New trainees onboard and space travels

This week has literally gone by supersonic speed since we in the trainee team have had a week with plenty of fun. On Monday did we have the honor to welcome 30 visitors from GKN Aerospace’s sites all over the world. Because we participated in the onboarding of almost every new trainee within the company and it’s always fun to meet with engaged persons eager to learn. We had planned to full days to teach them close to everything there is to know about our site in Trollhättan, our products and our part of the business – Engine Systems. But the fun actually started last week where we attended as guests in their training week in Gothenburg. That was the first time we presented ourselves as the “old trainees” which was unbelievable weird in both a good and a bad way. It feels like yesterday that we entered the gates but it is almost one year ago but at the same time it feels like a decennium since we’ve done so much and met so many people along the way.

However, speaking of young and old. From this previous Wednesday can you travel from space down to Trollhättan in VR (virtual reality) if you visit the science museum Universeum in Gothenburg. We can now add working at Universeum to our CVs where we have the important mission to educate both youngsters and their parents about why we must be present in space. And with we I’m referring to humanity in general but to Europe and Sweden in particular. There is so much technology used in space that we rely on in our everyday lives without realizing. Imaging your everyday life without Google maps or weather forecasts! And can we take a second to just acknowledge how cool it is to be a trainee and have the opportunity to work among solar systems and cute sloths?

Make sure to pay a visit to Universeum to learn more about space and to try our VR experience. We are there until Sunday between 12-17!

We’re back!

We’re back from our holidays, it has been fantastic but now we’re ready to face the adventures that the fall is offering. First of all is the new trainees arraving to GKN Aerospace in Trollhättan in a couple of weeks which all of a sudden makes me and my members of the “old trainee pack”. How did that happen? It feels like we just joined! But our adventure as trainee is far from completed since we will leave for our 6 months rotation abroad in October. You can expect more posts on where we all are going and the exciting projects and assignments we’re going to be a part of!

What is more to come? We will travel a whole lot with our trainee project VEGA which is a VR (Virtual Reality) experience of GKN Aerospace’s universe. Before the holidays we had a release party where we presented our project for the management team togheter with our partner Unity Studios. During two days could our colleages at Stallbacka try the VR experience. It was a real blast and we in the trainee team are more than happy how it turned out.

Talk to you soon!
/Amanda Dalstam

The Paris Airshow: Past, Present, & Future of Aerospace

“I’ve never known an industry that can get into people’s blood the way aviation does.” – Robert Six, founder of Continental Airlines.

This past week, myself and the other Trainees here in Sweden traveled to Paris to learn more about this infectious industry as well as meet some of our customers who rely on GKN to help them create today’s most powerful jet (and rocket) engines.

We visited the Safran aerospace museum where we were given an in-depth private tour to understand some of the forces that shaped the aerospace industry from its inception into what it is today. From some of the simplest propeller engines to todays most advanced jet engines we learned about the historical context that surrounded certain advances in flight, and the influence of that historical context on aerospace development and vice versa, such as the jet engines role in the outcome of World War 2.

At the Paris Airshow we saw some incredible flying displays from some of the most elite aircrafts in today’s market. Among some of the demonstrations include:

  • Pipistrel MOD 167 Alpha Electro
  • Dassault Falcon 8X
  • Turkish Aerospace Industries ATAK 129 Helicopter
  • Airbus A330neo
  • Airbus A350-1000
  • Boeing 787 Dreamliner
  • Pakistan Aeronautical Complex Kamra-JF-17 Thunder
  • And last but not least… The Dassault RAFALE

These demonstrations cemented our love for what we do. What this industry is capable of is nothing short of incredible and I’m proud to be a part of these incredible feats of engineering and science. Further, this new knowledge of what we’ve achieved in the past 100 years, and where we are today has inspired me to look forward to what we can be 100 years from now.  

At the forefront of Aerospace technology is Ariane Group, who graced us with a tour of their site in Vernon where they showed us the assembly lines for the Ariane 5 & 6 engines as well as a showcase of some of their other engines such as HM7B, Vinci, Vulcan 1, and Viking. They also showed us the test sites for these engines, but unfortunately no tests were scheduled for the day of our tour. Finally, we talked to them about the Ariane 6 development process, examples, and the increase in additive manufacturing for many of the sub-assemblies on this engine (a subject very relevant to what I am working on now).

Lastly, we visited two startups related to Industry 4.0: Scortex and Ubudu. The team at Scortex is working on harnessing the power of AI and machine learning to help with visual inspection. They gave us a thorough explanation of how they are able to use machine learning to spot defects in a variety of parts in several different industries. Ubudu is a slightly older startup that has been developing solutions for indoor location tracking (again for a variety of different industries). For us, this technology could be used to track parts and batches through our factories, create spaghetti diagrams, and even automate forklifts and inventory control systems. These presentations gave us valuable insight as to what the fourth industrial revolution can mean to GKN factories in the future. Using AI to correlate measurable machine parameters to dimensional inspection results, suggest corrective action, schedule and optimize production throughout the factory and machine maintenance, and level load operations are just some of the potential applications for this technology and I cannot wait to see that transformation take place.

For me, working for GKN means much more than making parts for aircraft engines. It’s about the role that those parts play in connecting people around the world in a safe, sustainable, and efficient manner, as well as the impact that we can have on humanity by making travel more accessible to people from all walks of life. The more people travel, the more we learn and grow as a species, and in that regard, aviation is in my blood.

Hi from the Golden State

One of the many perks of working for a global company is the opportunities you get to travel to other sites where you can meet with colleagues which otherwise only exist on Skype. I spent last week in El Cajon, a short drive outside San Diego in California, USA. So what did I do over there? Well, I’m doing my third rotation at the IT department where I’m a part of a green field project where we’re building a new facility for engine repairs in Malaysia.

The project team consists of people from three different continents, which makes it very difficult to find a timeslot for meetings within reasonable business hours. This is a tricky challenge from a project management perspective. It therefore requires that we meet face to face every now and then to make sure that we are aligned within the different functions. Just this kind of face-to-face meeting was the reason for my trip to Cali last week, very intense but worthwhile days!

I love to travel which was one of the big reasons why I choose a Trainee Program instead of a “normal” position. So I made sure to squeeze in some sightseeing in San Diego during my short stay. Sometimes are my aspirations a bit too ambitious… On one of the days, we had 75 minutes before dinner with the team which I considered to be plenty of time so I decided to drive to the beach village La Jolla. I looked up the current time to get there which seemed just fine but on the road I realized that the cars coming in the opposite direction didn’t move at all and that was a high way with six lanes (panic started to grew on me). Once I reached La Jolla I miraculously found a parking just at the cove so I got out of the car to snap some picture and to enjoy the view. Just a couple of minutes later I jumped back into the car to enter the traffic jam back into San Diego. Believe it or not but I arrived at to hotel with two minutes to go to dinner. Perfect timing or just good luck – that’s the question!

A quick visit to the beach community La Jolla and the sea lions

Talk to you soon!

An eventful visit to SAAB Technologies & GKN Automotive

Welcome back!

Been away for a while but now I am back in the blog-game again. To start off, who doesn’t enjoy spring & May? I just love to surround myself with birdsongs and warmer degrees outside… Somehow it just puts a smile on everyone’s face.

Nonetheless, back to what we trainees have been up to the past week. To start off spring in the best kind of way, we set course toward Linköping to visit SAAB Technologies and their trainees. During this visit, we had discussed the possibility of having the Volvo trainees, whom visited us in January to join us on this trip and they gladly did! There we had the opportunity to get a thorough presentation of how SAABs market looks like, the strategy they use to seize the opportunities they encounter, how they work with material properties in regards to stress but most importantly we got to see the production line. The production line encompassed no less than the Gripen C/D & E/F fighter jet. It feels like I always retreat back to “I am a finance guy so I don’t know what this means…” but this time I actually knew what C/D & E/F stood for and perhaps a lot of you already do though. C/E is basically a single-pilot configuration on the fighter jet and D/F stands for dual-pilot, so now you know! Other than that, being an OEM as they are brings along a lot of perks and I have to say that their facility in Linköping was astonishing! If you have the possibility to go there and visit, you definitely should!

Trainees from SAAB Technologies, Volvo Cars & GKN Aerospace gatherd in front of the Gripen E

To make the most of our trip, we decided to use the next day to visit our dear GKN-colleagues from GKN Automotive in Köping to get a closer look on how we are differentiated from each other but also what aligns us. This visit was a bit shorter than the one at SAAB but it felt the schedule included more things to see in the different value streams. Once again, we all were amazed over how “good-looking” the manufacturing areas were. Well done GKN!

The trainees behind AWD-product in the showroom at GKN Automotive Köping

GKN Automotive can be divided into two product divisions. In one of the product divisions CVJs (constant velocity joints), prop shafts and drive shafts are being manufactured. But this is mostly done in other sites, one being in England. A CVJ enables the drive shaft to transmit power through a variable angle at a constant rotational speed without significant increases in friction.

In the second product division, AWD (all-wheel drive) is manufactured. This product is produced in Köping. The PTU (the rear power transfer unit) and FDU (final drive unit) is what makes up the all-wheel drive. The parts needed for the all-wheel drive system that are not machined or manufactured at GKN Automotive Köping will be purchased before assembly. In Köping, aluminum housings, pinions, crown wheels and shafts are machined. What makes the site in Köping unique is their expertise within the area of the hypoid gears, where they are helically shaped and can transfer power at almost any angle (very useful in torque-demanding applications).

The AWD (all-wheel drive) unit

Hypoid gear produced at GKN Automotive in Köping

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moreover, we would like to thank both SAAB Technologies and GKN Automotive for two really exciting days, it gave us a lot of interesting inputs.

Until next time!

 

Viritual Reality

Hi!

We have since a few weeks back been working on our new rotations, this time I am working in a workshop called Rotatives where rotating components for jet engines are manufactured. Working within Aerospace you normally face really tough tolerances as it is very important to manufacture correct and safe products. When manufacturing rotating parts, it is even tougher. During my time at the department I’ve realized how incredibly cool it is to be able to manufacture something with such extreme precision.

This Tuesday (30th of April) we had a “Two thirds review” of a project we are having, it’s a Viritual Reality (VR) project where you can explore GKN Aerospace in a very modern way, we will tell you more about this when the project is finished. However, our supplier has been working with this project for a time now, reaching an approximate 66 % completion. We had previously decided that a review of the project would be needed as we reached this level so our supplier come to our site in order for us to give some feedback.

Further, they also brought some additional equipment to show how VR can be used in training and manufacturing. They also brought a Microsoft Hololens which is a Mixed Reality (MR) headset, also known as Augmented Reality (AR). We took the opportunity to invite some managers and people over within manufacturing and IT to try it out and to let them be inspired. We are convinced that this type of technology can be exploited to make our company even better in the future.

 

Stefan Smith trying the latest version

Vi tar en pinne för Hemsedal

Everyone told me that means ”let’s eat milk and cookies at Hemsedal” every time they played that song this weekend…

Sitting in Newington a few months ago I was told about the legendary, annual, GKN trip to Hemsedal by a fellow Swedish coworker. I immediately contacted the trainees here to sign me up and began waiting patiently for this weekend to arrive. Norwegian skiing is something many Americans only get to dream about, but today I am fortunate enough to be one of the lucky few to have actually gone!

The trip started off with a 6 hour bus ride. Between the swedish sing alongs, and the emerging mountains as we pushed northwest into Norway, this (seemingly quick) bus ride was the perfect way to introduce a weekend ski trip in the Norwegian alps.

Skiing in Norway is very different than skiing in Connecticut. For starters, you’re on a mountain. Now, we call the places we go skiing in CT “mountains” but after this weekend, I think the term “hill” fits a little better.

Second, the lifts. I’ve never even seen an “anchor” or a “button” lift before and it definitely showed the first time I tried to use them. Good thing not too many people saw. I did eventually get the hang of it though.

Third, the saft and cookies. At around 11 AM every day a small hut on the mountain gives out warm saft and cookies to tired skiers. This FIKA-like tradition gave us the opportunity to warm up with a hot beverage as well as stop and appreciate the view from the top of the mountain. This was a small but unique touch that separates this ski experience from any other that I’ve had.

Last but certainly not least, there’s the after ski. A wonderful Scandinavian tradition where after a long day on the slopes everyone kicks back, relaxes, shares a quiet glass of wine (maybe two if you’re feeling rowdy), and definitely don’t dance on tables with a bunch of strangers, a pitcher in each hand, singing “Rock and Roll all Night” at the top of your lungs. You definitely don’t do that.

We finished the weekend with a 6hr nap on the bus ride back home followed by a week of sore legs. Totally worth it though.

Click here to read more about me!

/Dominic Miceli

Space Forum, Graduate Assesment Days and IGEday!

We had barely landed in Sweden before the next interesting event started. People from the business sector, researchers, politicians och students gathered in Trollhättan to talk about a common interest – SPACE!

The days were packed with interesting lectures and panel discussions about today’s and future space activities. And inbetween the sessions, there was plenty of time to mingle and network among all space-intereseted people during common lunches, dinners and exhibitions.

SpaceX held an inspiring lecture about their spacecrafts and upcoming space travels. Trends in the space segment were discussed between GKN Aerospace, OHB, SpaceX, SSC, RUAG, and Christer Fuglesang from KTH. And networking is important, to the right we have our Filip standing next to Sweden’s one and only astronaut Christer Fuglesang!

My interest in space has increased since I started my employment here at GKN Aerospace, and after these days at Space Forum (Rymdforum 2019), I have gained a greater understanding of what the space industry contributes with to our everyday life. Not only is it impressive that we build spacecrafts together that can enable us to exit the atmosphere, we can also use these developed space technologies to make the world better. Satellites allows us to communicate with each other and navigate more easily, but they also create an opportunity for us to send more effective response forces to environmental disasters and the ability to monitor and analyze the climate change. Much of the research done in space has been applied here on earth, and that makes me optimistic about the future. The space industry is extremly impressive, I am hooked and looking forward to upcoming launches!

The week then went on with something that we have been really excited about: The assesment days for next year’s Graduates! It was fun to meet this year’s candidates and to be spectators instead of participants. The time flies by so fast, it was only a year ago since we were in their seat. 5 of you will be our new colleagues in September, we wish everyone who particpated good luck!

The week ended wit IGEday (Introduce a Girl to Engineering), where 28 happy, young girls spent the whole day together with us at GKN Aerospace. A great ending to this inspiring and eventful week.

During IGEday, the girls were challenged by Innovatum with a SpaceEscape, they got to meet F7 who came from Såtenäs to see them, and got a tour in our factory.

Company Visits in England

Yet another adventure is over and this time we ended up in England, UK. As you most problably know by now are you as a Global Graduate working in 10 weeks periods at one position which then is rounded off with an activity week. So this week in England was the third activity week since our rotation at Engines Digital where we had a project in the US ended last Friday. Nevertheless, we managed to visit a range of cool companies during our tour in the UK.

  • GKN Filton
  • GKN Western Approach
  • GKN Aerospace Top Management
  • Airbus
  • Reaction Engines
  • Harewell Space Cluster med besök hos RAL Space och ESA

Our trip started off with a weekend in London where we squeezed in some sightseeing and a thrilling game of fotboll. Once the rental car was picked up, we typed in Bristol in the GPS and our eminent driver Emelie drove us safely there. The first company visit was hosted by GKN Aerostructures in Filton and David, a Swedish Global plc Graduate. He showed us around in the diffrerent factories and gave us an insight of how it is to work in the UK. We got the great oppurtunity to see the assembly of the last wing to A380 and impressing wingstructres to A350.

Tuesday made us be early birds since we had an appointment in Abingdon and Reaction Engines. We meet with their Graduates who teached us all about the company, the engine SABRE and the future of supersonic flights. They gave us a tour in the faciltites and we got to se the development lab as well as the first test site for the heatexchanger, the core technology of SABRE, super cool! Keep an eye open for Reaction Engnies and read more about there disruptive technologies: https://www.reactionengines.co.uk/.
The Tueday continued back in Bristol where we visited GKN Western Approach, a site where wing spars i composite are manufactured. It was very easy to follow the value stream since the factory was built-to-purpose which is not often the case in many other sites where a larger range of products are manufacutured under the same roof.

We spent Wednesday at Airbus where we learned more about the final assembly of wings for the mility freight aircraft A400M, simulation of fuel test and mechanical testing of wings. We also got to meet with some Graduates at Airbus, and as you might figured out by now we’re growing a network of Gradutes within all over the world which is absolutely fantastic!

Thursday offered a unique chance to meet with the Top Management of GKN Aerospace. During the day at the office in London we had intreseting and personal chats about e.g. future business models and strategies with our CEO Hans Büthker, CFO Will Hoy and Director of Global Marketing & Communications Dan Kendrick. Thank you for sharing your personal stories and tips!

We ended our week of visits with another early morning and a drive to Harewell Space Cluster, a campus which houses for 89 companies all active within space. During our visit we met with RAL Space and ESA which gave us an insight to the UK space industrie. A very intresting day which was rounded off with a history lecture at Stonehenge. The question why it was built still remains without an answer…

Thank you England and my amazing Graduate colleagues for another great week abroad! I must pinch myself sometimes to realize that I actually have the best job in the world. Now we’re all looking forward to spend the spring months on Swedish soil and our new rotations which starts the 1st of April (not an April Fool!). But first, shall we network with the space industy since Space Forum is taking place in Trollhättan and we’ll also welcome a large group of young girls which shall be introdcuded to what an engineer can do at GKN Aerospace.

Talk to you soon!

 

 

Back on swedish ground!

Now we have all soon landed safely on Swedish ground again since Wictor and Nina are landing later this evening! These two weeks on the other side of the big sea have gone faster than the wind, but we all feel satisfied about the job that we have done over there. Really fun that we got this opportunity to work with a project together with our site in Manchester, Connecticut. We have been meeting a lot of lovely colleagues who have been very helpful and advised on places we shouldn’t miss on our trip.

Exciting team outside the factory in Manchester.

We have of course also done a lot of touristy stuff and tried some of the American delicacies such as penaut butter cups (recommend!!!), weak coffee (do not recommend!!!), lobster rolls, deep-fried oysters and of course some burgers/pizzas.

Lobster rolls and deep-fried oysters.

We also visited a few bigger cities nearby such as Boston, New Haven and Providence where we pretended to be students at Harvard, MIT, Yale and Brown University. When the guys chose to spend a day in New York, we decided to go on a college game in basketball instead. Really exciting game where we ended up being some really dedicated fans to the home team UConn Huskies who finally won the match with only two points. The atmosphere felt exactly like the one seen on film!

Exciting basketball game.

Really happy fans that got a photo with the mascot.

Now it is just to start washing clothes and repacking, because on Friday we are leaving Sweden once again. This time to England on a lot of company visits. To be continued…