I am writing to you from Copenhagen Airport, on my way to the United States. I hope everything is well with you and that everyone is embracing this upcoming exciting journey towards One Aerospace. Well, at least I am very excited for what is to come and all the opporunities that lie ahead. I have been absent for quite a while from the blog which is NOT ok but I am writing to you now saying that I am moving abroad for my global assignment. My destination is Newington, Connecticut, known for its cold winters and … that is basically the only thing I have heard so far. Jokes aside, it is one of our major sites within GKN Aerospace which is also on its own exciting journey toward implementing Additve Manufacturing, which is super cool!
So about me. What am I going to do in the states for my abroad assignment. Well, for the past year I have grown a strong interest for Strategy, Technology, Industrial Structuring etc. or as an overencompassnig word, Business Development. I will be working on different key projects that revolve around evaluating, improving and structuring better value stream solutions to ensure that our offer to the customer is the best one possible. In correlation to this, I will support our Aftermarket division to strengthen our global footprint within that area.
To end this post, I would just like to say that this past year has gone by so quickly and I am grateful for all the input and help I have gotten at GKN Aerospace. The culture that we have within this company is hard to find anywhere else and I am really happy to be part of such a great company. Once again, thank you everyone for making this past year the best one yet. Have a great day and hope to see you on the other side of the atlantic some time in the near future.
An eventful visit to SAAB Technologies & GKN Automotive
Been away for a while but now I am back in the blog-game again. To start off, who doesn’t enjoy spring & May? I just love to surround myself with birdsongs and warmer degrees outside… Somehow it just puts a smile on everyone’s face.
Nonetheless, back to what we trainees have been up to the past week. To start off spring in the best kind of way, we set course toward Linköping to visit SAAB Technologies and their trainees. During this visit, we had discussed the possibility of having the Volvo trainees, whom visited us in January to join us on this trip and they gladly did! There we had the opportunity to get a thorough presentation of how SAABs market looks like, the strategy they use to seize the opportunities they encounter, how they work with material properties in regards to stress but most importantly we got to see the production line. The production line encompassed no less than the Gripen C/D & E/F fighter jet. It feels like I always retreat back to “I am a finance guy so I don’t know what this means…” but this time I actually knew what C/D & E/F stood for and perhaps a lot of you already do though. C/E is basically a single-pilot configuration on the fighter jet and D/F stands for dual-pilot, so now you know! Other than that, being an OEM as they are brings along a lot of perks and I have to say that their facility in Linköping was astonishing! If you have the possibility to go there and visit, you definitely should!
To make the most of our trip, we decided to use the next day to visit our dear GKN-colleagues from GKN Automotive in Köping to get a closer look on how we are differentiated from each other but also what aligns us. This visit was a bit shorter than the one at SAAB but it felt the schedule included more things to see in the different value streams. Once again, we all were amazed over how “good-looking” the manufacturing areas were. Well done GKN!
GKN Automotive 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. But this is mostly done in other sites, one being in England. 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. This product is produced in Köping. The PTU (the rear power transfer unit) and FDU (final drive unit) is what makes up the all-wheel drive. The parts needed for the all-wheel drive system that are not machined or manufactured at GKN Automotive Köping will be purchased before assembly. In Köping, aluminum housings, pinions, crown wheels and shafts are machined. What makes the site in Köping unique is their expertise within the area of the hypoid gears, where they are helically shaped and can transfer power at almost any angle (very useful in torque-demanding applications).
Moreover, we would like to thank both SAAB Technologies and GKN Automotive for two really exciting days, it gave us a lot of interesting inputs.
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.
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.
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.
Thank you for this time, and I wish you all the best but more specifically a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!!
Well hello there! I know you have been waiting a while for me to post an entry, so here I am back at it again!
As my fellow trainees have stated in the previous entries, there is a lot happening at GKN right now, especially for us trainees. We have had the privilege to participate in different events and fairs in Trollhättan in order to strengthen the interest from youths across different high schools. Last weekend in corporation with Innovatum and other companies, we participated in First Lego League. At this event we are assigned as referees. This assignment involved being referees for different areas of focus encompassing technical, marketing, project and as field referees. As it being our first time as trainees, we were not well-suited as field referees due to the fact that there is some experience needed. I speak for all of us when I say that there is a great amount of talent out there in Trollhättan and we have had the privilege to experience it first-hand.
As Nina and I were stationed as technical referees along with Emelie and another person from an external company. Our mission was to evaluate the technical aspects of the robot that the students had made as well as how they choose to program the robot but also how they set up the strategy during the field mission. Filip and Amanda participated in evaluating the projects that the students had, involving the Into Orbit-theme. The purpose was to present viable solutions for how humans could survive in space, and travel through it. Among all the students whom presented for us, all of them surprised us in ways I did not was possible from individuals in high school. One of the things I enjoy vastly is to encourage young minds to pursue and develop ideas that they have but also to watch how they did it. Below you can see the winning team in almost all categories, they did a brilliant job and hopefully we will be able to work with them in the future.
Additionally, we took part in an event at Lyrfågelskolan, a high school in close range to GKN. Here we presented the possibilities of working at GKN and how an everyday life is of an individual working with highly complex products. The engagement from the crowd was great and we felt that we sent out the message that we wanted, or even exceeded. Likewise here, in correlation to the event at First Lego League, we were overwhelmed with the high intellectual inputs the high school students had. We believe that there is great competence out there and we have the best way to take care of them through our internal high school, ITU (Industriteknisk Gymnasie).
Now back to GKN, we basically only have three weeks left of our first rotation. Time has passed by incredibly fast this upcoming weeks are devoted to finishing up the projects we are currently working on as well as preparing for the next rotation period. This period surrounds a joint-project among all of us trainees toward Quality, which is going to be very exciting.
This was all from me this time, hope I will see you around!
My name is Wictor Dörrich and my educational background differs from the rest of the trainees, with a focus toward finance and business administration instead of engineering. If you haven’t read our personal presentations, feel free to explore a bit more about us HERE.
Starting with me, I have had a great interest for GKN Aerospace for a long time and when the opportunity appeared to pursue a trainee-program, I did not hesitate. It fills me with great joy that I am among four graduates within finance that have entered the trainee program at GKN since its beginning (1986) and I am looking forward to all the challenges and opportunities that will appear. If I haven’t mentioned it before, within this short period of time that I have been at GKN I have met a vast amount of wonderful people, especially the individuals in the trainee group that I have had the privilege to get to know on a deeper level. Additionally, the people in the different workshops and offices have given me great insight and advice, which I am grateful for now. I understand now why people love this place and stay here for a very long time.
“Time flies when you are having fun”. With this quote I can certainly define the first four and a half weeks. It is already October 3rd and Christmas is in sight. My fellow trainee colleagues do not appreciate the extravagant Christmas spirit as much as I do but maybe I should be realistic and understand that it is approximately 3 months left…but still. Anyways, all of us have now started the first 10-week rotation at our home department, mine being Finance. My mission is to contribute and learn as much as I can during this time. The project that has been allocated onto me from my manager Alexander Andersson is to develop an aftermarket calculation model for one of our risk and revenue programs. For me, this is as exciting as it gets but I just hope that time will be in my favor! For the rest of the trainees they have been positioned in different key areas in regards to their expertise.
Nina Nordberg has her home department within Lean & Logistics and her mentor and manager being Maria Persson. She will be working on 5S and working methods for overlooking systems, structure and visualization. Furthermore, she will be working with Solve, an optimization model for production planning.
Amanda Dalstam has her home department within Space in workshop X with her mentor and manager being Marcus Andersson. Her project will encompass manufacturing engineering with the SWAN team (nozzle). Her main assignment is to produce a risk analysis that will serve as a basis for continuous improvement in manufacturing.
Filip Jensen has his home department within Rotors, supervised by Rikard Nedar. Due to his expertise within Space Engineering and Instrumentation, he will be working closely on the Space RU & Prometheus project.
Emelie Rönnbäck has her home department toward Engine Development at the Defence & Military division. She will be working closely with her manager Christian Lundh on a project to further develop the RM-12 engine.
As you can see, we have an exciting time ahead of us with much to learn. The upcoming 10 weeks will be spent working on these aforementioned projects as well as different side projects in correlation with the trainee-program. Furthermore, we will go more in-depth in the upcoming posts about how it is going for us and what we do more specifically when we are a bit more “varma i kläderna” as we say in Swedish. In other words, a bit more familiar with the job itself. We are still frantically waiting for our collective Trainee Project that will be ongoing throughout the next 9 months here in Trollhättan. Moreover, we will mention further about it when we know what it will be more explicitly.
That was all for me this time, hope you enjoyed reading about us and how our current situation looks like. Looking forward to sharing many more interesting and captivating endeavors here at GKN.