For more than 50 years, Whirltronics has been a full-service metal manufacturing provider. Recognized for its capabilities in stamping, hot and cold forming and austemper heat treatment of carbon steels, the company is best known for their fabrication of lawn mower blades.
Every piece that Whirltronics produces comes with precise quality standards that they’re expected to meet, as Christopher Strand came to learn while interning with Whirltronics last summer.
“The thing that surprised me the most,” Strand said, “is just how much goes into making lawn mower blades.” During his internship, Strand got to work with some of Whirltronics’ clients, hearing from big companies like Honda and Toro that needed their measurements to be within a tenth of a millimeter. “That kind of stuff boggles my mind sometimes,” he said.
Christopher Strand is currently pursuing a degree in engineer manufacturing at North Dakota State University. His mom is a Whirltronics employee, and her work in the field helped inspire Strand to pursue an engineering career of his own.
See it, do it
As a quality engineering intern, Strand worked closely with Matt Severson, the senior quality engineer at Whirltronics.
“Matt’s been pushing me,” Strand said, “that if I see something I want to learn, to just go and do it, or talk to whoever’s working on it. I’m sitting in a room full of engineers, so if help is needed, it’s not difficult to ask.”
A majority of Strand’s work at Whirltronics has been exposure-based and it’s a core reason why the company takes on interns in the first place. Sheri McCallum, Whirltronics’ HR Director, explained that the benefit is twofold. They want to give students the chance to explore and learn in their field. In return, she and her team get help with the projects that they want to work on but just don’t have the time for.
Before Strand’s internship began, Whirltronics acquired a 3D scanning device in their lab called a FaroArm which they can use to scan and measure pieces for quality inspection. Since the Faro was fairly new, it was Strand’s responsibility to research the device and help set it up.
Of all the tasks he worked on, Strand said, the Faro was one of his favorites. He made it his goal to see the project through to completion before the summer was up.
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