities allows us to do this by giving back to the industry.

“We find it’s very hard to find the right people for the jobs that we have and providing internships enables us to enhance our engineering capabilities, and develop those capabilities to suit the different services FITT Resources provides, as well as developing the skills needed within the rotating equipment industry.”

Future opportunities

FITT Resources is open to extending this program into the future where it could host a continuous stream of students for short periods at a time to do their final projects or extend study options.

“We want to encourage new people and innovations in the industry and we see this as an opportunity to develop students capabilities to pursue a professional career in the pump industry or as part of the FITT Resources team,” Mr Hetcher said.