With so many industries moving toward robotic applications, Kamp Automation LLC has recently added some unique partnerships to their clientele.

“We’ve got companies coming to us with opportunities for automation that we never dreamed would approach us before. We’re doing some really cool things with the medical labs in Rochester, all the way up to a Turkey Factory in Northern Minnesota,” said Kent Patterson, Kamp’s Co-Founder. “We try to give our students a truly real-life experience with their internships, and that includes interacting with our customers.”

Based in Waseca, Minnesota, Kamp Automation primarily develops robotic solutions for factories and beyond. With the application of their products evolving every day, it’s useful to bring in a handful of engineering interns who can help move their new projects along.

This past summer, Kamp welcomed Josue Cruz-Reyes from the University of Minnesota, Nathan Kilmer from Iowa State University and Jerit Wilkening from Minnesota State University-Mankato.

Jump right in
“We always have several projects going at once,” Patterson said, “so our interns can jump in and help wherever needed. It begins with their understanding the machine requirements. After that they can jump into projects at many different levels.”

This was Cruz-Reyes’ second year interning with Kamp. This time around, he mostly worked on an assembly line robot designed to spray a solution on a plastic screen.

“It sounds simple, but everything that can go wrong does go wrong,” Cruz- Reyes said lightly. Addressing the bot’s automation bugs, he said, was a good way to utilize both his software and hardware abilities.

Kilmer worked alongside some of Kamp’s mechanical engineers, designing solutions for cutting and welding metal cylinders and helping out with a much larger assembly line project later on.

Wilkening assisted with mechanical assembly projects on the manufacturing floor. In between running tests on the housing for a gas meter, he also spent some time learning about PLC code. “That’s basically the brain of the whole operation for these machines,” Wilkening explained.

Responsibility, satisfaction and reward
Reflecting on the value of his interns, Patterson said, “The efficiency in which they work with technology is always amazing to me. It just reiterates that we’re going down the right path hiring and developing young talent.”

For the students hired this past year, their hard work was rewarded with meaningful experiences and the autonomy to learn.

“I’m very grateful that Kamp gives its interns such responsibility,” Cruz-Reyes said. “It’s a trial by fire. And though it’s great to have a mentor, when you work on something yourself, I think you learn a lot more through that process. I’m thankful for the opportunities I had to learn on the go.”

“Here, when I’m building robotics, every time you walk into that shop and you see one of the machines that you’ve constructed, that’s very rewarding,” added Wilkening.

“Every day I show up, I know there will be new challenges to solve. There are different things for me to do every day and I feel accomplished when we finish them. The sense of satisfaction at the end is what makes it worth it,” Kilmer concluded. “I’ve confirmed this is what I want to do for a living.”

Get involved
Looking to build your small business workforce? Apply now and start planning your internship experience today.

College STEM majors looking to get involved can enroll here while returning SciTech students can send their current transcript to scitechmn@mntech.org to reactivate their account.