Frederick Groth - 2018 Steel Intern Scholar
My summer internship at SSAB’s Steel Mill near Mobile, Ala., included projects in the primary end of the facility. My work focused on reducing casting-related defects in peritectic grades. Multiple facets of the continuous casting process were analyzed to see if any correlations between process data and defect location in finished plates existed. Additional quality improvement projects were conducted in the melt shop, which gave me a better understanding of the overall steelmaking process.
I learned many lessons throughout this internship, but the biggest was that a metallurgist’s role in production is more than just applying engineering knowledge. Unforeseen circumstances occur every day and engineers must be problem-solvers in order to keep the mill running. My knowledge of this will allow me to further the information I acquire in the classroom by considering actual production aspects, instead of just the metallurgical principles.
The greatest challenge of my internship would have to be learning the technical verbiage used at a particular steel mill. In my experience at the SSAB R&D facility and SSAB Alabama mill, the terminology can vary greatly between production and school. Sometimes it felt like learning how to speak a new language.
Overall, this internship has shown me the value of production experience and will help me decide what route to take when I complete my undergraduate degree. After obtaining my bachelor’s degree, I intend to gain additional experience while working for a steel producer and then working toward my master’s. This will allow me to learn the intricacies of production in order to further improve my career and better suit my employer.