Trevor J. Eggleston – 2021 Steel Intern Scholar
This summer, I interned at Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. in Burns Harbor, Ind., and I worked in the finishing quality assurance department.
The overarching project that I worked on was an investigation of steel coils that failed to meet needed specifications for mechanical properties. At the start of every week, I would check the process automation logs for coils that needed to be reprocessed. I entered these out-of-spec coils into a spreadsheet, along with accompanying data from the materials lab. After identifying what property failed, my mentor and I investigated the cause of the failure by referencing data from each step of the process in which the coil was involved as well as product tracking data. Once a cause was decided, we evaluated courses for reprocessing if there was an error in our procedures or if the coil should be retested or shipped in the case of bad or marginal tests. With this project, we hope to continuously improve the quality of our product, reduce the number of coils that need to be reprocessed, and to identify patterns that may aid in diagnosing future coil failures. Other work I performed includes coil inspection for correct dimensions and edge quality as well as migrating safety documents to a new management system.
During my time at Cleveland-Cliffs, I learned how to access, manage and utilize massive amounts of information stored by a large company. Additionally, I gained experience and knowledge in applying the theoretical principles of materials science directly to industrial processes, especially with regard to microstructural evolution and strengthening mechanisms. As I continue in my studies, I expect the knowledge I gained will give me a more intuitive understanding of the importance of microstructural control and the power of data.
The most enjoyable part of my experience as an intern in finishing quality assurance was learning directly from people who have many years of experience in the industry and being able to perform meaningful and interesting work with them. While study in the classroom is a necessity, the unique opportunity to be taught in a real-world production setting is one that I will never forget. I am very thankful to Cleveland-Cliffs for introducing me to the massive industry that is steel and for the chance to show my skills in the workplace.