Garden Grove, California – Saint-Gobain Seals’ team members collaborated with Boston University students, Megan Fantom, Sophia Perriseau, Shannon Sulmasy, and Katherine Taube to improve the machining process for Meldin split piston rings that are designed and manufactured at the Bristol, Rhode Island, site.
The project is one of Saint-Gobain Seals’ initiatives to retain and develop women within the organization to engage and support the next generation of female engineers. At the end of the project, the students developed a design that will decrease physical labor and produce 6x more rings per run – a whopping 362% increase in efficiency.
“Once the students arrived for a tour and a better introduction to the proposed projects, we found that this year’s group of students were all female engineers, which we thought was great to see so many females in a usually male-dominated profession,” says lead machinist Kayla Lacombe.
Women make up about 47% of the labor force, but only 27% are part of the manufacturing industry. Factors that discourage female engineers include encountering sexism, having a lack of representation, being stereotyped, and experiencing motherhood. However, in all stages of the engineering profession, women are necessary to address the industry’s growing labor need.
Lacombe, who just received her 5-year service award, adds, “They were able to see how far women have come in the industry and in this company alone.”
Meldin split piston rings are used in many automotive core applications such as brake systems for active safety and climate control systems for driving comfort. The Bristol site is Saint-Gobain Seals’ key location in the United States for automotive customers and supports other key sites in Wertheim and Neuhaus, Germany; and Minhang, China.