Bachelor of Engineering Technology (Mechanical) graduate Firas Zahwa has a passion to fixing all things machine and mechanical related

“Mechanical engineering attracted me because I like problem solving and I like fixing and maintaining, I like making things work. I love the variety the role brings as no two days are the same”. 

As part of the Bachelor of Engineering Technology, students are required to complete two work-based projects. Firas impressed the project client, Australian Botanical Products (ABP), a leading supplier of essential oil product based in Hallam, and they hired him just shy of graduating.

“What surprised me about the bachelor course was that while you were studying they make you go out to industry and they give you the responsibility straight away to make you feel how engineers take full responsibility for the work they do.”

Firas has been instrumental in repairing and maintaining equipment to improve production processes and reduce wastage and production time.

“A problem came up with the Contexa robot and conveyor belt was continuously jamming. I looked into the problem and it turns out that ABP were going to have to buy a $7,000 replacement conveyor belt. I realised the belt was getting jammed in a groove that had formed over time in the plastic underneath so I just used a knife to ease the way for the conveyor belt and saved the company $7,000. It was like a breakthrough, I was like yes!”

student wearing hairnet working on machinery“Fixing the Contexa robot actually sped up the production which is the main thing in industrial areas. It made production go up by about 30-40 per cent which is a big deal for ABP. That’s why I have to make sure it works, nothing happens to it, it’s an ongoing process”.

Among many skills he has to offer Firas is especially passionate about 3D drawing to make 3D model components and parts for prototyping.

 “I apply over 70% of what I learned at Chisholm daily in the workplace. I am learning more and more and going deeper into what I learned. For example, I use solid works every day, at work and in my personal life and programming, I even use the simple physics of electricity and I am learning how to draw electrical diagrams.”

In less than two years at the company, Firas keeps going from strength to strength, recently being promoted from Production Operations Engineer to Production Mechanical Engineer.

Firas aspires to complete his Masters in engineering one day and own his own mechanical engineering business.