Six Months Intership at Kathrein USA

Andrea Perl infront of the city skyline

Andrea Perl is studying mechanical engineering with advanced practical experience at Munich University of Applied Sciences. She is working at Kathrein to do a practical semester and has recently completed a six-month internship at Kathrein USA. Here she describes her impressions:

From Rosenheim to Dallas

“I made the first contact with Kathrein USA’s local construction manager, Matt Ferris, on one of his visits to Germany. We clarified the requirements for my internship, discussed possible projects and planned the further procedure.

After getting the approval from Jim Nevelle, the President and CEO of Kathrein USA, and concluding all the travel preparations, I was able to begin my six-month overseas stay in July 2017.

In order to gain a better insight into the American culture and make social connections, I had chosen to live with families of my work colleagues.

My tasks

Kathrein USA has its headquarters in Dallas, Texas. In addition to sales activities, they mainly test and repair antennas which are sold on the American market. One of the design department’s main responsibilities is the development of canister antennas.

Due to the constantly increasing demands of the customers on the frequency ranges and the number of ports of the individual antennas, it is important to simplify the assembly and installation. My job was to develop concepts for easier assembly, in which all three panels contain the same components.

Another project was to propose alternatives for lower-priced bottom plates of canister antennas, which ensure consistent stability at lower weight and reduced assembly effort compared to the currently used ones.

I first worked out partial solutions for individual requirements, which I then evaluated and discussed with my colleagues.

On this basis, I developed an overall concept. Unfortunately, I could not see this project through to the end. At the moment, offers for prototypes are still being sought.

Impressions of the country, people and culture

For four weeks prior to starting my internship, I travelled with my family through the American west. On our trip through California and Nevada, I realised for the first time the vastness of the USA compared with Germany.

I also experienced the “Southern hospitality” first-hand.

Living with my colleagues’ families gave me a deep insight into daily life in America. I attended high-school football games, a rodeo and the Dallas Oktoberfest. Of course, I also celebrated Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas in the American way and didn’t miss out on the shopping experience of Black Friday.

On long weekends, I was able to explore other parts of the USA. Along with the west coast, I also visited Austin, San Antonio, New York, Chicago and other places.

Conclusion

During the course of my practical semester, I was able to expand my knowledge of product development and CAD construction. I also got a deeper insight into the entire process of antenna development.

Apart from improving my English skills considerably, I became aware of the differences in life style and work culture compared to Germany.

Thanks to everybody who made this very interesting internship possible.”