About the Author: Aditya from Jaypee University of Engineering & Technology, Guna talks about his industrial internship at Small Arms Factory where he learned about manufacturing of rifles and got to fire them along with shooters from army.
Since I was a child, my area of interest has been space and defence technology and to keep myself updated on the subject, I used to read articles about it. After completion of my 2nd year of engineering, I did a 4 weeks vocational training in Small Arms Factory (SAF) of Indian Ordnance Factories Board, Ministry of Defence in Kanpur. My internship was at the INSAS (Indian Small Arms System) Assembly which manufacturers INSAS Rifles and INSAS Light Machine gun (LMG). SAF is relevant to my department which makes it perfect for student of every branch to get an internship there. Its sections consist of INSAS assembly, tool room, Computerised Numeric Control (CNC) Machine section, MAG gun section, Small Component section, electrical department, IT Cell and a cell for management students.
As for the application process, there are two ways to get this internship. First one is ‘Employees Ward’ in which if you know any employee currently working under Ministry of Defence, you can directly contact its HR department. The second one is to contact Senior General Manager of the factory and send him the resume and a cover letter directly. If he finds your application suitable, the manager will forward it to the HR department. This internship has no stipend. The selection process is a bit challenging as they get thousands of application for this training/internship and they select only about 100 to 120 students at max for the entire summer. Also, you have to undergo an interview with IES/IAS officers who are very talented and highly knowledgeable. During the interview, they test your basic knowledge about your branch. They also check for your area of interest according to which you will be allotted any any section in the factory. For me, the interview was unexpectedly easy. I believe it was so not only because I had just completed my 2nd year (while most of the other interns has completed their 3rd year) but also because of my grades and knowledge of the defence field.
I was allotted INSAS Assembly Section which assembles INSAS Rifles and INSAS Light machine guns (LMG). INSAS rifles are used by Indian armed forces along with some foreign users. My area of work was to ‘Study the faults and the firing results of the rifle and to provide remedial measures to improve’. INSAS rifles, which are assembled in SAF, undergo a series of firing tests in the firing range by army/navy shooters who test it thoroughly. For me, the best part of this internship was to carry the INSAS rifles and to perform shooting in the range. INSAS rifles have many faults likes BNC, cover fall, RBNC, light strike, extract etc. And to improve these faults, one needs to understand the details of the manufacturing of different parts of the rifle which are manufactured in the factory itself. One gets a good opportunity to see all the thousands of the parts of these guns at these mega factories.
This internship helped me get a deeper knowledge about guns and machines. Also, it was a great experience to apply theoretical knowledge in practical life. As mechanical engineering students, we deal with lathe, shaper, miling and other machines in college. But in the industry, the machines used are giant sized. My main takeaway from this internship was to see how these big machines operate and how gun components are manufactured. Also, an internship of this nature gives you knowledge about the corporate world setup. There are certain positive and negative points of this internship. Positive points are people. The people working at SAF are highly talented and have good knowledge of their specific sections. They are open minded and are always ready to clear your doubts. Also food there is very cheap. One can have full meal in just ₹15 and can get tea and samosas for just ₹3. Also the atmosphere of the whole factory is nice and calm. On the other hand, this internship also had certain negative points that as an intern there is not a specific person who you can work with (i.e. a trainer). Also, one has to be proactive in asking doubts and to know something specific about the machines, you have to take the initiative yourself.
Editor’s Note – Like Aditya, if you are looking for experience in core engineering, check out these mechanical engineering internships.