Since the last time we last wrote, a lot has happened. Last week, us trainees organized a small christmas get-together for the previous trainees with lots of saffron bun (lussekatter), gingerbread cookies and mulled wine. Apart from this, we also took a road trip to our site in Kongsberg, Norway where we got to learn more about the organization, the products they work with, along with the future outlooks. Of course we got a tour of their workshop which was super interesting.
In Norway we also had time for a visit to the Armed Forces Museum where we got to see and read more about the role the armed forces of Norway had ni different historical events. The trip to Norway offered very nice (but freezing cold) weather, pretty scenaries with snow covered nature and the perfect opportunity to bond as a group. Because, what else screams “bonding” more than us 5 living together in a room with five beds and one bathroom?
You can really sense that christmas and a new year is approaching. A lot of the snow we had last week has already melted but I’m crossing all my fingers and toes that it will come back before christmas eve. And speaking of the year ending… We’re leaving the office for some well deserved break and therefore the blog will take a small break as well (so sad, I know…). But worry not, after the winter holidays we’ll be back, bigger, better, and improved I promise! 🙂
Until then, us trainees wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! <3
As Christmas and winter holidays are approaching, so is the end of our first rotations. Some might wonder what I have been up to on my first rotation? Well, my first rotation is in the materials lab, where you work to support production and development programs (among others) with various analyzes to evaluate whether or not the details meet all the safety requirements. As the safety aspect pervades everything that is done at the company, it naturally places high demands on the analysis methods used in the lab. Therefore, I have worked a lot on reviewing the routines that exist for method validation in the lab to ensure that there should uncertainties how, when and why method validation is done.
Another part of the safety aspect is being able to identify which substances the products we deliver consist of, as the EU has a list of various chemicals that are harmful to humans and/or the environment. And if the companies still want to supply products that contain more than 0.1% by weight of the listed substances, the company is obliged to report this to the customer. This is also something I have been involved in where I’m in the process of mapping out how such processes work. A lot of what I do in this project is talking to different people to get knowledge from different departments of the company.
If you have followed Aerobloggen for a while, you probably know by now that as a trainee you do other things than just rotations. For example, we participated as judges at the FIRST Lego League here in Trollhättan. FIRST Lego League is a knowledge and technology competition for children and young people aged 10-16 where the aim is to inspire them to become tomorrow’s engineers, researchers and problem solvers by doing a project. The project mainly consists of two parts; programming of a robot that should be able to perform various tasks on a track, as well as presentation of an innovative project linked to this year’s theme, which were Superpowered. It was a lot of fun and we were impressed by how creative and determined they were. In addition to participating as judges, us trainees awarded the winning team with a scholarship of 20,000 SEK. We wish the winning team the best of luck in the regional finals in Oslo next year 🙂
Like Arvid, I, visited the university where I’m an alumnus, namely KTH, to represent GKN together with 6 other colleagues at the career fair THS Armada. Even though I haven’t been away from KTH and Stockholm for too long, it was very fun to be back, even if it was only for a short while. I, myself remember a couple of years ago when I walked around as student and talked to different companies and how it felt like a life after school felt so far away. So it was very fun to be able to experience what it feels like to stand on the other side of the fair. The days at the fair offered pleasant conversations about GKN, career opportunities at the company and lots of other fun. If you are interested in writing your thesis, you can check out the possibilities here. And if you are interested in applying for the global graduate program, keep an eye on the blog!
It is now less than a month left until Christmas, but that doesn’t stop us from having some fun until then. Soon we’re going on a study visit, but where we’re going and who we’re visiting you’ll see (read) in future posts 😀
On Tuesday and Wednesday this week it was time for Arkad, which is the career fair in Lund. This was the first time GKN Aerospace visited Lund and as an LTH alumni it felt extra fun to be there. We who went to Lund were 2 managers, 2 from HR, Hampus (trainee from 2019) and me (Arvid). During the two days we had many interesting conversations where we talked about what GKN does, about which parts we produce in an engine, about the SWAN nozzle and what we are doing to reduce the aviation industry’s climate footprint.
Career fairs are an important base for recruitment and since we had never been in Lund before, few people knew who we are. Therefore, it was an important step to go down to Lund, which has many engineering students and it seemed that many people were interested in our business. We also had a very advantageous position as we were placed opposite Koenigsegg who had placed their new model Jesko opposite us.
As Lund alumni, Hampus and I also went to the banquet in the evening, which was in the AF castle. There we got to eat duck, see excellent shows and have interesting conversations with other company representatives and students.
How time flies. It will soon be a year since we, the graduates of 2021, started at GKN Aerospace in Trollhättan. For some, it was an experience of moving to a new city and for others, to move back home. An eventful year with mixed levels of restrictionsas a result of the pandemic.
Despite that, we have had a lot of fun thanks to the graduate program and we look forward to what next year has to offer. A few weeks ago, I started my third rotation at the Space Program and had the opportunity to participate in Universuem’s Space Day on June 19th. I managed our VR experience with the Ariane 6 rocket together with Marcus Broberg. During the day, astronaut Jessica Meir visited Universeum, a Swedish-American astronaut who spent 205 days in space. In the middle of her hectic schedule, she got the chance to try our VR experience.
Before the summer holiday, us graduates got together to summarize the year and discuss how we can increase our commitment at the workplace. The day ended with a round of mini-golf where the girls dominated. Better luck next time boys. 😉
Now the blog will go on a summer break and when we return it is time to welcome the new graduates. We also want to take the opportunity to thank the graduates of 2020 for their posts about the abroad rotations, it has really inspired us and we cannot wait until we get to go.
As you already know, me and the other 2020/2022 graduates are all abroad for our last placements, where I as well as Emma ended up in Bristol. Maybe you remember the news about Eunice hitting UK, the worst storm in decades? That’s when I arrived. Luckily the weather have just gotten better ever since and we’ve finally good some nice warmer summer weather, even if it looks like we’re getting a bit of rain now for Midsummer. But hey, what is Midsummer without rain anyways?
Since I arrived here in UK I’ve been working in Human Recourses where I am part of the global Talent and Engagement team. I am based at the Global Technology Centre here in Bristol and the rest of the team is spread across England. Luckily we’ve learnt a lot about remote working and digital meetings lately! The work in HR is totally new and very different from any other work I’ve ever done but I’m learning so much. Since I arrived my time have been divided into two major topics, events and Learning & Development. With Learning & Development my work have been heavily focused on the “behind the scenes” in our Learning Management Systems, Wilbur and LinkedIn Learning.
The first event I got involved in was Recognition of Learning, a ceremony at the Aerospace Museum in Bristol. Under the wings of the Concorde we recognised colleagues within our company for their achievements during the past two years and as part of this celebration the 2019/2021 global graduates also had their graduation. During the same week the 2021/2023 global graduates also had their first development week, which Moa has already told you about, which made it a quite intense week and start of my placement but so much fun and a lot of good memories made!
After this big event in March it was a quieter month in April before me, Emma, Jens and Marcus went to Paris early May and then adding in Robin for our third development week in US just a few weeks later. First thing first, Paris and the JEC World. JEC World is an international composite show where we as graduates helped out in the GKN Aerospace stand as well as walking around the show getting inspired from all the other exhibitors. We gathered new knowledge around composites and our products and I am truly grateful for this network experience!
After a week of recharge back home in Bristol my graduate cohort met up for our third and final development week at our Newington site in Connecticut. During the week we developed skills and knowledge around coaching, presentations and negotiations and between the sessions we got the pleasure to meet the US recruitment team and Engines Talent team, and also throw some axes! Before leaving US we also took the opportunity to visit Pratt & Whitney’s Customer Training Centre where we got to see our products assembled on to the engines. Then of course we ended our trip with a visit to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in a sunny New York!
I can’t understand where time has gone. We’ve soon been here for two years which means that we’ll be graduating this autumn. I just want to take the opportunity to thank my cohort for everything, what a journey it’s been! But before ending the scheme and leaving UK I will end my placement with a last project, Farnborough International Airshow, one of the world’s biggest aerospace events! All the global graduates from both 2020/2022 and 2021/2023 are meeting up here in UK for this, so I bet you will hear more about it later on!
It’s time for an update from my abroad placement in Bristol, UK.
I’m at one of GKNs two manufacturing sites in Bristol, in addition to these two sites GKN also have a brand new Global technology center. The site where I’m at is part of the Civil Airframe business line and they manufacture products to the wings of the aircraft, unlike the site in Trollhättan which manufactures parts to the engine. The main products that’s produced here are Fixed Trailing Edge (FTE) to the Airbus A350 aircraft which is a long distance aircraft with a wide aisle. If you would travel from London to New York it’s likely that you will get the honor to board this aircraft.
The FTE are made out of carbon using Advanced Fibre Placement, it’s over 30 meters long and is made out of 3 shorter spars which are automatically assembled to the full FTE. The assembly process itself is the most complex automated large scale assembly undertaken by GKN. The total weight of the entire FTE is 1800 kg which corresponds to about 7% of the wings weight and it supports 10x its own weight. It runs from the fuselage all the way to the end of the wing. Below is a picture of the assembled FTE and a drawing to show where on the wing it’s placed. As I mentioned, the FTE carries a lot of weight but it has other functionalities as well. For example it’s used for attaching the landing gear onto the wing.
What about living in Bristol? Bristol is located on the west coast of England, about a 2 hour drive from London. It even has its own airport, which is very convenient. I flew to Paris a few weeks ago with a direct flight to Charles de Gauelle, and it took just about 1 hour. The city is filled with great pubs and restaurants and there’s also a lot of shopping and plenty of parks and green areas. The pictures below is from one of the biggest parks in town and a panorama view of the town from above.
So, Bristol is close to London but I’m even happier about the fact that it’s close to Wales. If you are into old castles, fortresses, cathedrals etc. then Wales is the place to be. It has more castles than any other area in Europe (might have found a somewhat biased source for that but anyways). Apart from the castles the countryside in Wales is absolutely beautiful. I tried to find a few pictures to show you what it looks like but as you know, it’s never the same in a picture as it is in reality. All pictures are from Wales, the top left one is from Little Haven on the southwest coast, top right is the St.Davids Cathedral in St.Davids. Bottom left is from Conwy castle on the north coast and bottom right is from Brecon Beacons National Park.
Around 3 months ago I packed my bags and stepped on a plane with the final destination being the Netherlands. This was a bit unfortunate timing as the country was in the midst of a covid lockdown making it difficult to settle in at first. Luckily IKEA opened up a few days later making it possible to collect all the necessities of being a “swede”.
Ever since my arrival I have had the great opportunity of joining the Lean deployment team at GKN’s defense site located in Hoogeveen. Upon joining I was a bit worried that the language barrier would be an obstacle. As it turned out I have more of an issue with the food culture of eating sandwiches to lunch every day than with the language, which says a lot about how well they speak English in this country. Anyway, my role within the Lean deployment team is an interim site six sigma black belt which constitutes a few different responsibilities. For instance, I am running an improvement project targeting reduction of non-conformances for one of our “high movers” for the military fighter jet F-35 Lightning II. Another part is to make sure we are running our six sigma program for the benefit of the site, meaning that we target the most critical issues and the ones who can bring us financial savings and cost of poor quality (COPQ) reduction. Based on GKNs global target of putting much emphasis on reducing COPQ I believe working with Lean six sigma is one of the most influential areas at this point in time, which really drives my motivation.
Having this possibility of working abroad is one of many great parts with GKN’s graduate program. Besides learning more about handling all the tough situations related to moving to another country I also got first-hand experience working with many cool new products in the defense business line, e.g., wing flaps and inflight opening doors. As these products include a great deal of composites, they require very different manufacturing processes than what I am used to in Sweden, making the new learnings and perspectives very valuable.
As of for now, I am going to enjoy the last couple of weeks here in the Netherlands to see if we can take a few more steps toward making Lean fly. After that, it is time for some vacation and then I will see you all back in Sweden.
The 27th of april was the last fair for the season, LARV (Luleå ArbetsmarknadsVecka) in Luleå. The trainee fighters sent to visit Norrbottens pearl, Luleå, were Merim and Alex together with two HR representatives and two managers. It was awesome to get the chance to talk with students about aerospace and our role within the business, we hope that some of you we meet have found their way to this blog.
The journey started at 03.30 on Tuesday from Trollhättan to Landvetter and then on to Luleå, with a transit in Arlanda Stockholm. The arrival to Luleå hosted fresh winds and snow covered lawns, what could be better than this to build your character. As a previous LTU-student, I (Alex) had to act as a local and guide the team around campus prior to us setting up our stall. After a lot of dividing and adding, we could happily agree on that setting up a Samsung-TV on a portable wall is a lot harder than designing and constructing jet engines… Towards the evening we went in to town and grabbed a couple of beers and had something to eat at the newly established Corners Sportsbar. On Wednesday the fair happened and it was overshadowed by all the coffee we drank. It was really fun that our 3D-printed rocket got us much attention which enabled us to talk about other stuff we do except the Ariane rocket nozzle. There were a lot of interesting, engaging and nice talks with students about materials, manufacturing and the future of the business. We just want to say thank you to everyone that visited us during LARV.
For me (Merim) it was my first time in Luleå, I have previously never been further north than Stockholm, and I can happily say that it was a really nice experience to visit, as Alex refers to it, Norrbottens pearl. It was everything I expected and more, frozen lakes and ocean, a bit of snow that has not yet melted and cold winds. I can though imagine that we were a bit lucky as we visited Luleå during the “right” half year so we did not get the vitamin D deficiency.
After the fair me and Alex attended the banquet which was arranged by LARV. They indulged us in a fantastic lobster soup followed by salmon and some kind of potato bun, and lastly some cheesecake, very good food. We also got the try out beer from Luleås own brewery which was a cool experience.
To summarize my first visit to Luleå I would say ten out of ten would do it again!
As a trainee you can help out to manage all the thesis works at the company as most of them eventually end up at our table and we post them on the trainee blog. Sometimes it happens that we hear something about a thesis that is not yet posted, which is why it is good for you as a student to contact us as we might have more in storage than what you see on the blog, however this is not guaranteed. In worst case, we will just make a note of your interest and area and we’ll reach out to you when something interesting comes up.
As I mentioned earlier, we publish all our thesis work on this site so take a look to see if you find anything interesting. We usually publish new work during autumn which is scheduled to start in spring, so the posted documents might be outdated and some of them might already have started. However, you can always contact the contact person to double check, maybe there will be a continuation on the current thesis work.
Open to work?
We also got the chance to talk to you about how it is to work for GKN Aerospace and what opportunities there are right now. I would encourage you to take a look at our career page, which you can find HERE, take a look and apply for any position that looks interesting!
Suddenly it happened, covid-19 released us from its firm grip and we were finally able to go abroad on our international placements. It feels like it’s several years ago I wrote an entry on this blog considering how much we’ve done since handing the blog over to the current trainees. We, the trainees 2020/2022, have finished our final rotations in Trollhättan, visited most of our sites in England and now we’re all spread out on our international assignment which is the final step of the graduate program.
In my case, I got the opportunity to spend my six months in France with our customer ArianeGroup on their site in Vernon, along the Seine an hour west of Paris. ArianeGroup develops and manufactures the launchers Ariane 5 (and the coming Ariane 6) for which we develop and manufacture the main engine nozzle and turbines for both first and second stages. I am however part of preparing the upcoming hot-fire tests of the Prometheus engine where we’ve developed the turbine.
Prometheus is a very exciting project, partly because it is intended to be used in the Themis launcher which will the first European reusable launcher and also because it is to a large extent developed for additive manufacturing to drastically reduce cost and weight. On top of that, it’ll use methane as propellant! For our component, this means that we’ve been able to reduce the amount of components from around 100 to only two! Also, the hop tests (liftoff – flight to a couple hundred meters – landing) will be conducted in Kiruna, which is great news for Swedish space industry!
Enough about technology! Vernon is a smaller town, around 23000 inhabitants, where ArianeGroup is the largest private employer and the history stretches way back to World War II where the site was used to develop and test the V2 rocket. The site includes development, manufacturing, assembly and testing of rocket engines.
Vernon is situated in Normandy, along the Seine River that runs through Paris and debouches into the English Channel. There are lots of renaissance castles through this valley and around Vernon that keeps me occupied during the weekends, as I have an interest in history. One of the highlights is a visit to the coastal town of Étretat and the cathedral in Rouen where Olaf II Haraldsson (King of Norway 1015-1028) was baptized and then played a vital role in the conversion of Norway from Norse Paganism to Christianity. Normandy has an incredible amount of history linked (as the name tells) to Scandinavian Vikings, so there’s plenty to discover!
I could keep writing for ages but this anecdote will conclude my post for this time.