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Author: Malin Rådberg

Landvetter Airport – so much more than you think

Landvetter Airport – so much more than you think

The trainee group does as, as many of you are familiar with, study visits the companies and GKN sites relevant to the aerospace industry and on Monday we had the privilege of visiting Landvetter airport. An airport is in many ways the heart of the aviation industry, aircraft of all kinds land and take off and every day thousands of people are flowing through the airports of the world on their way to the next goal. If we learned anything from this visit, it was that an airport is much more than meets the eye when you’re traveling!

The airport was built in 1077 and celebrates its 40th birthday later this year. At the airport there are three different parties responsible for different things:
Swedavia manages the airport, they are responsible for the premises as well as all logistics that are included in allowing the passengers to flow through the airport smoothly, from the point of arrival to the airport to the point of being on the plane ready for takeoff. Airlines (such as SAS, Ryan air, etc.) negotiate with Swedavia to use the airport. They own and are responsible for the aircrafts. The airlines, in its turn, hire a handling companies of their choice that are responsible for many of the services the airlines sell, for example all boarding related tasks. It means that the persons standing behind the boarding desk when you board an airplane are not airport personnel but employees hired by the airline you travel with.

During our visit we got to see a lot of the things you never see when you pass the airport as a tourist. Amongst other things we got a sneak peek into the black box that constitutes the handling of the baggage.

What really happens between the times when you leave your luggage on the carousel until it arrives at your destination? The baggage is transported into a room full of carousels at different levels from floor to ceiling and is handled via an advanced system of x-ray machines in different steps along the way to be loaded onto the right aircraft. The bags that go through the x-ray without trouble go one way, whilst the bags that do cause the x-ray machine to react (about 37%) go another way. A hatchway is then opened that forces the bags onto a belt leading into more advanced x-ray machines. Common things that can cause a reaction are detergents, hammers and gingerbread dough. After this the bags are transported onto one of many belts depending on the baggage tag and are then loaded onto different carts and then loaded onto an aircraft. Checked-in animals are picked up manually on the way to the plane.

One thing that they work extensively with at Landvetter airport is the airport’s impact on the environment. Their goal is to have no emissions of fossil fuels by the year of 2020. The airport has its own fire department and fire training site. To protect the environment from dangerous substances, such as PFOS, found to be in fire extinguisher they have created a closed system around the fire training area. All waste is collected and transported to closed wells where it is picked up and taken care of. Landvetter is among the best in the world with regards to take care of PFOS.

The reality is that, on an airport, sometimes bird strikes occur when the aircraft lands or takes off. Of course, they want to avoid bird strikes as it is a very unfortunate experience for both birds and pilots. Unfortunately, the bird strikes at Landvetter airport have increased markedly in recent years, as dams have been built nearby that attract birds. In only a couple of years, the number increased from 15 to 120 bird strikes per year. In order to overcome this problem, they have come up with a lot of creative ideas at the airport. Everything from planting sharper, more unpleasant grass around the airport so that the birds will not like it as much to trying to get rid of the insects so that the birds will have less to eat around the airport has been pondered upon. Lacking a permanent solution, they currently have two teams that alternate in walking around the runway trying to scare the birds off.

We also had the honor of meeting the airport manager Jörgen Bergstrand, who has also worked at GKN in Trollhättan for 17 years! Riding an airport shuttle bus on the 3.3 km long runway was a new, exciting and unexpected experience, thanks to the very engaged bus driver (seen in the rear view mirror in the picture)!

Landvetter is a growing airport and it is fun to see. They have many years’ worth of projects already started. The projects will bring new terminals, more carousels, an increased capacity, a new hotel and an area with a shopping center and offices for companies to rent.

Landvetter city is emerging!

Visit to GKN Driveline Köping (KOP)

Visit to GKN Driveline Köping (KOP)

The departure to Shanghai is approaching! Visa problems and changes in the Chinese foreign employee policy have made the departure delayed compared to what was originally intended. I should actually have left last Saturday. Now, I estimate that it is approximately a month to go before I can start my next placement. In the moment of writing this blog post, I’m sitting in the waiting room at the hospital in Trollhättan, NÄL, after just having undergone a chest X-ray for the sake of the work visa application process. The documents and the check-ups needed to work in China are many, but the thought of how cool and interesting it will be to work in the automotive industry in Shanghai makes me endure all of it with joy! Given that it is my first work experience in the automotive industry, I have a lot to learn. I have recently found out that I will be working together with the procurement team from GKN Driveline Köping (KOP) when I’m at the IPO office (International Purchasing Office) in Shanghai. My future boss in China thought it a good idea to send me on a study visit to KOP to learn about GKN Driveline in general and KOP and their products in particular.

GKN Driveline 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. Within GKN this is done eg in Birmingham, UK. 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. Within GKN this is done Köping, SE and in Newington, US. The PTU (the lump in the back) and FDU (the lump up front) is what constitutes the four-wheel drive. If the car from the beginning is a rear wheel drive the power needs to be transferred to the front wheels via a gearbox. In that case a third lump is needed on the prop shaft.

KOP manufactures and assembles all-wheel drive systems. The parts needed for the four-wheel drive that are not manufactured on site are purchased before assembly. At KOP aluminum housings, pinions, crown wheels and shafts are being machined. The expertise lies in the production of hypoid gears. The cogs of the hypoid gears are helically shaped (see picture) and the hypoid gears can transfer force at almost any angle and are useful in torque-demanding applications.

One thing that is really hot on the market right now is growing fast is the AWD Disconnect system. AWD Disconnect is an intelligent system which means that the all-wheel drive can be switched off when it is not needed, which, during normal driving, is the case most of the time. The intelligent AWD system reacts to the driving conditions by disconnecting the major, rotating drive line components, which reduces fuel consumption. When the AWD system is needed the disconnected parts are activated in under 300 milliseconds.

The site in Köping, with around 1,000 employees, impressed me. First of all it looked really nice! They’re making a major facelift at the factory. The head office was renovated inside and out, built new offices are being built in the workshop and many machines are being upgraded and/or replaced. It really is a site that inspires and the huge investments being made bring a feeling of a bright future.

As always, when I visit a driveline site, I am struck by the huge differences compared to the aviation industry. Everything is moving so much faster! Products flow past in huge volumes and high speeds and the automated robotic arms move constantly. Small, unmanned robots that you give way to transfer goods around in the factory. KOP has an annual capacity of hypoid gears of just over one million. At GKN Aerospace in Trollhättan, we have one product with a lead time of about 10 months. It is natural that there is a big difference in the speed between the production of the aerospace and automotive industries! In order to deliver the large volumes of products that the automotive industry does a LEAN mindset that is fully incorporated into the business is required. This is also noticed in Köping where the entire plant is built according to how products flow.

KOP is clearly an impressive place and I look forward to working with them in the future!




My placement here in Trollhättan is quickly coming to an end my next placement got confirmed last week! I´m going to Shanghai in the beginning of April! 😀

My international graduate colleague David has already fled the country and kick started his placement in the UK were he seems to be settling in well. And soon it is my turn to start the same exciting journey!

In Shanghai I will be working at an IPO (International Purchasing Office) office in the city center. As an international graduate at GKN I get the opportunity to work at the four different divisions of GKN. The site located in Trollhättan belongs to the Aerospace division whilst in Shanghai I will be working in the Driveline division. It will be incredibly exciting and educational to get to work within the driveline industry which has a much higher tempo than the aerospace industry. The job will be focused on the forging industry in Asia and on how we can get Europe and America to choose Asian suppliers. I will be working within purchasing and business development where I will be digging into understanding the Chinese and Korean markets. A bit of focus on Japan and Thailand will also be within my job description. There will be a big focus on investigating and visiting suppliers as well as building and maintaining already existing contact networks, which I think is a very rewarding part of the job and I am looking forward to it a lot! Now the bureaucratic part of the process begins, namely applying for a working visa, finding a place to stay etc. I really excited! To be continued in future posts 🙂

Blog Post 2 – Neil Irwin 21st January 2017

Blog Post 2 – Neil Irwin 21st January 2017

Hello again readers, in my second guest blog post I want to share a bit more about what my current work, as well as reflect a little on the past few months, and look to the future for where I might be going next.

The present:

So, to business: what is it that I actually do here? I work in the engineering function, space rotors department, aerodynamics team. If I had to give my placement a title, I would call it something like “Product development of computational design tools”.

The first of my two primary objectives is to create a design tool to rapidly evaluate the robustness of concept turbine designs. To do this, I am automating the turbine design evaluation process in multi-objective optimization software. This involves building an automated workflow, which integrates our turbine performance analysis code with various processing scripts I have written. The idea is that the user can choose a base turbine design, and the tool will run a large number of slight variations on this base design through the performance analysis code to establish how robust the base design is (i.e. how sensitive the performance of the base design is to variation). This should greatly improve our ability to select robust concept designs, and should help GKN respond to our customers’ design questions faster.

My second main objective is to create a platform-independent gas state data processing program. This program can then be integrated into various other design tools and methods we have. For example, we could call the data processing program during an aerodynamics CFD simulation to analyse the gas state properties over time.

I have enjoyed these main objectives a lot over the last few months, as they have involved a great deal of problem solving and learning new things – skills that I love to use and make me excited to get up in the morning! The rest of my time is taken up with admin, graduate development tasks, and preparing for an upcoming new objective of running computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations on one of our components.

The past:

A lot of interesting things have happened over the last few months, the most interesting being the graduate visit to Europe in December. During this trip, we visited Fokker, ESA, and ASL in the Netherlands and France. I greatly enjoyed these visits, as well as the team building aspect of spending a week on the road with my fellow graduates. Perhaps surprisingly, we managed not to kill each other despite spending a full 9 days with 8 people in a minivan driving across Europe. I think I speak for the whole group in saying that we had a very positive experience and are grateful to Magnus Hallberg and others in GKN Sweden for facilitating this week.

The future:

We are very fortunate to be planning a second visit week in late February, this time to the UK. Here we will meet Nigel Stein and Kevin Cummings for Q and A sessions, which I think will be an invaluable insight to the top flight leadership of the company. We will also visit various GKN plants across the country. Furthermore, we are being joined by our American counterparts on the graduate scheme, a good opportunity for networking and hearing about GKN across the pond.

I’ve now crossed the half way point of my time in Sweden, which has led me to turn my attention to placement number two. There are some interesting options being discussed, including joining the legal team, communications and marketing, or moving into the driveline side of the business. Last week I had a really positive discussion with our director of intellectual property in Redditch, so I could be working on protecting our inventions and overcoming patent infringement issues soon – watch this space!


Scott Gearity held Export control education for the members of the organization

Scott Gearity held Export control education for the members of the organization


I have in earlier posts told you that I am currently working at the commercial military department at GKN Aerospace and since I am part of the International Graduate scheme I will be at this department until the end of March. That means that I am right in the middle of the export control project that I am currently managing. The project is going forward and we´re in a stage where the project team is mapping current state and future state of the processes, meaning that we look at how it is today and compare it with how we want it to be with a focus on export control and how the information flows through the company. This way we can identify holes in the processes that we need to fill, risks that we need to eliminate and unnecessary work that we can cut away. It is a great experience and sometimes a challenging task to manage a project.

Export control is a complex area that I am slowly beginning to navigate. On Monday the 9th of January the export control society had invited its members to attend a one day education held by Scott Gearity. Scott has worked within the field of export control for over 20 years and has during that time educated and helped many companies and many people to get a better understanding of the complex, but very important, regulations that surround us who work with export control. The education was held in Odd Fellow´s building in Stockholm, a very old and beautiful building constructed in the 1620´s. The education focused on EAR (the European regulation) and ITAR (the American regulation) within the fields of crypto and the licenses and agreements that exist.

He brought up many interesting questions like how to handle the fact the more and more information is being stored in cloud based storage options. Within the area of export control it is very important to keep full track of which piece of information ends up where and who handles it. A cloud can have servers in many countries and it is practically impossible to keep track on who handles the servers. If a person stores data in a cloud that has servers located in several countries, can this then be considered an export of information? And in that case, who is liable for that export?

The Commerce department in the US decided that the servers’ providers cannot be held responsible for that export just as a phone company cannot be held responsible if one person decides to call another person and reveal classified information over the phone. Commerce also stated that it cannot be considered an export if a person sends, takes or stores data that is:

  • Unclassified
  • Secured using end-to-end encryption
  • Secured using cryptographic modules
  • Not intentionally stored in a country listed in the D5 country group

The D5 list of countries contains the US Arms Embargoed Countries:

Afghanistan, Burma, Central African Republic, China, Cuba, Cyprus, Eritrea, Haiti, Iran, Iraq, Congo, North Korea, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, Belarus and Zimbabwe.


Classified military information

Classified military information

You can remain calm! No classified information will be revealed in this text (at the expense of the interest of some of you). I will on the other hand tell you about the handling of classified information and the processes around the people who in their daily life manage classified military information.

As I wrote in my last contribution to this blog, the text called Export control, products are given a class depending on their level of secrecy. These products would not exist if we don´t have the information telling us how to create them and haw to use them. The information is desirable and therefore at least as secret as the actual hardware. The level of secrecy of the information is classified according to the following scale:

  • Top Secret
  • Secret
  • Confidential
  • Restricted

SÄPO (the Swedish security police) performs a register control on people who manages classified military information according to the scale depending on the level of secrecy on the information. The information with a higher level of secrecy will have a bigger impact on national security if being leaked. As you can imagine this puts great requirements on the handling of the information as well as on the people knowing it.

In order to be allowed to handle classified military information in the job a person needs to be evaluated in a special security process involving several steps. One could argue that it would be simplest just to evaluate every employee according to this process to get rid of the problem of who is allowed to tell what to whom at work? Unfortunately it is not as simple as that. In fact, the company makes a mistake if it evaluates people who are not exposed to classified military information in their work.

In the Security protection regulation (1996:633) it is stated that the evaluation shall be based on

  • The personal knowledge existing about the person subjected to the evaluation.
  • Data appearing from grades, certificates, references etc.
  • Data appearing from register control.

So, what does it imply to be evaluated? The evaluation contains of three steps:

The personal conversation: during the conversation questions are asked about your living situation, background, friends and family, your alcohol habits as well as your travel habits. The moderator will also ask about narcotics, doping, your criminal record, your behavior online and on social media, your safety thinking and your loyalty. All of which is needed to evaluate the vulnerability of you and your surroundings as well as your loyalty and trustworthiness, which is the point of the conversation.

All of these questions can be found on the website of FMV (Swedish Defence Material Administration) in a document named “Underbilaga 8.3 till Industrisäkerhetsmanualen”.

After the personal conversation an opinion is formed on whether or not the employee is suitable for handling classified information.

Signing an NDA: The employee must also sign an NDA (nondisclosure agreement) promising not to reveal any classified information for at least 40 years.

Register control: A proposal to perform a register control according to the “safety protection law” is performed after the consent of the employee and subsequently sent to SÄPO. The register control delegation, working on permission of SÄPO, runs the employee against the criminal records. If there is anything in the records that hasn´t come up during the personal interview SÄPO will give you a call and give you a chance to explain. As long as the person manages this kind of information in his/her job the employee will remain in the record.

When all this I done and the employee has passed the evaluation, the company and the employee is notified.

To further decrease the vulnerability surrounding a specific person it is always made certain that no single person handle more classified information than is needed to do the assigned job. In that way no person possesses the entire puzzle, but just a piece of it.

When you leave your employment and no longer need to handle classified military information you will be removed from the register and all papers regarding your evaluation will be destroyed, except the NDA of course! That will be valid for at least 40 years..

Export control

Export control

The time has come for the last person in the graduate group to take the stage! Like for my fellow colleagues you can find out more about me and my background in the tab The young graduate program à Our young graduates.

I am the second graduate engineer belonging to the International Graduate Program (IGP), and I will, just like David, stay at my department for a consecutive 6 month period. GKN Aerospace consists of three branches, namely Military, Commercial and Space. I am employed at the Commercial Military department. It will be extremely interesting and exciting to get the possibility to be a part of a, to me, new field!

I am now part of project group together with some very eminent people. The purpose of this group is to work with something called export control. What is that you ask?

Export control means that we as a company knows WHAT is delivered to WHOM and that there exist relevant licenses for every export made. It is not only export of hardware in the form of actual details that are subject to export control rules but also things like drawings, knowledge and oral information. Everything subjected to export control regulations is given a class depending on how “secret” they are. The highest export class is given to military products whilst commercial products can be given a lower export class. A license requirement is put on every product based on the export classification. There is a plentitude of different licenses that can be applied for depending on the purpose of the export.

If GKN Aerospace for example wants to buy a military product from a company I the US and subsequently ship it forward to another country an ITAR license is needed. An ITAR license is the license given to the most secret military products in the US. This license must specify both that GKN Aerospace import this product and that we are allowed to ship it forward to the specific country. If we also want to be a part of future maintenance on the product a special license is needed for that as well. To further complicate things the US and Europe use different classification systems that have to be kept in mind.


During the next 6 month I will driving a project with the purpose of building a system support to how we handle export control. This will be done to simplify the process and to minimize the amount of manual work leading to a decreased risk of errors during the process.

This is a very complex but important area and I have so far only scratched the surface. I am very much looking forward to plunge right in to the exciting field of export control!