Interning at Flextronics

calvin-2016 Calvin, Computer Science, Electrical, Industrial and Systems, Internship, Viterbi Life, Viterbi Summer, Work Leave a Comment

I went back to my home town of San Jose in the Bay Area this summer. I had the opportunity to work an internship in the Silicon Valley at Flextronics, where I worked with RFID technology. You can think of RFID as the barcode scanner of the future; no line-of-sight is necessary and the technology allows us to “scan” many tags at once. Flextronics is a large-scale electronics manufacturing company and the Microsofts and Apples of the world hire Flextronics to mass-produce things like the XBOX and the iMac after they have been designed.

RFID has recently become cheap enough for the technology to be of interest to Flextronics. The idea is to attach RFID tags to individual units as they travel through the manufacturing process (conveyor belts, automated assembly systems, etc) and track data. The goal is ultimately to increase yield, and by tracking data about all parts of the system Flextronics can do analytics to ensure optimal manufacturing processes and high yeild. I worked in the Advanced Engineering Group (AEG) and was tasked with doing the first prototyping of RFID technology into Flextronics’ automated systems.

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Two things surprised me about my internship at Flextronics. The first was how completed prepared I was, equipped with the tools I had gained from my first two semesters. The combination of entry level electrical engineering and computer science experience I had gained in my classes was exactly what I needed to work through my day-to-day challenges. I started off knowing nothing about RFID technology or manufacturing systems, but found that the engineering foundations I had built in class were all I needed to pick up new skills and work through problems that I originally had no idea how to tackle. The second surprise was how fluidly the different disciplines of engineering flow across each other, even within a single project. I was lucky to be given a large amount of autonomy in my internship and found myself applying Industrial Systems, Computer, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering concepts every day. I saw this in all of my coworkers as well and saw engineering as more than technical knowledge in a specific subject, but as a way of thinking that is useful for solving problems across many disciplines. Heading back into my second year, I am extremely excited to see how will I apply what I learn this year to my work in the future!

 

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Computer Science, Class of 2017, Learn more on his profile here!

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