Design Engineering
Showcase

RHEON Labs

Team
Development Team
Supervisor
Olga Kravchenko
Role
Junior Design Developer
Sector
Industrial Manufacturing

During my time at RHEON Labs I have investigated and developed a new method of prototype manufacturing that has become integral to RHEON’s operations, I have researched methods of waste disposal to help reduce the company’s carbon footprint and aided in material development. I have designed, produced, and tested elements for a next generation ski helmet and led discussions with international clients regarding investigations into the golf market thanks to an intern-only project looking into grips.

 — RHEON Labs

Demonstration of Design Engineering Thinking and Skills

I investigated and mastered the adaptation of a vinyl cutter for producing intricate geometries of RHEON film. The success of this investigation led to the company relying heavily on the machine and my expertise to manufacture hundreds of prototypes (at <5% failure rate) for several clients. This meant that I was key in determining whether potential designs were manufacturable, by taking into account the limitations of the machines that needed to be used.

As part of the golf project I participated in developing a new testing rig from conception to assembly. The development included simulating a golf swing in order to measure vibration and torsional resistance. This rig was machined and built in house with as many components salvaged and sourced from the workshop as possible in order to reduce cost as well as increase efficiency by reducing build time and environmental impact.

Through the material development project I was exposed to a very labour intense production method. To produce them, these elements had to be extruded, heat-pressed, frozen, grinded and then injection moulded. Through my efforts, the efficiency of the production method was improved by removing the need for the heat press altogether.

Role and Contributions

As a Junior Design Developer, my role varied depending on each project. That meant anything from designing ski helmet elements to moulding, testing and analysis prototypes was on the table.

My first major contribution was thanks to a project RHEON was conducting with Imperial to design and build low cost, easily manufacturable visors for the NHS. This was my first time ever using an injection moulder, and while it was an intense learning curve, thanks to the whole team’s development in proficiency, we went from producing 100 masks a day, to a peak output of 800 per day, meaning over 25 beds in the ICU could be kept open for use.

I invested a great deal of time and effort in the materials development program. This meant that several weeks, I was instrumental in producing hundreds of different grades of material, leading to over a thousand test subjects being processed and analysed.

RHEON is undergoing a project with a large skiing company to develop a next generation helmet, and as part of the development team, I helped design, test and analyse the data of prototype elements. Using Solidworks, I personally created several possible designs for development, with one of mine being fully processed for testing.

After being tasked with investigating an unused vinyl cutter in the workshop, I have developed a prototyping process now crucial to the company’s operations regarding their Stretch Product Development program, which integrates RHEON film into active wear. I have produced hundreds of designs ready for testing, fulfilling orders on time and with less than a 5% failure rate. I achieved this through increasing my understanding of the machine to know exactly what forces and speeds were needed depending on film thickness and geometry complexity, as well as being able to tell whether a design was too complex for the machine to handle.

I was part of a 3 person team (all interns) that investigated the golf market, with the goal of creating a RHEON grip to give golfers an edge over the competition. I was responsible for conducting research into the industry as well as contacting potential clients overseas. Through these contributions along with the tireless work of my colleagues, we developed a full business plan and client base.

I was given a great deal of responsibility in sustainability and waste management. Thanks to my efforts, all waste from the moulding process has been recycled and post-manufacturing waste textile is closer than ever to finding a home other than landfill. This progress was achieved thanks to an exhaustive process of contacting businesses to see whether they could use said material in their operations.

 — RHEON Labs

Summary

At my interview I made it clear that I wanted to develop my practical skills as an engineer as well as in CAD. Thanks to this placement I have achieved a huge amount not only as a design engineer, but in project management and communication due to the burden of responsibility being shared by all, not just by those in senior positions.

Through RHEON Labs I have honed my talents particularly in research and analysis and have gained great confidence in having open discussions about key aspects of projects with those around me, and clients overseas. I feel very confident that I can take what I have learnt not only into my final year, but also future employment.

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