Suddenly it happened, covid-19 released us from its firm grip and we were finally able to go abroad on our international placements. It feels like it’s several years ago I wrote an entry on this blog considering how much we’ve done since handing the blog over to the current trainees. We, the trainees 2020/2022, have finished our final rotations in Trollhättan, visited most of our sites in England and now we’re all spread out on our international assignment which is the final step of the graduate program.
In my case, I got the opportunity to spend my six months in France with our customer ArianeGroup on their site in Vernon, along the Seine an hour west of Paris. ArianeGroup develops and manufactures the launchers Ariane 5 (and the coming Ariane 6) for which we develop and manufacture the main engine nozzle and turbines for both first and second stages. I am however part of preparing the upcoming hot-fire tests of the Prometheus engine where we’ve developed the turbine.
Prometheus is a very exciting project, partly because it is intended to be used in the Themis launcher which will the first European reusable launcher and also because it is to a large extent developed for additive manufacturing to drastically reduce cost and weight. On top of that, it’ll use methane as propellant! For our component, this means that we’ve been able to reduce the amount of components from around 100 to only two! Also, the hop tests (liftoff – flight to a couple hundred meters – landing) will be conducted in Kiruna, which is great news for Swedish space industry!
Enough about technology! Vernon is a smaller town, around 23000 inhabitants, where ArianeGroup is the largest private employer and the history stretches way back to World War II where the site was used to develop and test the V2 rocket. The site includes development, manufacturing, assembly and testing of rocket engines.
Vernon is situated in Normandy, along the Seine River that runs through Paris and debouches into the English Channel. There are lots of renaissance castles through this valley and around Vernon that keeps me occupied during the weekends, as I have an interest in history. One of the highlights is a visit to the coastal town of Étretat and the cathedral in Rouen where Olaf II Haraldsson (King of Norway 1015-1028) was baptized and then played a vital role in the conversion of Norway from Norse Paganism to Christianity. Normandy has an incredible amount of history linked (as the name tells) to Scandinavian Vikings, so there’s plenty to discover!
I could keep writing for ages but this anecdote will conclude my post for this time.
Once again it’s Friday and we have just finished the fourth week of work after our annual holidays. It’s really a cliché, but time passes on so quickly. Especially since we’ve worked a month already but also when you realize that we’ve been with GKN Aerospace for a full year already. And with us being here for a year, that also means that the new graduates has finally joined us on the site, which we’ve been looking forward to since we got to meet them the first time a couple months back.
Monday afternoon we had a teambuilding exercise where we, in teams of two, had to walk around central Trollhättan to photograph points of interest. Considering we’re in Sweden and it is September, no-one was really ready for the high temperatures that day and therefore a competition between the teams collecting most waypoints took out its toll on us. During the 2.5 hour duration we really got the chance to get to know each other and show the city that most of the new graduates just moved to. The activity was then concluded with a dinner, which after 20.000 steps, tasted even better.
Considering that the new graduates have started, they’ll soon take over the responsibility for this blog while my cohort will continue the graduate programme with a project where we’ll exit our rotations and work together on a project for the final months of 2021. During the fall, we’ll also start planning and prepare for our international rotations that we’ll embark on in January. However, the coming weeks will be intense as we must finish our rotations, start the new project and then we also have our third development week scheduled which will include loads of interesting workshops and training sessions.
High pace and a lot of new experiences is awaited, but it’s extremly rewarding and it is the work-environment I prefer to be in. With that said, I wish you all a pleasant weekend and you’ll soon be able to get to know the new graduates here on this blog.
Hello everyone! It’s been a while since our last update which is a result of us being occupied with our rotations and a project which all 5 of us conduct together. It really feels like we can see the light in the end of the tunnel with summer approaching and that we are in the final stretch of the pandemic situation. Something that we feel is being reflected on the company as well.
A great indication of this is the current investments being done on our site here in Trollhättan. A couple weeks back, we announced the plans to build a new workshop where component repairs will be performed. As our products are manufactured with expensive and advanced materials, such as titanium and super alloys, maximizing the utilization and extending the lifecycle is important to reduce material consumption. This is completely in line with our desire to make aviation more sustainable for the future. Repairs are also less expensive than replacing the parts and hence will this workshop also lead to cost reductions for our end customers and enable us to improve and strengthen our position within additive manufacturing and advanced repair methods, a win-win situation!
I’m excited to see the development of this new workshop and how it can contribute to increased employment and business opportunities! You can read more (in Swedish) here.
For my own part, I started my new rotation on Strategy & Business Innovation after the Easter holidays. As my previous rotations has been within the Engineering organization, this is something completely new for me and that is one of the benefits about being a trainee, you get the freedom to try new disciplines and expand your professional network. More specific, I am working with continued development of an estimation model for the aerospace aftermarket including maintenance, repair and overhaul. This is an important part of our current and future business, something that is evident in regards to the site expansion I mentioned in the beginning of the post.
I hope you’re all doing well and I’d also like to congratulate all of the students that have written their master theses at GKN Aerospace during the last couple of months. The presentations are ongoing and within a couple weeks they will all be graduating from their universities.
The snow has melted away here in Trollhättan and one can perhaps expect (hopefully!) the spring to arrive soon! We, the graduates, are in a relatively busy period with both common and individual projects happening at the same time. In addition to that some us are appointed to other projects not related to our rotations or the trainee group itself.
As we say in every new blog post, time really flies and it’s already time for us to start thinking about our next rotation as the current one will be finished before the Easter holidays. Both my previous and current rotation is focused towards calculations and analysis I will probably look into learning more about market & strategy in my next rotation. That’s the strength of the trainee program, being able to discover and learn about something completely new.
We’ve also started our shared trainee project which will go on for about 6 months. Our mission is to investigate different solutions for an automated composite manufacturing system. This is being done at Centre of Production Technology which is located at Innovatum in Trollhättan. This is where GKN Aerospace and University West alongside other companies perform research on additive manufacturing and industrial automation. A short presentation video, although in Swedish, can be viewed below.
Normally, the trainees attend different career fairs and hold lectures on both universities and high schools. However, due to obvious reasons regarding the pandemic, these fairs and lectures are replaced this year by digital versions. The last couple weeks we’ve attended digital career fairs on Chalmers, Luleå University, Linköping University and Karlstads University which was a first for most of us. These career fairs were very successful and exceeded our expectations even if we’d all like to be onsite and meet people face-to-face!
Due to the same reason we haven’t been able to visit high schools to have inspirational lectures. But I, Emma and Marcus recorded a lecture last week which was targeted towards high school students graduating this year. We presented the company and shared our thoughts regarding university studies. Even though it felt a little unusual to stand before a camera in a studio environment it is these assignments that make the graduate program so fun and diverse!
Hello everyone! We can finally put 2020 behind us and look forward to a better year, which I am sure many of us have been doing for quite some time. I hope that this year we will be able to recover back to the old normal. Starting on the good news, the application process is open and will remain so until February 21! Apply to the graduate programme here!
We have also ended our first rotations and when returning to work after the holidays we have started our new ones. This is of course very special considering we all work from home but as time goes it feel more and more like the new normal. However, I personally look forward to the day where we can go back to the office!
At my new department, we are working with performance and control systems primarily for the RM12/RM16 engine in the Gripen fighter. Responsibilities include the FADEC (Full Authority Digital Engine Control) which is the computer for the RM12 engine that was developed in Trollhättan during the late 1090’s. My project however involves updating a performance model for the industrial gas turbine DR990 which suits me well with an aeronautical engineer background as gas turbines are very similar to aircraft jet engines.
DR990 is an industrial gas turbine in a two-shaft configuration. It consists of two centrifugal compressors with two turbine stages on the first shaft and finally a power turbine on a separate shaft. It was initially planned for usage in U.S. Navy patrol boats in the 1970s but was later reconfigured to an industrial application. It is mainly used today for pumping of natural gas.
Last friday, November 20th, Saab 91 Safir took to the skies for the first time. This aircraft was developed by Saab and during 1946-1966, 323 deliveries were made. In Sweden it was used for basic flight training (SK50) and to a certain extent for transport purposes (TP91). The aircraft was also exported to, amongst others, Austria, Norway and Finland.
But where do GKN Aerospace enter the picture? Well, we’ve been manufacturing engines to Saab for almost a 100 years and in this case, “Trollet” (the troll) was supposed to be the engine of choice.
During WWII, Svenska Flygmotor AB in Trollhättan (which today is GKN Aerospace) had begun to develop a 4-cylinder, air-cooled flat engine which was given the name Trollet. It was assumed that the civil aerospace market would develop as rapidly as the military and the company wanted to position itself towards this new market. SFA F-541-A “Trollet” weighed 135 kg, had a displacement of 5.1 liters and developed 140 hp at 2500 rpm.
However, the civil market didn’t develop as anticipated and Trollet was never installed in the Safir as initially planned. A few years later, there was a need for air-cooled flat engines for installation in military vehicles whereupon Trollet was further developed and given the new designation B42. SFA received an order of 105 B42 engines from the Royal Army Administration, which was to be installed in the assault gun IKV103 (Infanterikanonvagn 103). These engines were delivered between 1956-1957.
This engine was further developed into the B44 which delivered 150 hp and in a format that allowed for easier maintenance. 230 engines were delivered for installation into the PBV301 IFV. The troll thus remained on the ground, which, however wasn’t a failure but rather a success considering the newly found application and amount of deliveries.
This is just a mere snippet from our 90-year old history as a company. Much of the development that was carried out during the post-war period led to business opportunities and relationships with companies that still stand strong today and to which we still deliver products. Something that we are very proud of!
It’s said that time flies when you’re having fun and these last weeks are no exception! All of us have now written a blog post about our initial impressions during the first time in the rotations. My first rotation and hence my home department is within solid mechanics that is responsible for performing calculations and analyses on both new and current products within the engine segment. In an aircraft engine, high loads and stresses occur as a result of (amongst other causes) high temperature differences, airflows and rotational velocities. These stresses must be verified such that materials and construction doesn’t fail and that flight safety is not compromised.
It’s a very interesting subject as the analysis becomes very detailed both in terms of design and physical effects that a component is subjected to. At the same time, a general understanding of the engine is required as all parts and systems are connected and therefore affects each other. With my background in aeronautics from university and flying in my spare time, I find it particularly exciting as GKN Aerospace is involved in several major engine programmes with Pratt & Whitney, Rolls Royce and General Electric (Read more here!)
We’re now heading into the fourth week of our first rotation. In mid-December we’ll conduct our second development week and until then we have some exciting activities planned outside of our daily work. More about that in future posts!
The time has come for the new group of young graduates to carry on with the blog. We are, just like previous year, five graduates from different cities and universities around Sweden that has joined GKN Aerospace in Trollhättan. In the picture above we visited a playground in the town center that is inspired by the industrial history of the town. There is, for instance, a nozzle for the Ariane 5 heavy-lift launcher that is rebuilt into a slide. The nozzle is one of the many products being developed and manufactured at GKN in Trollhättan. You can read more about it here.
The first week contained lots of new information regarding the graduate program and the company. We were assigned the departments for the first rotation which is also the department each person will return to at the end of the graduate program. Each graduate will describe their department more in detail in their own posts the coming weeks. Except for the administrative activities we also enjoyed an afternoon of disc golf together with the previous young graduates.
The second week was mostly spent in the workshops and we started out by getting an insight into the Industrial Engineering Program which is a unique high-school program where students combine theoretical subject with practical work in a manufacturing workshop. In order to understand the manufacturing processes at GKN, we got try manual lathing and milling which, for some of us, was a new experience. At the end of the week we were sent out to different parts of the site to gain understanding of how each product is processed throughout the production line.
We’re all very excited and happy to finally start this graduate program and the expectations are high for future rotations, tasks and the experiences we’ll gather the coming years.
If you’re curious to know more about us you can navigate here!