I am a Quality Control Intern at Chroma Technology in Bellows Falls, Vermont. Chroma is an employee-owned company that manufactures glass filters that are shipped all over the world to be used in various forms, such as in microscopic and telescopic research, allowing researchers to use the filters to distinguish regions in their observations. Chroma offers a variety of filters, and promises the customer that as long as they understand the science behind the product that it will meet expectations or their money back. With this integrity in their products, Chroma ensures customers that the filters will be of the best quality. As an employee owned company, Chroma employees all work for each other, allowing everyone to have some power in the company. Chroma also has a part in the Vermont and New Hampshire communities through promotion of fund raisers, employee participation in events, employment outreach, and environment support through efficiency and awareness. More information can be found on Chroma and the multiple aspects of the company at http://www.chroma.com/.
As a quality control intern, I examine filters using spectrophotometric equipment to find transmission and optical density to determine wavelength, bandwidth, and band passes. This quantitative data collection allows for the products to be within specification. This allows me to work firsthand in a scientific environment since I utilize data collection and record keeping of information gathering during the filter tests. My job also uses qualitative data by cosmetically inspecting the filters for stains, scratches, digs, spatter, fractures, and pinholes. During the work day I am able to work independently on jobs, scanning and inspecting filters, but I also have coworkers that are more than willing to assist me when I am unsure of what should be done when an error occurs. I also work on side projects that go beyond the usual quality control. I am learning about root cause failure, which investigates where the defects are occurring during the manufacturing process. This is done by observing and taking notes of how parts are handled and the various steps, watching for occurrences that may lead to damage. The point of this is to determine if there is a point in the manufacturing process that may be the root of common defects that plague some products. Another project that I am working is that creation of a product defect catalog that contains the recorded defects from parts that were rejected at Chroma, and will eventually include parts sent back from customers. This project has required hours of cleaning and looking at filters with a microscope and high intensity lights.
Chroma has also been gracious enough to have more than one Antioch student intern, allowing Keenan and I to have our own unique positions, although for some projects we work together. One of the company’s founders, Paul Millman, is an Antioch alum who is very supportive in our learning at Chroma and has invited us to attend conferences in order to learn more about employee ownership and scientific research that is being done with light filter. I think that this Co-op position is great.