Thursday, July 11, 2013

Q&A With Tom Chen, Applications Engineer

While a recent addition to the team, Tom Chen is no stranger to Bishop-Wisecarver. Having been part of the BWC team in the past as a Test & Automation Engineer, Tom was rehired in the Applications Engineer role, where he is able to help customers with their designs and engineering applications. "My favorite thing about being back is that it's like being part of a family," said Chen. "It is really great to be here," he shared with us.

Tom is a seasoned engineer with
 a wealth of experience
Question: Why did you want to be an engineer?

TC: I like to find solutions to problems. I like to build mechanisms and machines that are cool and that can move fast.

Question: Who was your biggest influence in becoming an engineer?

TC: My father, who was a mechanic, and also my uncle, who was an electrical designer. Another uncle also inspired me as well; he was a software programmer. Other influences include Caroll Shelby, Burt Rutan, and Ben Franklin.

Question: Where did you go to school?

TC: I attended college at Cal Poly, in San Luis Obispo, California.

Question: What kind of job experience did you have before joining the Bishop-Wisecarver team?

TC: I have over a decade of experience in motion control, laboratory automation, and factory automation. As far as motion control goes, I’ve been an Applications Engineer for a manufacturer of servo motors, stepper motors, and controllers.

I’ve also worked as a R&D Design Engineer, where I worked on automation and robotic systems for magnetic resonance analyzers.

Working with factory automation equipment, I filled the position of Electrical Controls Engineer making automated corrugated paper factory equipment using PLC, HMI, pneumatics hydraulics, motors, sensors, and conveyor systems.

Question: Have you had any internships?

TC: I had a six month internship at a bio-tech company where I worked on the DNA analyzer which used an automated x-y-z robot to map the entire human DNA.

Question: What is your area of expertise?

TC: Really, my specialties include motion control, linear actuators, and robotics. That is a huge part of the reason I was so glad to come back to Bishop-Wisecarver.

Question: What do you enjoy most about being an engineer?

TC: I really enjoy helping others to find solutions, as well as creating machines which make things run more efficiently and quickly.

Question: What's the most rewarding thing about being an engineer?

TC: I would have to say that hearing about uses of motion systems and automation in amazing machines is far and away the coolest part of this job.

Question: What is the toughest application you have worked on?

TC: Once, I worked on a custom product for a Detroit car manufacturing company. That was very difficult!

Question: Any advice to aspiring engineers?

TC: Writers write. Machine builders build. Don’t limit your imagination.

Questions for Tom? Email him at to learn more about how we work with manufacturers to engineer, manufacture, and build linear and rotary motion solutions, custom complex assemblies, and optimal embedded intelligence systems.