About the Author: Anoushka Banavar is an electrical engineering student at Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology, Nagpur. She talks about her experience of working in a plant toiling through gigantic machine and systems.
“You’re studying electrical engineering, right? Then what are you doing in a pharmaceutical company?”
This question has haunted me since the first day of my internship. Recruiting from the Electrical, Mechanical, and Chemical Engineering departments of VNIT, India’s largest pharmaceutical company, Sun Pharmaceuticals Industries Limited visited our campus with a Diversity Recruitment Policy of picking at least one girl from every department. Now, here I am, almost halfway through my core electrical engineering internship at Sun Pharma.
The selection process involved an aptitude cum technical test followed by a group discussion wherein students were divided into groups and given topics such as ‘Is social media a boon or a bane?’, ‘IPL: A money making system or a talent acquisition system?’, and ‘Love marriage or arranged marriage: Which do you believe in?’. After clearing this elimination round, I was up for a grilling one-on-one technical interview related to various domains of electrical engineering, viz. electrical machines, power systems, and their applications. As of electrical machines, the interviewer asked me how a synchronous motor works, the difference between a synchronous motor and a synchronous generator, their practical usage, working of three phase AC induction machines and single phase AC and DC machines, etc. I informed him that I had a basic knowledge of power systems since it had just been introduced in the course, so he questioned me on basic concepts such as the generation, transmission, and distribution voltage levels used in India, why voltage is transmitted at high values, how the power factor of the system at both generating and distributing ends could be improved. On the other hand, the HR interview had a relaxed aura. They just wanted to know how I would manage to work in a plant with a male workforce coming from various economic strata. I told them that with my proficient skills and abilities, I would garner the respect of the male workers. I also added that I would build a rapport with them through daily interaction and involvement. I was selected as an intern along with some of my batch mates.
With our eyes set on a comfortable internship in Mumbai, we were shocked to see our locations tumbled in. The internship was at Ankleshwar, an industrial town studded with chemical factories, tucked away in Gujarat. As we entered the plant amid a smoke-billowing lane of industries, my nostrils filled with a repulsing, pungent smell. We were introduced to our guides and the engineers at the plant, who welcomed us in a warm, jovial manner. One of the best aspects of Sun Pharma was the humility, friendliness, and helping nature of the workers. Initially, the workers found it hard to fathom why we wanted to sweat it out in dust and grime, weighed down with factory boots, helmets, gloves, and goggles.
My project at Sun Pharma involved the creation of the Single Line Diagram of the entire electrical network of the plant followed by a detailed study of the current switchgear and protection and suggesting methods to improve the safety of the system. I learnt about the products of ABB, Siemens, Crompton Greaves, and L&T. Working on the field for the first time was as exhilarating as it was exhausting. I worked on various aspects of power systems; I helped in changeovers from the grid to the captive power plant to the DG Set, set things right in times of a fault, and noted down readings at designated hours.
At the organization, I was exposed to a hands-on experience of working on various components of a power system viz. transformers and diesel-generator sets and feeders of various motors. Interning at Sun Pharma was an exciting journey wherein I opened relays and circuit breakers to understand their mechanism, helped in the winding and construction of an induction motor, visited a panel manufacturing site, helped contain a small fire due to the overloading of a motor, and what not! I also recognized the hard work put in by workers, technicians, and laborers to manufacture the products we consume.
While the organization gives a lot of flexibility to an intern to learn, grow, and mold the project as per his/her liking, the 6-day weeks take their toll, mentally and physically! Also, for a metropolitan spoilt brat like myself, living in a small town like Ankleshwar can be tough in terms of amenities and accommodation; the only perk is having an effortless social media detox as mobiles aren’t permitted at the plant. With a PPO offered at the end of the internship, I recommend interning at Sun Pharma to students interested in core engineering if they are ready to compromise a little and slog it out for two months.
Do you also want to work in a core field? Check out these latest electrical engineering internships.
Editor’s note – If you also have an interesting story to share, you can now participate in Your Internship Story Contest 2017 and win cash prizes and goodies worth INR 1 Lac!