Lane Daley is a chemical engineer working at the Clif Bar Bakery in Twin Falls, Idaho. She designs processes at the bakery to efficiently produce the energy bars. "Discovering You: Engineering Your World" is produced by NBC News Learn in partnership with Chevron, the American Society for Engineering Education and the National Science Foundation.
Discovering You – Engineering Your World - Lane Daley
LANE DALEY (Chemical Engineer):
My name is Lane Daley and I'm a chemical engineer. I grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. When I was in high school, I really enjoyed chemistry. I found it really fascinating to understand, you know, how the world worked. And then for the past year, I've been making Clif bars here at a facility in Twin Falls, Idaho.
It's important to understand our materials that we're working with. We might talk about the viscosity or the thickness of a syrup that you need to deliver to a mixer in order to make a bar.
What I think about when I'm making the bars is different ingredients. We have to think about taste and texture and all of that fun stuff. But from a processing standpoint, depending on what we put in it, it will mix differently. It might stick to equipment more or less, depending on what's in the bar. And so when we look at the ingredients and what's here, those are some of the considerations that we're thinking about as we think about making a Clif bar.
Engineers are definitely creative because we usually have a problem and we have to find a solution. I commonly refer to myself as a professional problem solver. Whether it's an ingredient or a chemical or whatever this fluid that we need to get from point A to point B, and you have to think through all the different ways you could do that. It’s like, OK, we could move it in buckets by hand. We could put in this really awesome pump in order to move it. Sometimes, maybe the solution is you heat it up in order to make it easier to move, and then cool it down before you use it. Really all options are open to you and it's up to you as an engineer to figure out what the best option is and to make a recommendation. There are some times when the best solution is do it and see how it turns out, especially if it's low cost. Failing is definitely part of the process. If it fails, then say, "OK, well, why?" Let's understand why it went wrong and learn from our mistakes because if you don't make mistakes you aren't trying enough new things.
So the solar project is about a five acre array in the southwest corner.
There is a ton of teamwork involved in my job and in engineering. All these great engineering marvels around us were never created by one person. Everything around us has been engineered on some level. And so being a part of this group of people who has put together everything that we touch in day to day life is really empowering.
Lane Daley must think about how the different components of a Cliff Bar come together in the factory to make the final product. Take a tour of another type of processing factory, one where a non-food product is made, in this TIME for Kids story.
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