Electronic Design

Photo Essay Contest

A Day In The Life Of An Electronics Engineer

Electronic Design thanks everyone who entered our photo-essay contest. We received lots of wonderful submissions. Here are the winners and runners-up as selected by our editorial panel of judges.

INDIVIDUAL WINNER

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Senior Electronic Design Engineer Harry Gibbens Jr. of Enoch Corp. sent along this series of photos illustrating his work with junior test engineer Matt Tolman as they build an improved, more reliable test fixture rugged enough to withstand continuous large-volume power-supply production board level testing. They pulled an all-nighter to finish this last-minute assignment, completing the "Improved Test Fixture Design" in 30 hours. On a side note, Harry is deaf, and Matt has been learning sign language to communicate with him.

SERIES WINNER

1. CHANGING OF THE GUARD
Amazed at how many production boards they needed to test, the workbench shelf, plus many more on the other racks (not shown), they knew they had to build a new superior Test Fixture to accomplish this enormous task efficiently. The original Test Fixture, called the Model-T, wasn't up to the challenge.

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2. ORIGINAL TEST FIXTURE, THE MODEL-T
This close-up shows an original Test Fixture. Note that its components are on dual perfboards. This Test Fixture was tough to build, and testing production boards was a long process. There were numerous downtime failures due to its poor design.

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3. DESIGN ENGINEER AT WORK
Harry is actively designing a board layout for the new superior Test Fixture just before submitting a gerber file to a local pc-board fab early in the morning. Several pc boards were picked up later that afternoon.

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4. TONIGHT?
After 29 hours of tedious work on this new, superior Test Fixture, they were completely exhausted. But they succeeded in meeting the critical production test deadline.

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5. AT WORK CALIBRATING
It's now the final hour of building a new superior Test Fixture. Harry guides Matt to a spot where the calibration needs to be done.

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6. TRANSFORMED TEST FIXTURES: MODEL-T TO SPACE SHUTTLE VERSION
Their patience and persistence have finally paid off, as they could show off to the world the amazing transformation from the original Model-T (black) to the Space Shuttle version (silver) in but 30 hours of continuous labor!

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7. NEW SUPERIOR TEST FIXTURE, THE SPACE SHUTTLE VERSION
This close-up shows an improved Test Fixture. Note that all of the components and wiring were built in a neat and well organized layout. This Test Fixture is the ideal unit to test production boards much more quickly than the original Model-T. What's more, this Test Fixture is easily duplicated to make more Test Fixtures and in shorter time than the original Model-T version because of the ease of assembly on pc boards rather than perfboards.

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8. ELECTRONIC ENGINEERING, HUH?
Matt is amazed at the type of work he'd perform as an electronic engineer. The large number of production boards passed the test and the final touch of conformal coating is applied before shipping out to Enoch's customer.

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...AND THE RUNNERS-UP

SERIES

HANK'S DAY
Here we present a day in the life of ClearCube Technology's senior analog design engineer Hank Basse, shot at ClearCube headquarters in Austin, Texas. If Hank looks familiar to you, it's probably because he's also a movie extra in his spare time. His most recent appearance was in The Alamo, where he played a peasant leading an ox cart in the background behind Billy Bob Thornton. Also, he's in the scene at the end of Office Space when the building is burning. But today, Hank's hard at work as the designer of analog video transmission equipment used in ClearCube's "distance extended blade PC."

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INDIVIDUAL

These electrical engineers are pulling an acoustic array up from the depths of the ocean as they field-test some sonar equipment. They were standing on a platform that extended from the stern of their ship when they got swamped by a wave. The stern's railing can be seen in the foreground. From the right, the team comprises Greg Duncan of UnderSea Sensor Systems, Rudy Tatay of EGG, and Frank Marshall of the Naval Air Warfare Center, Aircraft Division. Behind Rudy and partly visible is Dave Fenton, also of the Naval Air Warfare Center, Aircraft Division.

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