Senior Engineer, Kinetics Drive Solutions Inc. (joined on 16 Jul 2012)
Q: What is it like to work at ST Kinetics?
I joined ST Kinetics straight after graduation. For the first two years, I was a design engineer for the Terrex, Terrex 2 and Light Strike Vehicle projects. Thereafter, I was fortunate to be posted to an overseas subsidiary, Kinetics Drive Solutions Inc, in Vancouver, Canada, for three years.
Here, I am part of a team that is designing cutting edge Infinitely Variable Transmissions (IVTs) for tracked vehicles. The transmission consists of gears, shafts, pumps, motors and manifolds housed in a small box, and to be able to work on a project of this complexity is a dream come true for any true blue mechanical designer. This has been an interesting ride.
I like the international exposure that ST Kinetics has given me. I work with colleagues in Canada and Singapore, vendors in North America, Europe, and Asia, and international customers. I also enjoy the challenges of the job - engineers like to solve problems, and there are plenty of problems (sometimes too much!) to use one's brain juices on here. Most of all, I enjoy working in an environment with like-minded and passionate people, where we can challenge each other’s' ideas and concepts to design a better product.
Q: What is one misconception people always have about being a Mechanical Engineer?
There is a prevalent view that the life of a Mechanical Engineer revolves around traditional aspects like sizing nuts and bolts, designing for manufacturability or analysing stresses. This is true - these will continue to be important tools of the trade for a Mechanical Engineer.
However, the role of a Mechanical Engineer is by no means limited to these. As an example, I am a Mechanical Engineer in Kinetics Drive Solutions, but my scope also extends to hydraulics and controls engineering.
I am involved in the troubleshooting of hydraulic systems, and contributing to new control strategies for the product. In general, a lot of skills can be picked up on the job, and a background in Mechanical Engineering grants the versatility to quickly learn about other disciplines.
Q: What do you find most meaningful in your job?
The role of an engineer runs the gamut from design to manufacturing. Designers have the most influence on the product, and every choice that a designer makes - be it about technical details or cost - will shape the product and ultimately, affect the company.
I am a designer, and I take my role seriously because I understand the implications of my decisions. A good, solid design makes the customer happy, while a problematic design leads to customer dissatisfaction and additional costs. Through my designs, I directly have the power to position my company for success, and that, to me, is the most meaningful part of my job.