My time in the Netherlands

My time in the Netherlands

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.

Take care everyone!

(F-35 Lightning II)
Northern Sweden vibe check

Northern Sweden vibe check

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!

Thesis work

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!

La vie en France

La vie en France

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!

Tidsplan för Themis testkampanj.

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.

Until next time, I wish you all a great spring!

CHARM at Chalmers

CHARM at Chalmers

Hi y’all,

During Tuesday and Wednesday (w. 14) CHARM took off, which is the student fair at Chalmers, and this year trainee gang was represented by Elias and Merim. As a trainee you’ll get the opportunity to go to these fairs, if it is something that you like to do. We got the chance to talk to many students, some of you may even be reading this blog right now, and talk about some nerdy stuff and cool facts about the SWAN-nozzle and so on.

On Tuesday it was me (Merim) who attended the fair together with Elamin, who started the trainee program in 2019 and is now a team-lead in our production. During the fair, we had leaders and experts from our engineering office and some HR representatives. We thought that the first fair day went smoothly and a lot of students came to our booth! We hope that you took the opportunity to come and speak to us and allow us to tell you more about what we do! It’s a unique chance to speak with leaders within our business and learn more about what we do, how we do it and what the future holds.

As Merim mentioned above, I (Elias) represented the trainee gang on Wednesday. Not only did we meet a lot of engaging students with an interest in Aerospace, I also got the chance to see Chalmers for the first time! As I studied in Linköping, I hadn’t really got the chance to see Chalmers. Student fairs is a great platform for recruitment, where we get to meet the students and advertise for both thesis jobs and the open positions we have at GKN Aerospace.

Thesis work

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.

Looking for job?

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, and take a look and apply for any position that looks interesting!

A picture of three youngsters from day 1 at CHARM. Fr. left: Merim, Simon, Elamin.
A picture from day 2 with our experts, leaders and HR together with Elias.
Back from the States

Back from the States

It’s with mixed feelings I look out the window and see that it snows horizontally in Trollhättan right now, at least it’s not pitch black when you leave the office anymore… The past month rushed by with development week, recruitment of 2022 graduates and last week I had the opportunity to tag along my new department for a week of meetings at two of our US sites.

At the moment, I’m doing my third rotating at Supply Chain Engines, a global department who supports all Engines-sites across the globe, where I will work on further developing internal communications and knowledge sharing. As part of this project, I was invited to join the department for a gathering at our site in Newington to discuss Supply Chain and Procurement for three days.

The journey started in a turboprop plane to Copenhagen before boarding the A350-900 to Newark Liberty International Airport. The latter is propelled by the two Trent XWB engines where we manufacture the Intermediate Compressor Case at our site in Trollhättan.

Due to heavy winds we hade to use an alternative runway but I surely wasn’t complaining with Manhattan and Statue of Liberty as background during landing.

Once in place, the meetings were held in Newington at our Engines site that manufactures large Fan cases to GE90 and IMC to the smaller of the GTF engines, 24k. The frist day we talked about the expectations of the team, targets and inventory management. One of the lesser expected learnings were that Americans serve their coffee in boxes and if you expect seven Swedes to be present, one of those boxes will not be enough to get through the day.

During day two, we talked about engagement, communications and knowledge sharing. Together with my current manager I conducted a workshop regarding how the department wants to communicate, what meetings that should be held continuously and how they can be more effective.

Last day was spent talking about new Aerospace standards and how they affect and ease our daily work before the afternoon was free to meet each other and discuss common issues before going home.

Last evening I met up with Ludwig & Amy, two of our American graduates that are currently working at our site in Manchester. Approximately 20 minutes from Newington.

Before going home on Friday we visited our site in Manchester. It was great to see their workshop since it differs quite a lot from what we do in Trollhättan. In Manchester, they focus on manufacturing blades for the engines fan and compressor. For some programs, the process is quite similar to how we work in Trollhättan, a large forging that looks similar to the end product which is then processed to finished goods. However, they also produce really small compressor blades that is no more than 15cm long and is milled out of a block of aluminum. If you weren’t aware of the end product, you would have no clue what the raw material was supposed to become.

After the tour we headed back to Newark for the plane back home and the weekend. A short but intense trip to the US.

Interested in Aerospace? Right now we have a lot of interesting jobs on the GKN Aerospace career page, go have a look!


Introduce a Girl to Engineering

Introduce a Girl to Engineering


Last Friday, Emelie and I arranged a digital event for young girls and non-binaries between the ages of 13-19, with the goal of inspiring them to pursue a career in technology. The event is called IGE-day, Introduce a Girl to Engineering day, and is a concept created by the Womengineer Foundation. Womengineer has a vision that by 2030, the number of graduating engineers will be the same for both men and women. At GKN Aerospace, we work actively to increase the diversity of the company, and participating in events like these is very important to us. Because of this, we have participated in IGEday several years in a row.

As mentioned earlier, this year it was time for Emelie and I to arrange the event at GAS. Given the high spread of the Coronavirus at the beginning of the year, the event was decided to be held digitally, which went very well. We invited Johanna Nylander who presented the actions of the aviation industry to achieve a sustainable flight. Additionally, Elin Eriksson and Emily Chen told us about their journey and described what they do in a normal workday as engineers. Thank you for being a part of the event!

Because the event was digital, we chose to send out goodie bags to the participants, something that was very much appreciated. We hope that the participants had a good day and that they learned more about engineering, and possibly got an answer to the eternal question “What does an engineer do?”.


Development week 1

Development week 1

Hello again all readers!

We are now back in Västra Götaland after an intense week in Bristol, UK. Finally, we had the opportunity to meet the other global graduates in real life and not behind a screen. What a fun week we had. A group of 16 people, 5 from the USA, 3 from the Netherlands, 3 from the UK and of course 5 from Sweden, stormed the streets of Bristol.

The days consisted of several training sessions that touched on various topics, including self-awareness, communication skills, change management, self-confidence and setting goals. This gave life to many exciting discussions. We also had the opportunity to visit the new GTC, which opened in October, as well as our site in Filton and Western Approach.

The afternoons and evenings were also packed with many fun activities. We visited Bristol’s famous Clifton Suspension Bridge. A beautiful view that was difficult to enjoy when your heart rate was at 120 bpm after a car ride in the hectic English left-hand traffic.

We were also Locked in a Room and had dinner on a boat.

The winners of the Escape Room with a 12 min margin.

To finish the week off, we were invited to the Recognition of Learning Event. At the event, the 2019 cohort graduated and other awards were handed out. This event took place at the Aerospace Museum in Bristol where we had dinner under the wings of the Concorde aircraft. An amazing experience.

Thank you to everyone who participated during the week and a big thank you to Charlie Lean who arranged it all. We now face the challenge of applying what we have learned and we look forward to the next Development Week.

NextGen Manufacturing

NextGen Manufacturing

Hi all,

I have during my latest rotation been at the same department as Emelie, but my task has been out of a different sort where I have focused on Additive Manufacturing (AM).

I have gotten the chance to meet many experts within the field of AM at the company and it has been really rewarding with interesting discussions. Well, discussion is maybe farfetched as I had to spend my full focus on taking notes as I am a rookie within the field of AM. But nevertheless I am really grateful for all the inputs and insights that I have received around the topic of additive manufacturing. I got a whole new view of it in a way that is not possible by reading a book.

Anyhow, some of you might wonder what additive manufacturing is, (pause for suspense) I will tell you. Ordinary manufacturing methods usually involves a subtractive method, which means that you have a big piece of metal that you turn and mill until it gets the form that you desire. Usually a lot of material is used up in the process (removed) which puts a high load on the environment, a load one preferably would eliminate! But nevertheless this method has been the traditional method to use as other options are scarce. This changed when additive manufacturing was introduced to the market, which is the opposite of subtractive manufacturing.

Additive manufacturing works by deposition of layer-by-layer until the desired part has been constructed, which you specify with the help of 3D-CAD. Today, you can perform the manufacturing of parts in some different ways and there exists seven different technologies to perform additive manufacturing. You can construct parts in plastic as well as in metal, however metal manufacturing is still energy intense which is unavoidable. In metal AM there are several different ways in which the material can be added to the manufacturing process, you can do it either with wire or powder. When using wire, you need to add the material locally to the build, where a laser is melting the tip of the wire. Using powder you get two options. You can add it locally just as in wire manufacturing, a nozzle deposits the material locally and a laser then melts the powder in place. You can also use a bed of powder where a laser, or another energy source, then sweeps the bed where the part is to be built and a component emerges towards the end. The part is then build “within” the bed itself. Whichever way you do it, some post-processing is required to achieve the desired finish.

Innovation and technology has always been the forefront at GKN Aerospace where we as a company always strive to attain knowledge and experience within different fields. This enables us to tailor-design a manufacturing process for our product portfolio. For example, we have a goal to construct our space components with the help of AM, which will usher our portfolio into the next generation. If you want to read more about our AM capabilities and goals, you can follow this LINK.

Why should you work in the aviation industry if you are passionate about sustainability?

Why should you work in the aviation industry if you are passionate about sustainability?

I started at the company as a graduate engineer in 2009, and later became an industrial Ph.D student who researched the company’s innovation capability. At that point, about ten years ago, it was mostly incremental innovation, small development steps that were made. One of the few radical innovations that I could find examples of in the industry was winglets. The winglets were something that even the passengers could see was slightly different, when the aircraft wings at the ends was bent upwards. Today, ten years later, we work with hydrogen engines, Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), various types of additive manufacturing and more. Technologies that are radically changing the entire industry and its manufacturing. And the driving force in these innovational steps is not just money, but the ongoing climate crisis.

Suddenly, the whole industry has a sense of urgency! We have realized that if we want be in the business in the future, we must change to more sustainable flights. If we are to continue to attract young people to come and work with us, we must work in a different way. One might think that our industry has undeservedly been given the role as the “bad guy” in the climate crisis. Aviation today accounts for about 3% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, but with an increasing middle class in Asia who, like the western world, wants to travel, it is predicted that the small number will increase significantly in the future. So regardless of whether we are the “bad guys” today, we will be the “bad guys” in the future if we do not change.

It is now it’s happening. The creation of the radical innovations. That dramatic change in the industry that we will be able to remember and hopefully be proud of. It is now that the company needs everyone who cares about a sustainable world. It is not a matter of the sustainability work being done by a few people who have it written into their job description, but it needs to be done by everyone. Because even though the industry today places a great deal of focus on the climate, it must not be at the expense of other sustainability factors. How sustainable are we really if we achieve climate neutrality for our products during use, but at the same time risk the safety of our employees in manufacturing, buy materials from child labor in Congo, have a significantly larger proportion of material waste compared to the amount of materials delivered to customers, or ignore in that environmentally hazardous substances are released into the nature around our sites. A lot is being done, everything from technology projects on hydrogen propulsion, testing of how RM12 is affected by SAF, repair methods with Laser Metal Deposition Powder (LMD / DED), reduced buy-to-fly with LMD wire, weight reduction with Powder Bed Fusion, Life cycle analyzes, qualitative sustainability assessment tools, tools that evaluate material criticality, global Sustainability work streams, Sustainability Champions, the creation of educational materials, Connected Women, Environmental plans, and more and more. But we are also constantly finding new unexplored areas, more things that we need to do. Sustainability is complex, which is why the responsibility and work cannot be placed on a few people. It is now we are needed at the company, we who are passionate about a sustainable future! Do you want to be part of changing the direction of the industry?

// Johanna Nylander, Senior Research Engineer and Graduate Engineer 2009

Working from home

Working from home

Hello everyone!

With the spread of Covid-19 in Västra Götaland steadily increasing for the past few weeks, most of us at GAS have gone back to working from home after the Christmas break. Some people enjoy it, while others do not. It is easy to end up in a negative spiral when you have your office, gym and home behind the same door, and you easily forget the meaning of the word routine. With that said, we hope that we can be back in the office again soon and we have a very exciting spring (March) ahead of us, which makes it easier to keep our spirits up.

My second rotation, which started around Christmas, is in the Lean department. Elias told you briefly about the department in his previous blogpost, which was the department for his first rotation. However, the focus of our rotations have been very different. In my master’s, Quality and Operations Management, we had a course in Six Sigma that certified me as a Six Sigma Black Belt. Without going into too much detail, Six Sigma is about implementing improvement projects using different tools and there are different certification levels (White Belt, Yellow Belt, Green Belt, Black Belt and Master Black Belt). According to the global Lean Academy at GKNA, they now want to increase the proportion of certified Green Belts and Black Belts to improve GKNA’s way of working with systematic problem solving. My role in the department is to assist my supervisor in her project to become a certified Black Belt and thus Trollhättan’s Site Black Belt Representative, and to coach ongoing Green Belt projects. I will also have the opportunity to participate as a co-facilitator during the Lean Foundation trainings when the restrictions ease again, a training that will be held for all employees to increase their knowledge about Lean.

Take care.