In celebration of Engineering Week 2021, we’re hosting a Q&A series with our Engineers. Meet Danny Langan, Process Engineer at PaR Systems.
Q: What is your engineering discipline? / What type of engineer are you at PaR?
A: I’m a Process Engineer at PaR, which means I develop and test new processes and technologies for our projects combining mechanical and software into the processes that our machines use.
When I went to school I started as a mechanical engineer, but it wasn’t as interesting as I hoped. I really wanted to get into cutting-edge engineering, so I switched to a degree in electrical engineering and physics. Then I was able to do some physics research to develop on my own, like much of what I do at PaR today combining and integrating systems taking all mechanical, software and electrical aspects into a fully robotic machine.
Q: What do you enjoy the most about engineering at PaR?
A: I think the coolest thing about working at PaR is being able to develop and work on these first-of-a-kind systems on the cutting edge of what’s possible in aerospace manufacturing. Most of the machines I’ve gotten a chance to work on and the processes I’ve developed have never been done before. That’s a pretty incredible thing to have the privilege to do.
Q: What has been your biggest challenge while an Engineer at PaR?
A: The project I’m working on right now is the biggest challenge I’ve has so far. Uses a LIDAR system to scan customer parts to morphed tool paths as they hang in space, it’s a new approach to adaptive manufacturing and we’re taking it to a whole new level. It’s very rewarding to work on stuff like this.
Q: What would you say has been your biggest engineering accomplishment that you are most proud of?
A: The work that I did on a robotic polishing cell, which developed a new adaptive robotic polishing process and created tool paths to accommodate complex geometries of customer parts. I’m so proud of this work because it involved material that was hazardous and we helped automate a manufacturing process that was dangerous for humans to do manually. So it was a combination of developing cutting-edge technology and helping improve the safety of the lives of others at the same time.
Q: What does being a PaR Engineer mean to you?
A: It means something different every day. Every process or technology that I get work on in our development lab is new and different but the consistent factor is that it is all cutting edge. We’re developing new technology and processes that weren’t before possible. I also get work with the best engineers in the world. Many of the engineers at PaR are masters in their fields and I get the privilege to learn so much from them.
Q: What has been your biggest learning moment as an engineer?
A: I’ve been able to know myself a little bit better, I have learned my strengths and weaknesses and areas I need to grow in since being at PaR. I have the people and support system around me to enable me to grow. I’ve had a lot of opportunities given to me by the others around me at PaR to allow me to learn through diving into new experiences.
Q: Why did you decide to go into Engineering?
A: It’s the perfect mix between creativity and science. I’ve always had a passion for creative arts and making things, but also for the science side of things of analyzing the natural phenomenon and solving problems. Engineering is creative problem solving, but then applying it to what’s in from of you, analyzing the results to keep iterating and to find the next best solution. It’s very satisfying because I’m such a curious person.
Q: What advice would you give to a new employee just joining PaR as a new engineer? Or to a student looking to go into Engineering?
A: Have an open mind and learn from as many people in different areas that you can. Everyone has an expertise that they can contribute that can inform your own engineering. This can help you be a better person and a better engineer. Stay humble and look for inputs from others wherever you can.