The aim of the workshop internship is being accustomed to working methods and environments related to our department, Interior Architecture. As future designers, we ought to be knowledgeable about production phase of furnitures. We were expected to combine our academic knowledge with real-life experience during our internship period. In order to accomplish that, we chose companies that we can develop ourselves.
I chose a company which focuses on producing teen room units. The company has the capabilty of designing and producing furnitures on its own structure. Thus, I was not only able to be a witness to designing process but also work with the tools and the machines one-to-one.
Since we took our first workshop course in the last semester, we were mainly expected to develop our skills in this subject. In addition to that, we could learn about the furniture industry from the people who are insider of the sector; so do I.
After four weeks of experience, I developed my hand skills. Moreover, I have learned about designing and producing process, advertising and marketing a product, also general knowledge of the furniture industry market. I had the chance of operating similar kind of machines that I will be use in my university life (in model making facilities) and maybe in my professional career. I took a part in making a brochure for produced products. I heard the key parts of gaining a seat and retaining it in furniture industry from an experienced person. I gained insight about customer demand which will help me in my professional life.
All in all, during my internship period, I have turned my theoretical knowledge into action; add more accumulation of knowledge and had the chance of experiencing it.
Day 1: In the first day of the internship, I had a general overview of the workshop and being informed about sustained operation. Also, I had the chance of seeing the second area of the workshop which I’m not allowed to work in because it is not suitable for intern students. Like I had stated, in the first area of the workshop they process the raw materials with the machines. So it is such a developed working area: They use manpower in minimum and machine power in maximum. Whereas in the second area manpower leads: There are some machines (less developed than the ones in first area) and hand tools. Workers prepare aluminium pipes, decorative elements etc. Finally, they pack the pieces of furnitures in there. In the area I’m going to do my intern, there are four machines: chipboard cutting machine, hole-functioning machine and two pvc sideband machines (with different sizes). During the process of preparing the raw materials the workers follow these steps: First, they place the chipboards into the cutting machine. The required sizes is in the screen already, machine do the job by itself; workers do not need to direct the chipboards; only push them into the saws. Then they took and place them into the hole-functioning machine and with pressing one single button, machine stars to make holes according to the given data. In seconds, the job gets done. Then they took the chipboards and place them into the pvc sideband machines. These machines works continuously, they take the chipboards and band their sides according to their placements –so, the process repeated if there are more than one side to be banded. The responsibility of the first area finishes with this last job. During those twenty days, I’ll be operating these machines.
Day 2: Today was the orientation day. I learned further information about the machines (which botton should I press, where should I stand etc.) from their masters. Then I performed my first attempt to use the machines. Workers overemphasized that the machines was not that safe. Of course they have measure of safety but in case of any accident, this may not be enough to save me and my organs. They told me that since the time they brought these machines to the factory, only one accident have occured –because of the inattention of the workman but fortunately he is well now. So there is no need to afraid as long as I’m being careful but I should not trust myself and the machines too much. Because even the masters can make mistakes so do these smart machines.
Day 3: Today, I was watching Mr. Alkan while he was using AutoCad. There were hand-drawing sketches on his table and he was transfer them into the digital screen in order to see them clearly. He already done most of the job, there were some little details left. I asked him for doing it instead –I thought I can do it since I have took both manual and computer aided technical drawing courses. He allowed me to do but I could not succeed it easily as I thought. So he helped my when I got into trouble. After a while, I started to do good job although it took a lot of time.
Day 4: Today I continued my job on AutoCad. Due to the fact that I’m not qualified enough, I learned a lot through trial and error –thankfully Mr. Alkan was quite patient. Sometimes, I had to watch some YouTube videos in order to deal with the troubles I was facing with. I did nothing but working on computer, it took my all day to complete the piece of work on AutoCad.
Day 5: Today I finished the remained drawings on AutoCad. Besides, I input the data (sizes of the pieces) to the programme they use to send the data to the machines (Ottimo Perfect Cut). Basically, I looked at the original AutoCad drawings and analyze every single piece that featured in the future (I also checked the original papers just in case). Then, I entered the measurements of the pieces one by one as height x width and sent these datas to the machines. When the workers were ready to run the cutting machine, they would access the measurements automatically and saws would be ready to cut chipboards accordingly.
Day 6: Today I started to operate the machines officially. It was like an intro to my internship period. I tried to get used to them. Since I am an amateur, I was really nervous at the beginning but workers kept a close watch on me. I wore an apron all day and tried to wear goggles but I took off it because I could not see clearly through fogged acrylic. Also I did not wear gloves because they limited my hand movements when I tried them. I operated chipboard cutting machine, hole-functioning machine and PVC sideband machines. I asked a workman for taking my photos while I am working with the machines.
Day 7: I decided to focus on every machine per three days. Today, I only work with the chipboard cutting machine. The whole process starts with this machine and actually it was an easy task. All I had to do was placing the chipboards into counter of the machine and select the measurement from the screen and pressing the button. Then, I pushed the chipboards through the saws (saws gets the position automatically according to selected measurements). Multiple workers can work with this machine at the same time, so workers shift their positions sometimes. I started with putting the chipboards at first but some time later, my workmate took my job and I did his job (taking cutted chipboards from the machine) instead.
Day 8: My second day as cutting machine operator was wiser than yesterday. Because the company runs duplicate production, I had to be faster –I did not want to slow down the process. Of course it would take weeks, months to become a master but it is important to do your best as an intern student. I easily get used to my duty: After a while, my fingers started to push the buttons without thinking. Because I was doing the same job for hours and my brain adopted to all steps. The only tricky part was lifting the chipboards (they were not that heavy for me but I was continuously lifting them so got tired). When I got tired we were switching the jobs with my workmate.
Day 9: Today I operated the chipboard cutting machine for the last time. The amount of work of mine got lesser, thanks to my workmate. He lifted and put the chipboards to the table for me and I pushed the buttons and push the chipboards through the saws and other worker took them back. The more we shared the job the less we got tired. Therefore, the total productivity of us increased, too. By the way, the development of the technology is amazing. Workers do not need to measure the chipboard panels and cut them with primitive tools anymore. This cutting machine do the work within minutes. I cannot think how much time it would take to do all these for a person.
Day 10: My new job was operating the hole-functioning machine. This machine makes holes for connecting pieces and does that job really quick. It might not be a big innovation but I was fascinated anyway. I must say, I think this was the most tiring job of the workshop. I lifted and placed the chipboards into the machine and took them back -of course with the help of my workmate- for all day long. It is not complicated but very toilful. By the way, all the machines have air ejectors so they took most of the dust. I wore my mask for some time but not all day because wearing a mask can be very uncomfortable.
Day 11: Since I had got tired yesterday, my workmate took the control of the operation today. He placed all the chipboards to the machine and I pressed the button and took them back. We done a task-sharing like that. It is so enjoyful to watch the movements of the saws after pushing the chipboards through them. Also I wore ear protectors today because I realized that the high level of sound that comes from the machine may cause a temporary damage to my ears. Most of the time we skip it but it is an essential to wear protecters while working with dangerous and noisy machines.
Day 12: I was right to be fascinated: Hole-functioning can be one of the most useful innovation of the age. It would take more than fifteen minutes to measure, mark and make the holes with a hand-tool for a person but the machine is able to do that less than a minute. Industrial revolution is a must. Jobs have to be done rapidly for the sake of company and people who are waiting for their new furnitures. Also, thanks to these smart machines; workers get less tired. And since these machines are not developed enough to take people’s place completely –for now-, people are still able to get hired and earn payments.
Day 13: Today I worked with PVC sideband machine. It was the safest machine ever: no saws, no dust… All I had to do was putting the chipboards in such a way that the required side of the chipboard fit the place which band comes from. The machine has a kind of a walking band (little plastic wheels) that help you to move chipboard through the way. When the machine holds chipboard by itself, you just let it go and repeat the process with other chipboards. The point is, I had to be careful about the required sides. Because some parts do not need to be banded (the side that will be at the back side of the furniture, the sides that will be placed between two other chipboards etc.).
Day 14: Working with PVC sideband machine is quite enjoyable. Today I continued my job with it. It is far away from the other machines and since it does not causes any dust or noise, I did not need to wear any protecter except for my apron –it makes me feel like a professional. I have been there for fourteen days now and I feel like I really became a part of this manufactoring process. And because the company runs duplicate production, tasks never end. Except for my break-time, I worked non-stop. But I really enjoyed working with this machine so it did not make me tired, not at all.
Day 15: I had worked as the one who places the chipboards to the machine for two days, so today we switched our places with my workmate. This time, I was the one who tooks the banded chipboards and sorted them into either “finished” or “not-finished” sections. When our batch finished, I took back the not-finished chipboards to my workmate and put the finished chipboards aside. After we finished the whole batch, we took all the chipboards to “ready-to-send” place. Then workers started to take them to the second area of the workshop with using pallet trucks. The continued to work till we reached the daily target of production.
Day 16: Today I worked with the bigger PVC sideband machine. There is no significant difference between two PVC sideband machines, just the one I worked with today was able to go with bigger chipboard pieces. Like the previous days, I placed the chipboards to the machine and made their required sides banded.
Day 17: Today I was still working with the sideband machine. I was putting the chipboards and my workmate was taking them. After a while we shifted our positions. I started to take the chipboards back and categorize them by their status (finished/not-finished). The ones in “not-finished” pile was banded again. Everytime we finished a batch, I put the finished chipboards aside so workers could took and transfer them to the second area.
Day 18: Today, after finishing my work with PVC sideband machine, I went to the second area with the workers who transport the chipboards there. In the second area, workers combine the pieces of the furnite and also prepare their extras with using aluminium, wood, cardboard etc. For example if it is an wardrobe, they cut aluminium pipe for it; cut its back panel from the cardboards; maybe cut its decorative pieces from wooden materials, and so. After the whole process done, they pack all the pieces of the furniture. Finally, the packed furnitures get ready to be sent to the markets.
Day 19: Today I was with advertising and marketing departments personnels. I heard they were going to prepare some brochures for next season. I was so willing to work with them. I thought I could help them with placements, colors, fonts etc. I asked them for it, they let me with pleasure. First I wanted to see their previous works in order to get some idea and then done some online research about the subject. I was giving ideas to them and they were working on it on computer. I told them to keep it simple and clean: One of the most important thing was using fonts no more than two types. I believe, I used my knowledge from the basic art and design courses well, in respect of color combinations and placing the elements etc. They told me that they will prepare a couple of brochures and decide on later which one is going to be pressed.
Day 20: Today was the last day of the internship. I had an last overall tour both first and second areas of the workshop just to check if everything was going well. Also I spent some time in finance and accounting departments room. Talked with them about incomes and expenses. We argued profits and losses of the companies that run this kind of job. I believe, I benefited from the opportunities I captured: Not only worked in the workshop area but also spent time with other departments of the company. Because they were related to my profession, too. I thanked for everything so do they and I said goodbye to my first real-life experience in furniture manufacturing company as a future interior architect.