My vacation is over, the new trainees will soon arrive and it is almost time to leave for our international assignments!
There are many exciting things to look forward to, even though the summer is almost over. As I said, the new trainees will start on 4th of September and it will be fun to get to know them! That means we have less than three weeks left as “this year’s trainees” before we are being replaced. We are trying to maximize the last weeks as trainees: we will go on a fifth and last activity week the week before the new trainees start. We will finish the activity weeks as we started: with a road trip in Sweden (this time we will make a detour to Norway as well).
The whole of September will consist of finishing things in Trollhättan and making the final preparations for the international assignment. If everything goes according to plan, I will be sitting on a plane heading towards USA at the beginning of October. I am going to El Cajon, which is a GKN site just outside San Diego, which in turn is located in the southern-most part of California, approximately 20 minutes from the Mexican border. I have never been to California so I am very excited to live there for half a year. Previous trainees who have been to other GKN sites in California have been very pleased, which I hope will be my experience as well.
Exactly what I will do in El Cajon is being planned right now, but it will most likely involve projects in CI (Continuous Improvement) and production analyses. I look forward to getting to know the American work culture, to see how it differs from the Swedish and to learn lots of things I can bring back to Sweden.
Sadly enough, this will be my final blog post. It is, however, definitely time to hand over the blog to new people and you will get to know them along the way!
It has been a while since we were out on our last activity week (our great Germany tour) but here is a post about the two visits we did in Munich – better late than never 🙂
We drove into a parking lot in a roped off industrial area in the middle of a residential area (or at least that is how it felt) to park our minibus outside GKN Aerostructures Munich. This did however not happen before we tried to enter the industrial area from the complete opposite, and wrong, side (we are blaming the navigator). Once we were in the right place, we met our two hosts – one of them was originally from Sweden. They told us so much about their factory and their products. The majority of the production consists of a range of components made in composites for the airplane wings. Two of these components are aileron and flap edge, which you can see in the picture below.
The ailerons are on the outer part of the wings and the flap edges are closest to the body of the airplane. By the way, the picture shows an Airbus A380 – the world’s largest commercial airplane, which we got to learn more about on another visit during our Germany trip (but more about that in another post).
Our two hosts were great and wanted us to have a great experience – both of their site and of Munich. Therefore, they were more than happy to help us find a nice spot to have dinner. We went to the English Garden and had a Currywürst by the water, which was awesome until it started to rain and we had to find cover with a bunch of Germans. We summarized the day as a great one – despite the rain!
The day after started in much the same way – with navigations problems. A very kind man helped us to find the right way to the visitors’ parking lot. He even jumped in to our car to make sure we got to the right place after having tried to explain the labyrinth of left and right turns. Once we found ourselves on the visitors’ parking lot we realized the spot where we had started was just a stone’s throw away, but the way there by car was complicated to say the least. Visitors’ parking lots in Munich do not seem to cooperate with us at all.
The company we were visiting was MTU Aero Engines, which is one of our customers. A large share of what they deliver to their customers is engine modules, the low-pressure turbine module for example. In comparison, we make components (low-pressure turbine cases for example) that are mounted into modules before being assembled into the finished engines. MTU are also responsible for the final assembly of some complete engines. It is relatively new for them and for this purpose, they have built a new assembly line, which is adapted to the operators and the product. It was very interesting to see how they had organized the line and to see how very flexible it was in order to facilitate the work for the operators as much as possible.
I have been lucky enough to be a part of a very cool event! I have been to a conference with people from all around the world who discuss and improve quality in the aerospace industry. I went on a boat ride around Stockholm and I have had the most amazing dinner in the Blue Hall – the hall where the Nobel Banquet takes place every year!
How did this happen, you might wonder? It happend thanks to my supervisor at the quality department who is one of the people arranging the conference. I got the chance to be a part of the conference for two days to be a helping hand as well as experience and learn.
So, what kind of conference was it? Well, it was an IAQG conference. IAQG stands for International Aerospace Quality Group and is an organization aimed at quality for companies within the aerospace industry. The conference is bi-annual and takes place for one week during the spring and one week during the fall. The place of the conference varies and Cleveland will be hosting next time.
A gala dinner takes place every Wednesday of the conference week and this time it was in the Blue Hall. I went up (and down) on the famous stairs where all Nobel Prize winners ascends every year. We were informed that the stairs was designed with women in high heels and long dresses in mind (the architect had his wife go up and down different types of stairs in order to find the optimal stairs). No one has ever fallen in these stairs so I guess he and his wife did a good job.
There are a lot of meetings, discussions and workshops in smaller groups during the week. A General Assembly takes place on the Thursday of every conference week where everybody gathers and listens to presentations from several of these smaller groups. They usually talk about what they have been up to since the last conference, which made it a great day for me to get some insights into the work of IAQG.
After our amazing week in England, we have once again changed departments. I have been working at a quality department for almost a week now. This department supports the whole of GKN in Trollhättan within a number of different areas. One of these areas is making sure that all requirements from customers, standards and governments are met throughout our business. Another area is to develop and update the operation management system we use. The system describes all processes, standards and responsibilities.
However, during my ten weeks at the department I will mostly work with preemptive production development. This is done by monitoring the manufacturing processes in order to discover trends in the measured product characteristics to be able to solve problems before the product characteristics end up outside the tolerances. One tool that is used are control charts (se picture below).
The upper line illustrates the upper tolerance limit and the lower line illustrates the lower tolerance limit. Once a product has been processed in a machine, the characteristic that was processed is measured and the value is plotted in the control chart. Trends will gradually appear as more products are processed and measured. Is the trend showing that the characteristics are moving towards one of the tolerance limits? If so, the manufacturing process should be investigated to understand why this happens and to rectify the issue. The characteristic is continually measured and hopefully the measured values move towards the middle of the control charts, where they should be.
I find this area very exciting and interesting and I look forward to learn a lot more about it and how it can be used! As I mentioned previously I will mostly work with the production development but I will get the chance to understand what the department is doing in regards to the other areas as well. I am convinced that, no matter what work I will do in the future, I will always be able to benefit from what I am learning at this department!
There are not that many days left of our second rotation. We will start at our new departments at the beginning of March but we have loads of fun stuff to do until then. On Monday we are going up to Linköping to make a visit at Saab. It will be very interesting as I do not have much knowledge of their work there. I actually did my master’s thesis at Saab, but in Gothenburg, and in a completely different division. I am sure we will be well taken care of by their graduate engineers and hopefully learn lots of new things.
We will stay the night in Linköping because on Tuesday LARM is taking place, which is Linköping’s Techology Students Career Fair. We will be representing GKN at the fair and I know it will be much fun. Especially for Andreas who studied there. Of course, we hope that many of you readers will come talk to us, maybe we will recruit new blog readers but most of all we hope that many of you guys will be introduced to GKN and tempted to apply for a job here (as a graduate engineer, thesis worker or something else)!
Linköping will be honored by our presence for one more night as we are making a study visit to the helicopter fleet in Linköping on Wednesday! I am not sure what we are doing there (as I haven’t been in charge of arranging this visit), so I will not say anything about that. However, I am sure it will be highly informative and fun!
When we get back from Linköping we have a few days to breathe and relax (and work of course) before leaving for England and our great adventure. The trip will be amazing in every way, I am sure, and you will read several posts about this later so I will not tell you anything further right now.
Once we are back from England we will have our final days of group dynamics and self-development. This will be the last thing we do before the work at our new departments starts. I will do my third rotation at a quality department and I hope that I get to try a bit of everything but that I also get to work with long-term development of the production. Once the work is started I will definitely tell you more about what the department (and I) are doing!
Until then – keep reading the blog and come visit us at LARM!
Do you know what day it is today? The day when the career fair at Luleå University of Technology takes place – LARV!
GKN Aerospace is of course represented. Former graduate engineers Claire and Hanna are present at the fair. GKN Driveline in Köping is represented by Johan and Pelle. Do not hesitate to talk to them, ask questions and be curious! They will help you with all your concerns and thoughts. They can also tell you lots about the company and all the different roads that leads to the possibility of working at a company active in one of the coolest industries!
All of the trainees each have a responsibility, something to keep an extra eye on, and mine is thesis works and career fairs. It is up to me to keep track of those things surrounding the fairs; making sure there is material to bring to the fairs and assist those who will represent GKN. The responsibility regarding the thesis works mainly concerns making sure the new thesis workers are welcomed to the company and providing them with the possibility to get to know each other (and the trainees). Every other week we all have lunch together and usually we are a big awesome group!
Many thesis workers have started now in January and it is going to be loads of fun getting to know them. Some of them may well be accepted to the trainee program and, in a few months, writing a blog post of their own to the trainee blog!
There are so many areas in which you can do your master’s thesis here at GKN. Just to mention a few there is design, quality and production. In addition, we have a materials laboratory where you can seek challenges as well as a research department located at PTC (Center of Production Technology) in Trollhättan. At PTC they, among other things, research and develop new production methods and especially Additive Manufacturing (AM) is an important part of their work.
As you might have noticed, we offer great opportunities to finding your area of interest – and it is not only applicable to thesis work but also when applying for a job! Thesis work can be a great way to a certain area of knowledge or a company, but it can also help you realise what you don’t find that interesting. Shortly, it is a chance for you to understand what type of job you want to apply for or which company you want to be a part of.
Now that our activity week, when we were out in Europe, has passed and the new year has begun it is time for most of us to make our first rotation and start at a new department. This only applies to the five of us that belong to the local program, and not Malin and David who belong to the global program. They will stay at the same department until they leave for their first assignment abroad.
I have been with the manufacturing engineers working with space and military during my first rotation (10 weeks). It has been lots of fun to be that close to production and I have seen and done quite a lot during this time. I have been a part of a development project developing the future generations of space nozzles and I have seen what the daily work with the production is like. I have made so-called JTDs. JTD is short for Job Training Document and is a kind of work instruction that can be used as a compliment for regular drawings and work instructions. A JTD has a lot of pictures and explicit explanations to facilitate for someone who has never performed these operations before. One of the JTDs I have made covers a welding operation and as I had no previous experience of welding, I found it very interesting!
My new department, where I started straight after coming home from our activity week, is with the design engineers. They are ones who makes the drawings and places requirements on products. They are also in contact with both the customer and people from production to make sure the things they do are aligned with the customer needs as well as possible to produce. It is a very exciting world and something I believe is very valuable to have insight into, especially later on when I am working with production. I will also learn the basics of the CAD program NX. I have not worked with CAD since my first year at Chalmers, which is now more than 5 years ago!
It is also time to say goodbye to 2016 and look forward to an exciting and eventful 2017. More experience within different areas at GKN, more company visits and meetings (especially those with the GKN leaders Kevin Cummings and Nigel Stein in February), my first “real” vacation and ending with the assignment abroad!
As most of you probably already know, the universities around Sweden arrange career fairs every year where the students meet representatives from different companies. GKN is usually present at a lot of these fairs to attract students for summer jobs, master thesis projects, graduate employments and “regular” employments.
The first fair for this season is Armada, which is held at KTH (Royal Institute of Technology) in Stockholm today and tomorrow (22nd and 23rd of November). Linn and Sofie, who were graduates until this summer, are at the fair representing GKN. They can tell you a lot about the company and all the different roads you can take in order to work at a company in one of the coolest industries!
So – if you are in the neighborhood, I definitely think you should stay and talk to them. Just see how cheerful they look! 🙂
This Saturday (12th of November), a very fun competition will take place at Innovatum here in Trollhättan – the region finals of First Lego League! Teams of eight graders have during the fall been working with a project and on Saturday they will display their projects and compete against each other. The project is divided into three parts; one research part where they have defined and solved a problem, one marketing and cooperation part where they will show their marketing skills and ability to work together and lastly a technology part. The technology part entails a lego robot which the teams have been developing, building and programming. The robots will perform different tasks and compete against other robots in games during the competition day.
GKN Aerospace is taking a part in this and is sponsoring one of the competing teams; Team Cookies. Some of us trainees will be at the competition and we look forward to being impressed by the eight graders! It will be great fun and we will most probably tell you more about the event afterwards.
Now, during week 45, there is a special week called TOPP taking place at Innovatum. All ninth graders in the area are gathered and they will be given an insight into the working life in Trollhättan. One way to achieve this is by having several companies introduce themselves. We will be present at this event too, representing GKN and telling the students about the company. We hope to inspire the students and getting them interested in the technology at GKN. The TOPP week is a great initiative to bring students and work places together!
Yet another thing happens this week; the Sweden Robot Hack will take place at PTC here in Trollhättan on Saturday (12/11). It is a competition between several teams from, among others, Chalmers University of Technology (Gothenburg), University West (Trollhättan) and the Nils Ericson high school (Trollhättan).
As you notice it is a very eventful and fun week here in Trollhättan and we are very happy to be a part of this!