En­gi­neer­ing grad brews dream ca­reer

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - NEWS -

A job sam­pling beer and de­sign­ing craft brew­ery sys­tems may sound too good to true, but for Univer­sity of Waikato en­gi­neer­ing grad­u­ate Matt Drom­gool, this is his re­al­ity.

Matt is a de­vel­op­ment en­gi­neer for Waikato-based com­pany Nat­u­ral Brew Inc. His pri­mary task is to work on the me­chan­i­cal de­sign and de­vel­op­ment of an au­to­mated pub­scale mi­cro­brew­ery sys­tem, dubbed the Smart­brew.

Two ex­ist­ing pro­to­types of the Smart­brew are in use in brew­eries in Wait­omo and Taupo.

“I work with these ex­ist­ing clients and the pro­to­types to pro­vide tech­ni­cal sup­port and de­velop a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of re­fine­ments and im­prove­ments re­quired for the pro­duc­tion model,” says Matt.

“A typ­i­cal day in­volves trav­el­ling to sites, where I trou­bleshoot me­chan­i­cal is­sues and sam­ple beer in or­der to make sure the ma­chine is pro­duc­ing a top qual­ity prod­uct. When not on site I work from home on my lat­est project, a Smart­brew sys­tem for lo­cal brew­ery Good Ge­orge, which in­volves li­ais­ing with au­to­ma­tion and elec­tri­cal con­trac­tors to im­prove the de­sign.”

Matt ini­tially stud­ied a Bach­e­lor of Teach­ing at Waikato and spent six years at sec­ondary schools teach­ing tech­nol­ogy and en­gi­neer­ing, be­fore re­turn­ing to full-time study in the Univer­sity of Waikato's me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing pro­gramme.

He was of­fered the po­si­tion with Nat­u­ral Brew Inc. two months be­fore fin­ish­ing his fi­nal year of en­gi­neer­ing at Waikato last year.

“The me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing pro­gramme set me up ideally for this po­si­tion, as it in­cluded suf­fi­cient cov­er­age of the ma­te­ri­als and process en­gi­neer­ing at the heart of the brew­ing process as well as the me­chan­i­cal de­sign and modelling re­quired to de­velop a ma­chine which au­to­mates tasks in a process en­vi­ron­ment.”

Matt also cred­its the work place­ments he com­pleted dur­ing the Bach­e­lor of En­gi­neer­ing (Honours) (BE(Hons)) as in­stru­men­tal in build­ing net­works within the in­dus­try and gain­ing ex­po­sure to real world prac­tice. The BE(Hons) in­cludes 800 hours of work ex­pe­ri­ence and pro­vides as­sis­tance from a ded­i­cated group of co­op­er­a­tive ed­u­ca­tion staff to en­sure place­ments are a good fit for both the stu­dent and the com­pany.

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