SMD Gives Newcastle University Students Insight into Subsea Engineering

Tyneside-based subsea vehicle manufacturer, Soil Machine Dynamics (SMD), has recently given Newcastle University students insight into the offshore engineering industry as part of a special research trip.

The students are members of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME) which is headquartered in Virginia, USA.

SNAME is a not-for-profit society for professionals working within the maritime and offshore industries. With over 6,000 members across 85 countries, SNAME has been regarded as an essential component to career development and success within the marine industry since 1893.

Coordinated in partnership with SMD’s manufacturing team, the postgraduate students from Newcastle University’s SNAME division arranged the visit as part of their ‘industrial sight’ series which is designed to help overcome barriers between academia and industry. The students received a guided tour of SMD’s UK operations in Wallsend, where they were able to see first-hand how much work goes into the design and manufacture of subsea technology.

SMD manufacturing supervisor, Ian White, said: “We were delighted to welcome the students to our UK HQ. They were very enthusiastic and expressed a keen interest in all elements of our work.

“I talked them through the process of how we create bespoke solutions for our customers, from the design stage through to factory acceptance testing, and explained to them what was involved in each part of the process.

“By showing the students around the site, I was able to give them a good overview of the work that we do at SMD and demonstrate examples of our kit in action to back this up. It gave them a practical insight into how the business operates and what they can expect from a role within the marine engineering sector.”

Ankang Cheng, president of the Newcastle University SNAME section and PhD student in offshore engineering, said: “For many students, exposure to the industrial sector that they one day hope to work in is limited to academic theory and practical exercises.

“By organising visits to real businesses operating locally, it’s a great opportunity to expand our learning, find out more about industry trends and make valuable contacts. On behalf of SNAME, I’d like to thank all the staff at SMD for their time.

“We were absolutely amazed by the scale and complexity of the machines we saw during our tour of the plant, some of them were actually comparable to small buildings!”

Looking to the future, SNAME is eager to partner with SMD to arrange further visits as part of an annual inauguration process for new members.

“I think it’s important for businesses to support young people as they explore the world outside of education as it can help them to make clearer career choices in the future,” Ian concluded.

“Encouraging students to visit industrial sites can also help businesses to promote themselves and show students the kind of work that is available to them upon graduation.”

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