I’m Erik, a third-year Welding Engineering major at OSU. This summer I worked for GE Energy in Greenville, South Carolina, which manufactures gas turbines for power plants, ranging in size from 107 tons (85 megawatts) to 314 tons (256 megawatts).
The GE Greenville campus houses the manufacturing, engineering, and testing of their products. I worked in a section of manufacturing known as the “pipe shop” cutting, bending, welding, and x-raying all the pipe that goes on a turbine for cooling systems (both air and oil), manifolds that carry fuel, and any other piping needed.
I also helped out in an area known as “Unit to Base,” the final step in assembly. We put the turbine on a base and all of the piping, wiring, tubing, and monitoring devices on the unit. The manufacturing floor is absolutely amazing. At any given time you can see all of the rotors assembled and getting ready to be run up to a few hundred rpm’s for balancing or final machining, a 300 ton turbine being moved through the air by cranes over to being prepped to ship, or countless CNC and EDM machines on the floor doing machining on exotic alloys.
There were a total of 96 interns at GE Energy in Greenville this summer, with a little less than half being engineering/manufacturing interns. The biggest thing I learned is that Ohio State alumni are everywhere! I thought coming down here I would be lucky to run into one or two alumni, but it turns out there are a lot. There is even a bar and grille in Greenville that has an entire half of the restaurant reserved for every OSU football game — and it mostly fills up!