Browsed by
Author: Andreas Åhwall

F I N A L L Y !

F I N A L L Y !

Dear beloved blog reader, do not despair! Your long lost favorite blog writer is finally back again 😉

I conceive that you all spent many sleepless nights wondering about how I am doing. How has his time in Holland been? What has he done since the last blog post? How has he managed the conversion from a trainee to a simple office-worker? Do not worry – I’m glad to announce to all of you that both my body and soul are on top!

My six months in Holland made a fantastic experience, and although my final assignment was not exactly as planned, I learned a vast amount of things along the way. I was part of a project introducing new products, which is exactly the type of work that I want to lead in the future. I was responsible for planning and scheduling as well as monitoring the activity plan. A work that may not sound like the most exciting of them all, but if you, just as I do, get aroused by complicated Excel formulas and nice looking graphs, I can promise that it will get the senses spinning wild.

Besides my professional duties, I made sure to experience all the best that Holland has to offer, and I met new friends who hopefully will be with me for the rest of my life. It was undeniably with mixed feelings that I left Holland in the beginning of May, to return to my much loved and missed Trollhättan <3

Now I’ve been on my new position for almost one month already, and I must say I got a flying start. I once again work in a project with new product introductions. This time as product manufacturing engineer and with the Japanese customer Kawasaki Heavy Industries. Working with a customer from the other side of the world and a whole new culture of course means a lot of unforeseen experiences and challenges, not least in terms of quality demands and unpronounced expectations. At the same time it is incredibly fun and exciting! For example, at which other workplace in Sweden will you be offered prawn and mussel cakes with the coffee?

As you have surely understood by now, I am like a duck to water in my new project, and it’s a wonderful atmosphere and great work commitment in the project group! With that said, I now leave the word to my trainee son-in-law Alexander, who in the next post will tell you about how it feels to finally have his biggest role models back in Sweden.

From Holland with love

From Holland with love

Happy Valentine’s Day, dear beloved blog reader!

In these times of love, I send you a warm and hearty greeting from Holland. I know you have all been wondering how I, Joel and Joakim are doing here. Unfortunately, I cannot speak on behalf of my dear friends, but they indeed seem to be on top of the world when we meet every now and then down here. Anyhow, here’s a long-awaited guest blog post from me!

Since the end of October / November, I am located in southern Holland, just outside the country’s second largest city Rotterdam. More precisely, I live in Dordrecht, which is actually the oldest city in Holland and accordingly very cozy. Right in the middle of the old charming neighborhoods, I live in an astonishingly nice apartment. So nice, that during the Christmas holidays I even went back here in time to throw an epic new year´s celebration together with Joel, Jocke, David, Neil and a crew of other friends we´ve got to know down here.

Every morning I do a five minute walk through the beautiful city center and then take the ferry across the river to Fokker Aerostructures in Papendrecht. This site constitutes the headquarters of the Fokker division and in the near future also for the entire GKN Aerostructures. Here I am involved in two projects that both concerns the production of fuselage panels for a new business jet. In one of the projects, we are developing an industrial infrastructure to handle the large metal sheets that are then assembled to the complete aircraft. With sheets over 5m in length, only 0.4mm thick and furthermore with a large amount of holes and perforations, you understand that it is clearly a challenge to lift and transport these fragile products. My role is project support, which means that I am responsible for planning and follow-up on the project, as well as ensuring that all deliverables are covered by the respective sub-projects. It is an interesting work and a very valuable experience for future project manager assignments. The second project is the manufacturing of the very first shipset of the above-mentioned panels, and in this work I am responsible for the daily planning of a segment of the production. A very much challenging task with virtually daily changing conditions arising from customer needs and internal production!

All in all, I am very pleased with life in Holland and I have met many nice people and spent some fun weekends with my Swedish colleagues. Now I also finally start feeling that spring is in the air, and since I will stay here all the way until the end of April, I’m sure that I have many wonderful excursions and adventures to come where I can discover even more of what this country has to offer!

Thanks and good bye!

Thanks and good bye!

Our year as young graduates at GKN Aerospace has been raging fast, but even so we have experienced incredibly much along the way! We have come to know a vast number of different departments, people and roles at Sweden’s largest (and finest!) aerospace company. We have visited other sites within the GKN plc. group and countless other exciting companies within Sweden as well as in Europe. We have gained contact with and been inspired by the most fascinating people in all possible fields of work and business roles. We have traveled hundreds of pleasant miles in our minibus and, most importantly, we have become a lovely new little family and friends for life!

Therefore, it is not without sorrow that we now leave room for a new year of enthusiastic youngsters. On Monday this week, a new group of GKN graduates started their journey and we welcome them to our comapny with open hearts. You readers of the blog will soon get the chance to know them better as well.

But do not worry too much about losing us. We promise to return in a near future with exciting guest posts from our upcoming international practices.

Until then – thanks and good bye from the graduates of 2016-2017!

New adventures!

New adventures!

Time flies when having fun, and as a young graduate at GKN this is definitely more true than we want it to be! More than ten months have already passed since we stepped through the main gate for the very first time, as newly hatched and very much unexperienced engineers. As time has gone by, we have step by step grown into our professional roles and soon a new adventure is awaiting where we get the chance to spread our wings. In October/November, we will begin six exciting months of international practice!

For that reason I visited Fokker Aerostructures in Papendrecht, the Netherlands, last week where I will spend the forthcoming winter and spring. Papendrecht, which is also the headquarters of our Dutch subsidiary, manufactures fuselage panels to the Gulfstream 650, which is one of the world’s most popular business jets. At present, a majority of the component manufacturing for these panels are performed by Turkish Aerospace Industries, but my task will be to lead a project aimed at gradually insourcing the complete production to the Netherlands. A large project with major accountability, but also a very educational one that I definitely look forward to. It feels like a perfect challenge that will pave the way for my future intended role as a New Product Introduction (NPI) leader. It will be very exciting and developing to work with new tasks, new products and in a new country.

I really can´t wait to get there!

A bright shiny morning

A bright shiny morning

As Niclas revealed already a month ago, us graduates were then at the moment on our way out on a new epic journey through Europe. For all readers, who have ever since then been longingly awaiting with great excitement and eagerness, arrives now at last one of the long-awaited stories from one of our legendary days in Germany.

It was a bright shiny morning when we woke up in our small guesthouse in Wolfsburg in central northern Germany, a charming city with 120,000 inhabitants. After stretching out our legs by means of a short walk to the nearest grocery store and drinking our morning coffee, we slowly began to awaken. We put our most professional business suits on and loaded us into our black minibus. In good time (of course), we started the journey towards today’s first goal.

It did not take long until we approached the city’s great pride, Volkswagenwerk, founded in 1938 by none other than Adolf Hitler (a shameful detail which the world’s largest car manufacturer strategically not told us about during the tour which we were then invited to). In this the world’s largest car factory, whose first buildings were already raised long before the city itself was founded, more than 75,000 people work each day. The surface occupied by the factory complex is huge (try entering Wolfsburg in Googlemaps and you will soon see an industrial unit that is equally big as the remaining parts of the city in whole). In fact, if you expect 60% of the inhabitants of the city to be fit for work, the available labor will still not suffice even if every single one were to work for the car giant. With such a huge staffing force, the Volkswagen factory becomes its own small society, and the need for employees in widely different areas far from the core business car manufacturing follows. For example, there is an own hospital in the area, an orangery that provides the offices and factories with uplifting plant life and a slaughterhouse that manufactures the local delicacy Volkswagenwurst.

The factory tour was made up of a seven-kilometer long ride in a tourist train, which rushed on with dizzying speeds along the factory floor, while a highly excited guide (and driver{/car thief?}) hollered more or less relevant information about the production. With our hands stretched in the air, it felt like we were in an amusement park as the g-forces struck us when flying over the ridges between the various workshops. During this experience, we were surrounded by around 2,700 robots that, together with all workers, spit out nearly 2 million cars a year, or one car every 18 seconds, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. A very much surreal experience!

The train we rushed through the Volkswagen factory in. Also check out the exciting movie describing the impressive production below:

After the ride at Volkswagen, it was time for a new speedy experience, this time northwards on another of Germany’s famous attractions – the Autobahn! With only a short food stop to enjoy the mythical VW-wurst, we quickly traveled north to Hamburg and our next stopping point in the adventure. It was time to see the final context of the products we manufacture and deliver.

On the Airbus site in Hamburg the A320, which we in Trollhättan manufacture TEC:s (Turbine Exhaust Cases) and the IMC:s (Intermediate Compressor Cases) for, is assembled. Airbus A320 is one of the world’s most successful aircraft programs and so far more than 7,500 planes have been manufactured. For us who work with the sole engine components every day, it was great fun to see them in their surrounding context. Even more exciting, however, was to closely observe the assembly of the airframe for the Airbus A380, the world’s largest passenger aircraft with capacity for up to 960 passengers and with a wing area of ​​845m2 (or equal to five normal sized villas!).

Not until nightfall our group of tired, but very happy trainees left today’s second visit full of new inspiration and knowledge. A day well worth remembering had sadly come to an end!

Airbus A380, the worlds largest passenger aircraft!

Inspiring the youth!

Inspiring the youth!

Dear blog readers, as you already know the young graduate group has a yearly assignment which this time is about raising the awareness about engineering among adolescents and inspire more to choose similar educations and career paths as ourselves. As a part of this project, me, Niclas and David (who is temporarily back home in Sweden) today met a large part of Trollhättans eight graders at the town’s own Innovatum Science Center. Together with people from completely different backgrounds and businesses, such as firefighters, chefs and hotel personnel, we told stories about the different routes and opportunities that awaits the youths after the approaching high school. It was not the easiest task to summarize the work of a whole profession society in five minutes and also explaining the path to get where we are today. What is it actually that our profession is all about? Answering e-mails, attending meetings and having coffee breaks where the common tasks we identified. I hope we succeeded in encouraging the students to challenge themselves and to test out new and exciting fields of working!

David, Andreas and Niclas representing GKN and engineering at the inspiration day at Innovatum Science Center. (Yesterday Joel & Emelie represented us, and next Tuesday it is time for Malin & Joakim.)

Inspiration from above!

Inspiration from above!

Just as Niclas briefly mentioned in the previous post, we have recently met Mike McCann for an exciting conversation that certainly can be said to have given us some inspiration from above!

Mike McCann is our CEO of GKN Aerospace Engine Systems, i.e. the twelve sites within GKN Aerospace engaged in aircraft engine components and for which Trollhättan hosts the headquarters. Mike is a very much experienced professional within in the aerospace business, and after having graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, he has worked in the industry for over 30 years. In 2009 Mike joined GKN Aerospace, and in November 2012, after the acquisition of Volvo Aero, he began the work in his current position. Mike is a native of Dallas, USA where he commutes between his private home and the many the sites under his authority. Periodically, he works at the site here in Trollhättan, and during these visits he has made it plenty of time to meet us young graduates.

The meeting this Monday was in fact not the first time we conversed with Mike McCann. Already at Mike’s last visit to Trollhättan in late February a one and-a-half-hour meeting was scheduled with the well-spoken American. Even though he at this occasion went over the planned time with more than one full hour, and that the enthusiastic stories only was stopped by his secretary, patiently reminding him of subsequent meetings, both sides felt that the time was not sufficient. Mike had a lot more to tell us about, and we were eager to continue to listen to his countless experiences and reflections. Therefore a follow up meeting was immediately booked, and thus on this Monday we had the chance to once again listen to the inspiring leader. At both meetings, Mike has naturally spoken to us about our company’s strategies and the plans for the future, but the by far most interesting part still has been the personal reflections on leadership and individual development. Mike is a very unpretentious and likeable leader, who had a lot of wisdom to share with us and many good advices to bring along the paths of our continuing careers. It has been a great pleasure to meet with Mike, and I will sum up our impressions with a quote from my fellow graduate engineer Neil who stated it as “I could listen to that man forever!”

Meeting Kevin Cummings & Nigel Stein

Meeting Kevin Cummings & Nigel Stein

Dear blog guests,

In Neil’s latest post you read about two of our visits at GKN sites in England last week. Before these visits though, the first day in Her Royal Highness the Queen’s United Kingdom offered a number of interesting meetings with people from diverse parts of GKN plc. All of these taking place at our elegant office at Pall Mall in central London.

First out in the series of captivating meetings was the one with our fellow graduates at AES North America, Josh Bruggeman, Michael Rorapaugh, Nick Ninvaggi and their program administrator Megan Morgan. We met for just over an hour of meet-and-greet where we finally got to see the colleagues who we up to that point only knew by e-mail. We exchanged experiences from our respective cultures, graduate schemes, and GKN sites while also planning for the upcoming week together. It was truly interesting to get an insight to the daily life at the other side of the Atlantic, and it was a great start of a very enjoyable week together. If you continue to read our blog, you will for sure hear more from our newfound American friends when they all three have moved to Sweden in September for their half year long abroad placement at our site here in Trollhättan.

After a tasty lunch, it was time for a meeting with one of the heavyweights of GKN plc., namely Kevin Cummings CEO – GKN Aerospace. To be given the opportunity to meet the Chief Executive of our division for one and a half hour of exclusive contact was an honor and a privilege given to very few employees in our organization. Kevin immediately made an impression on us as he, even though he only had known about our visit since a few hours, was very well-prepared with recorded notes for answers on our long list of sent in questions. Kevin spoke about big topics such as experiences gained as a CEO within a larger corporate group which simultaneously deals with underlying subdivisions and major strategies within our division, as well as personal subjects such as day-to-day assignments and key events and characteristics which has lead him up to the position he holds today. All in all, the meeting was a welcoming dialogue and we are warmly grateful that Kevin gave his valuable time to inspire us who represent the company’s future.

When the meeting with Kevin Cummings had come to an end, we raised your sights even higher and met with Nigel Stein CEO – GKN plc. Nigel fulfilled all our expectations put on a successful British businessman and he possessed both great courtesy and a convincing composure. Nigel has been the CEO for the GKN corporate group since 2012, and he has since then led us on a journey towards greater focus on and growth within the Aerospace and Driveline divisions. This is a great success story, which he promises will continue for years onward. A hearty part of the meeting was when Michael Turner, Chairman of the GKN Board and moreover a huge Manchester United fan, entered the room and interrupted Nigel’s narrations simply because he wanted to thank us Swedes for Zlatan Ibrahimović, who had secured the victory for United in the English Football League Cup the previous day. After this laidback entry, Michael was (just as Kevin and Nigel) very curious to hear more about us graduates, our backgrounds and our future expectations. It was especially encouraging to see that the leaders all put great interest in our views on GKN and potential development areas. We truly felt that we were given a unique chance to influence the company on the highest possible level. Nigel and Michael also explained the company’s ambitious growth strategies and provided us the impression that possible future acquirements would quite probably be made. In summary, the overlying message was that GKN plc. has a continued bright future ahead, which was further underlined when our stock price raised almost 5 % on the day after when the annual statement was released. The day at Pall Mall was undeniably fruitful for everyone involved!

Work out at GKN!

Work out at GKN!

Just as at the university, GKN Aerospace offers a broad range of societies to engage in outside working hours. With activities reaching from arts and equites all the way to floorball and orienteering, there is something to explore in all fields of interest. Moreover, GKN promotes and supports all employees to exercise by the means of providing a gym and a sports hall at our premises free of charge, together with a number of group training sessions held every week.

As a GKN young graduate, and also a part of the Swedish national team in athletics, I of course want to take part in as well as contribute to this exercise culture. For that reason, I will during this spring lead a series of core strength session, with focus on muscle groups crucial for long distance running. The premiere session was held last week and became a great success! Over fifty GKN employees showed up to sweat and have a great time together after completing the day´s work. A perfect opportunity also for me to get some discipline into the very much important strength training which otherwise is far too easy to miss out on. Four graduate engineers attended the first class, but I’ll leave it out for now which other four the dodging second half consisted of. Tomorrow, a new chance is given to everyone to prove their commitment when the second session of the year is scheduled!

Will you be one of the chosen few?

Will you be one of the chosen few?

Do you want to work at the cutting edge of aerospace industry, with groundbreaking technologies in a global market? Do you wish to develop yourself in a grand and internationally renowned company, which at the same time is small enough for you as individual to make great impact?

If so, you should definitely apply for the GKN Aerospace Young Graduate Program in Trollhättan, a success ever since the start in 1986!

Have you been following the fortunate seven of us here on the trainee blog, and enviously wished you also were a part of such a wonderful group of young and enthusiastic engineers? Are you eager to test your skills in many different operational areas, to get to know an entire business from inside, to continuously grow and develop, to advance your leadership skills and last but definitely not the least go on exciting business trips where you get the chance to meet people from other companies within the aerospace business? Now is your chance to be one of the chosen few!

The application for the position as one of this fall’s young graduates is now open. Apply here!

We are looking for applicants who:

  • Are recently graduated Masters of Science in Mechanical Engineering, Material Technologies, Engineering Physics, Industrial Engineering and Management or equivalent
  • Are fluent in English and Swedish, both spoken and written
  • Have a high level of interpersonal skills and an ambition to always strive forward
  • Previous leadership practices are meriting

The GKN Aerospace Young Graduate Program in Trollhättan started in 1986 and we now celebrate 30 years of success. During these years our graduates have continuously advanced to take management positions and key responsibilities within the organization. As you probably already have learnt by following this blog, the purpose of our graduate program is too give newly graduated engineers the best possibilities to grow both professionally and personally in a stimulating international business environment. As a graduate engineer you will be given the chance to work with product design, manufacturing engineering, material technologies, procurement, logistics and quality. The ultimate goal is to give you a broad range of experiences and the best possible preparation for a future position as a manager or specialist within you own area of interest and expertise.

Just as for us current young graduates, you will start your placement with 12 months at the Engine Systems headquarters here in Trollhättan. This first year will be equally divided among 4-6 work rotations within this facility. The individual placements are interspersed with so called activity weeks where the graduate group as a whole, on top of leadership training events, is given the chance to travel and connect with experts and managers from leading companies within the European aerospace industry. The graduate program is then completed with a 6 months placements at one of GKN Aerospace´s sites abroad, which gives you the chance to work throughout Europe, USA or Mexico.

We graduate engineers of today are highly delighted with the program so far, and we heartily recommend everyone interested in technology and leadership to apply. We are looking forward to receiving your application!