Bachelor of Engineering student placements make scents

Chisholm Bachelor of Engineering students are gaining real project experience through their third year placement in industry. Chisholm and Australian Botanical Products (ABP) have been working closely to place student at ABP’s Hallam facilities.

ABP is a leader in its field and produces essential oils, plant extracts and fragrances for use in a range of industries including cosmetic, pharmaceutical, food, fragrance and aromatherapy.

Students have played an active part in recommending and implementing several new systems into ABP’s production process, saving time, waste, money and ensuring all processes are productive and effective. Students were given several suggested projects to work on.

The latest project is a vacuum filtration system which uses a pump to purify oils through a funnel and gravity fed filter. The pump allows for effective zero waste and speeds up filtration time from days to hours. Students identified a need for the machine in an earlier project and based on their recommendations, ABP purchased the equipment required.

As part of their industry placement, Chisholm students work at ABP for one day a week for six months while completing the third year of their Bachelor of Engineering studies. The placements allow students to get real hands on experience and project work, learn teamwork and how to work with a client. The ABP Chisholm relationship has been ongoing for 18 months with a new group of students every six months completing their third year practical work placements.
Brendan Smith, Operations Manager at ABP, has a background in the textiles industry and regularly oversees the students’ project work.

‘The time spent coaching, guiding and training students is invaluable to the company and the students. They offer a fresh approach and a different way of thinking’, says Brendan.

Firas Zahwa, a former Chisholm Engineering student, was involved in recommending and implementing a vision inspection system (VIS). The VIS ensures all labelling is applied 100 per cent correctly to each of the fragrance bottle, an important process that was previously completed by eye.

Firas is currently working on a vacuum filtration system and will oversee the implementation of this project. Firas says he learnt everything about mechanical engineering in the three years while completing his degree at Chisholm. Firas has been working at ABP since finishing his degree.

The very first group of Chisholm students were part of working on a packaging and shrink wrap dispenser as part of their industry placement at ABP. The shrink wrap was recently delivered and set to be installed soon. 

Operations Manager at ABP, Brendan says ‘Some projects are too large to complete in six months so handover is needed. The students work in a team and are initially presented with a problem to solve. They tap into key staff at ABP for information and data that will help them formulate a solution and project scope. Their findings are included in a final presentation with recommendations at the end of their placement’.

Chisholm’s Education Coordinator for the Bachelor of Engineering  says of the partnership “Our students have been able to gain practical experience, working in an industrial environment which cannot be taught from textbooks. We are grateful for the ongoing support and partnership from ABP through the countless number of meetings they attended, guidance provided to our students and teaching them to think like engineers. The time and effort ABP have put into mentoring our students throughout multiple work placements will have contributed considerably to their studies ensuring they become real world engineers”.

Read Firas Zahwas full story and watch his video here