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What’s a Co-op Experience at ITM Like? 

Check out the Q&A with a recent UC grad who gained real-world experience doing hands-on learning

Brandon Walsh’s career came into focus in a powerful way during one of his co-op experiences with ITM. The 23-year-old recent University of Cincinnati graduate remembers the moment. He was watching a rocket launch from a distance while on an assignment with an ITM crew in Florida. 

“Just watching it go up into the sky and disappear while watching a livestream and hearing updates on the rocket was pretty incredible,” he said. “It was very neat to see. It was a good five seconds after the launch that I heard and felt the blast.” 

Walsh, who grew up in Fort Thomas, Kentucky, knew then that he wanted to learn all he could about aerospace. The mechanical engineering graduate is now pursuing his master’s degree in aerospace in a joint degree program that has him splitting time between UC and the University of Bordeaux. 

He credits his ITM experiences for helping him lock onto his dream. Walsh co-opped with ITM in the summer of 2021 and again in the summer of 2022, so we caught up with him to learn more about his adventures.

Q:What was it like when you first started at ITM?

A:I enjoyed it from the start. During the interview, they talked about all the projects they do and all the traveling. That piqued my interest. Near the end of the interview they took me down to the lab and showed me some of the projects they were working on and all the tools that they had. Being able to go out to different parts of the country to work on various projects and having a lot of in-house projects to work on really interested me.

Q:You had co-ops at a couple of larger companies before coming to ITM. How would you compare the experiences?

A:I definitely got to do a larger variety of things at ITM. At the two previous companies, I was more set in a certain department and had a certain thing I’d do every day, every week. But at ITM I got to do a lot more hands-on stuff as well as the digital/computer side of things.

Q:What types of projects did you work on at ITM?

A: We did a lot of aerospace work, so trips to a space flight company. We worked on different rocket parts and got to see the process and talk to the engineering teams. We worked at an electric vehicle battery factory up in Michigan doing strain gauging. I got to go to West Texas to work in the oil fields on a project. It was just neat to see different parts of the country that I hadn’t really seen before, too.

Q:How was it getting such a wide exposure?

A: It helped further my education and understanding of the topics and things that I was working on.

Q:What stood out from your time in the lab at ITM?

A: Just seeing how this small company was making all these very precise and nice looking panels for (a world renowned equipment company) was really impressive. I got to practice and work on my skills soldering and using a drill press and taps and other tools. 

Q: So, a lot of helpful hands-on work?

A: Yes. I’m definitely better at soldering now than when I started.

Q:Talk to me about the culture at ITM.

A:I enjoyed working with all the different levels of people there. It was easy to talk to all of them, and they had different amounts of knowledge and ways to relate to me. They were able to provide different pieces of advice and things that helped me along the way.

Q:Did the experience at ITM help shape where you wanted to head with your career?

A:Yeah. Definitely. It really confirmed that I want to go into aerospace. I hope to work in the field of aircraft or spacecraft. 

Q:So seeing a rocket launch in person ignited something in you?

A: Yeah. That helped open my eyes.

For more information about employment or co-op opportunities contact Josh Fishback via phone: (844) 837-8797 or email: josh.fishback@itestsystem.com.

ITM Going to New Heights with Aerospace Clients

Rocket on Launch Pad

A commercial airliner touches down and brakes safely so hundreds of passengers can exit at their destination. A solid rocket booster separates from a space flight as the main payload overcomes gravity to head into orbit. A military drone completes its mission over enemy territory. 

In a very real way, the team of engineers at Integrated Test and Measurement (ITM) goes along for the ride during plenty of crucial moments in the aerospace realm. From doing data collection to measure the stress load of an airplane’s landing gear to installing strain gauges on rocket components to gather more than a thousand channels of data, ITM’s testing and measurement services are going to incredible heights.  

Ryan Welker, ITM vice president of operations, says their aerospace partners most often turn to the Milford, Ohio, engineering service and software company for their expertise in testing and design validation, particularly if the project involves complex strain gauge work. 

“A lot of times when you are dealing with aerospace requirements, it involves challenging materials. You aren’t just working with steel, and it’s quite a bit different installing strain gauges on titanium or carbon fiber. It makes the installation process a little more challenging, but we’ve been taking tough measurements in extreme environments around the globe for 20-plus years. Our experience in strain gauging is more of an art than a science.” 

Welker points out that ITM won’t hesitate to put boots on the ground for their aerospace partners who have complex challenges. That was the case when a high-end aerospace company rang him up in desperate need of structural testing on a crucial component ahead of a launch. Though the job would require several people on-site for multiple months, Welker and team made it work. They installed strain gauges around the clock for three months so their client could complete crucial validation testing on a design. ITM delivered, and the client made their deadline. 

Often during these intricate instrumentation processes, the ITM team employs the capabilities of their custom iTestSystem software to monitor stresses during complex assemblies. Aerospace companies may also rent ITM’s custom-built acquisition hardware to record data, even if it means that ITM needs to conduct onsite demonstration, support or help with analysis. 

“We don’t just offer the ability to run a test,” says Welker. “We train your folks to use it.” 

In the end, ITM offers innovative test solutions and a range of aerospace testing services designed to help the industry develop superior products and processes.  

Key Services for Aerospace Clients 

Strain Gauge Installation 

Installing strain gauges in the field for structural and fatigue measurements requires expertise and experience. Our field service technicians and engineers have installed strain gauges on structures and machinery around the globe for decades. Whether you use our iTestSystem software to stream and analyze strain signals for static measurements and real-world fatigue data acquisition, or contract our software engineers to build a real-time strain monitoring system, we will make sure you acquire quality strain data for your aerospace project. 

Structural and Mechanical Testing 

Our team of engineers have decades of experience in performing structural testing in  aerospace and many other markets. Testing services include Impact Testing and Modal Analysis, Structural Dynamics Operating Tests, Data Logging and Unattended Data Acquisition. 

Our engineers can assist you with any part of the testing process. This includes test planning, onsite sensor installation and data acquisition and remote test monitoring. 

High Channel Count Structural DAQ Systems 

In our work, we often collect strain, vibration, voltage, and other signals simultaneously that require well over a thousand total sensor channels. Network synchronization technology embedded within the NI cDAQ chassis allows users to account for the sheer number of channels during these structural tests. The true secret to our success in these high-channel jobs has been our iTestSystem software which leverages the cDAQ’s synchronization technology while providing an intuitive data acquisition and sensor configuration and setup. 

Rugged Data Acquisition Systems for Rent 

If the right tool doesn’t exist, build it. For years that has been the approach ITM engineers have taken when it comes to gathering data and building tests for clients. And after decades of performing structural testing in aerospace, off-highway, automotive, industrial and many other environments, we’ve built up an impressive line of custom Rugged Data Acquisition (RAC) Systems which will perform under harsh testing conditions.

For more information about our DAQ Rental Hardware, data collection or Testing Services, contact Ryan Welker via email at ryan.welker@itestsystem.com.