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Month: December 2018

Activity week 2, part 2

Activity week 2, part 2

Dear World,

After a very exciting week abroad, visiting a vast amount of interesting companies throughout Europe we are finally back at our beloved site in Trollhättan, Sweden. This post will involve various interesting company visits, endeavors and stories about the places we have been at and the things we have seen. The main challenge for me as a finance trainee is to make you and myself understand all the technical terms that we encountered at each of these visits, so I ask you to overlook my lack of expertise within these areas.

So here it goes… When we arrived in the Netherlands, our first visit was to ESA (ESTEC) in Noordwijk.  One of the trainees from our group, Filip Jensen, did his internship at ESA within the Chemical Propulsion section so he managed to set up a very intense but exciting day for us. We indulged ourselves in the futuristic aura that the place gave us. The first feeling that we had when we entered the company grounds was WOW!

Our host for the day was Matthew Smith, a Chemical Propulsion Engineer who gave us the tour around the premises. The first area we visited was the Propulsion lab where an YGT (Young Graduate Trainee) introduced us the complex systems of Electric and Chemical Propulsion. The ESA Propulsion Laboratory is an operational facility in the spacecraft propulsion testing field. I think that many of us thought that this was very cool but we were overwhelmed with the complexity of it, this surely was Rocket Science.

As the tour continued, we approach what in the end happened to be my favorite, the Large Space Simulator (LSS). Within the test center where the LSS is, Satellites must be tested thoroughly before sent into space because satellites are expensive, and once in orbit they cannot be fixed. In this facility we were introduced to all the complex testing that ESTEC does on satellites. It was presented by Grezgorz Izorski, an Electromechanical Instrumentation Engineer. Inside the LSS satellites are exposed to vacuum as well as simulating sunlight, which is about 20 times stronger or more than it is on Earth. Would satellites be sent to Mercury, which is much closer to the sun than Earth, then we could be confident that the satellite would not malfunction.

Furthermore, we were introduced to the Materials Lab by Nathan Bamsey, a Materials & Process Engineer. Here, we were given an overview of the different materials that we use and how they are tested. Also, a vast amount of process are undertaken to ensure stability and robustness for the chosen materials.

In between the different facility visits we were able to meet another Chemical Propulsion Engineer named Chris Hunter. He set up an open forum of discussion, giving us the possibility to ask relevant questions encompassing the industry and the challenges that we have in the future. This visit also gave Filip the possibility to meet many of his former colleagues.

The trainee group in front of a satellite at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands.

Fokker Landing Gear

The day after the tour at ESTEC, we travelled further south toward Helmond where we visited our sister company Fokker Landing Gear. Our guide for the day was Manuela Snijders, a MRO (Maintenance-Repair-Overhaul) Engineer – New Capabilities & Innovations. I have to say that I have never experienced such a warm welcome than the one we received here, big shout-out to them and everything they arranged for us.

The trainee group outside of Fokker Landing Gear in Helmond, Netherlands.

Firstly, we got a presentation of the company as well as the trainee-program that they offer at Fokker. It differentiates a bit from ours but the end product is very much like ours, to develop and sustain young graduates within the company. Additionally, we got a tour throughout the manufacturing plant to see what sort of products they produce. You don’t realize how important and advance the landing gears are as well as how much weight they are exposed to. They use a block of metal that weighs about 22 ton and simulate a real-life scenario where the weight is moving 8 m/s onto the wheels. To understand the physics, the block of metal (1/3 airplane) weighs 22,000 kg and moves at 8 m/s toward the ground (which is very fast and unpleasant landing). Making the momentum: 22,000 * 8 = 176,000 kg*m/s. In other words, a large amount of momentum is distributed onto one pair of wheels?!! Hereon, we walked throughout the rest of manufacturing to see their machines and how they produce their products. It was much like our own plant in Trollhättan except for the end product.

Towards the end of our visit, we engaged ourselves with the Fokker employees and former trainees at the plant in a “speed dating” session. Here we got the chance during 5 minutes to engage ourselves in a more in-depth conversation with each individual. We all thought this was a great way of networking to get a deeper understanding of their day-to-day activities. Something that amazed many of us were their way of presenting up-to-date data on screens, involving performance of machines, financial results, health rates as well as working capital

Airbus Space & Defence

For the final stop on our tour through Europe, the trainee group was treated to an inspiring site tour at Airbus Defence & Space in Leiden, Netherlands. While there we were introduced to Senior Systems Engineer, Henk Cruijssen, who taught us about some of the projects and technologies that they work on at Airbus. After a brief presentation, he walked us through a few of their test labs and manufacturing facilities to touch and see the materials that go on their satellites. Before leaving for home, we had a short Q&A with Henk about the aerospace industry and the roles we play.

The trainee group posing in front of the Airbus logo.
The trainee group in front of one of the rocket parts assembled by Airbus Space & Defence.

Thank you for this time, and I wish you all the best but more specifically a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!!

Until next time.

Activity week 2, part 1

Activity week 2, part 1

Hey there!

Last week was our second activity week when we once again visited a number of exciting companies, this time we took our stuff and went to Germany and the Netherlands. Since there were a lot of different visits, I will only write about three of them in this post.

Since our trainee project is about a workshop tour in a VR environment, we decided to visit a company that works with that, to get a better knowledge in the technology and what we can use. We visited the company Kubikfoto3 in Stuhr outside Bremen. There we met Ole Leifels, who presented their company and some of the projects they have been working with, both educational ones and advertising for different companies. We also got the chance to try some of the project with VR glasses which I thought was really cool, dive into the ocean and find animals in the wild, among other things.

A happy Emelie that got to see a sea lion in VR environment.

We also took the opportunity to visit two different startup companies working in the aviation industry, which was really enlightening as they deal with current issues.

The first startup company we visited was Skel-Ex in Rotterdam, where they develop and manufacture an exoskeleton used on the upper body of those who work in manufacturing, to minimize the risk for ergonomic injuries and increasing productivity. It decreases the burden in the shoulders when working with the arms in a high position with the help of springs.

First, we met with Michael Kuiken who showed us and described their product and their manufacturing. We also got to try it and you really felt what a great relief it gave the shoulders when your arms were high up. Then, Jaap Hoogland gave a presentation about the company, its background and future plans. A really great innovation and a great value to minimize injuries in manufacturing!

Wictor is feeling strong with the exoskeleton.

The second startup company we visited was Aiir Innovations in Amsterdam, founded in 2016, where we met the founders Bart Vredebregt and Miriam Huijser. Their company works with Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a support to maintenance in the aviation industry, for inspections and repairs.

They develop a software program that analyzes video footage and detects automatically the defects in the material such as cracks or bumps. This is used as an extra pair of eyes to the operator during the inspection so that nothing is to be missed and time will be saved. We got to see an example when they filmed turbine blades in a jet engine and the defects were marked directly. It is a great value to a company since it will be a safer inspection that takes less time. Time = money!

The whole gang outside the “village” where Air Innovations has there office.

If you want to read more about these interesting and innovative companies, you can visit their websites:



Aiir Innovations: 

F7 Såtenäs

F7 Såtenäs

Dear blog readers!

Things are moving on here at GKN in Trollhättan and we are soon at the well-deserved Christmas holidays. This week we had the opportunity to join some colleagues, doing an internship called ”Tekniksprånget”, and Maria Stavered at F7  Såtenäs, a Swedish military air base. 

At Såtenäs we meet our Guide Dag Kjellberg who showed us around some hangars with old aircrafts. Dag has over 1500 flight hours with the Viggen Aircraft and a few hundred with the Gripen aircraft. We had the opportunity to walk around the hangar and see Viggen, Draken, Lansen and many other aircrafts. They are all managed and flown by its ideal organization Swedish Air Force Historic Flight, participating in flight shows all over the world.

SAAB JA 37 Viggen
SAAB J37 Draken

Shortly afterwards we went to the Gripen centra, a building at F7 with the duty to promote the Swedish air force and govern the Gripen program. There, we had a lecture of the Swedish air force history by Håkan Brandt a retired pilot with a lot of experience of Viggen. Close outside, the Gripen aircrafts took off and even though we were inside, it was loud!

We headed off to the last hangars, the Gripen hangars and before entering we waited for a Gripen to take off, and we could never imagined the mighty sound of the RM12! The visual aspect of the takeoff was incredible, but the sound of the engine was marvelous! Makes one proud being from Trollhättan. Inside the hangars, Dag and Håkan talked about the cockpit, the clothing, the fire power, agility and much more. We also had the fortune to take two photos of the group in front of two Gripen aircrafts.

In front of a JAS 39 Gripen
In the background: the nozzle of the RM12, the engine of Gripen. Made by GKN

 It was a very giving visit and we are very glad that we had the opportunity to visit F7 Såtenäs!