Meet past trainees

Trainee Blog 2022-2023

Eighth Rotation

Trainee Andre Image
With the months rushing by, we are now a full year richer in experiences and ready to take on our respective permanent positions following the trainee programme. With that said, it is time for one final update before we welcome our four new trainees to NKT and this blog. As mentioned during the last post, Petter has already completed his final rotation and is now officially enrolled as an Installation Design Engineer. As for André and Claes, their final steps on this journey are found below.
The Trainee year heads towards its end. I am sitting here – looking back reflectively. Time flies when you have fun. The Trainee year has invited me to see everything from how the material flows into the factory to how our machine owners, the production lines, and technicians invariably work to meet new demands that arise from a production technology perspective. I have also gained an insight into how our Engineering department constantly innovates and develops the future of our cable systems to meet new customer demands given by our Commercial- and Tender department. Likewise, I have seen how the Project Execution department manages large-scale projects and how NKT's quality focus permeates everything we do. It has been a tremendous journey to have had the opportunity to see all of the functions and departments - how each part becomes a crucial brick to create a world-leading product.
During this final rotation, I had the opportunity to visit the Borwin 5 project in Germany for three weeks. My main focus during this rotation was on the quality of the land installation part. To further experience cable pulling, drilling, and jointing, I followed the daily work of the Site managers. My greatest takeaway was the timing of each procedure and how these procedures synchronized. It has been a tremendous experience, and I can only reiterate the fostering environment that NKT possesses. I am feeling humbled by the new impressions and experiences gained during the year. Likewise, I feel grateful to have been a part of NKT's Trainee Program - it has been an honour. I will now enter my new role as a Project Quality Manager. A dynamic role in which I think I will thrive and grow.
Trainee Claes Image
With 11 months at NKT covered, I spent my final time as a trainee abroad. Firstly, I enjoyed two weeks at the R&D department in Cologne. Not only did I get acquainted with the plethora of research areas that my colleagues here tackle, but I also enjoyed round tours of the impressive production site next to the Rhine River and the Service & Installation centre in Troisdorf. Even though the visit was brief, I had the opportunity to partake in two different projects. My recently acquired connector experience became handy during an investigation on improving the terminal current distribution during resistance measurements. Furthermore, I had the exciting task of creating a MatLab model to optimise the thermal insulation design for a super-conducting cable system currently being developed by NKT.
Leading up to my last two weeks, I took the train to NKT’s Rotterdam office. Once again, I was amazed by how unique and vast the arsenal of knowledge is in each department. In this case, I met experts within offshore installation and got involved in a project that allowed me to explore basic hydro and wave dynamics. More specifically, I looked into the stability of the protective concrete mattresses used in, for instance, the Champlain project. The project encompasses an HVDC link which will provide hydropower to the homes of over 1 million New Yorkers.
At the time of writing, I am back at the Karlskrona office – full of unforgettable memories and eager to start my permanent position as an analysis engineer specialising in thermoelectric simulations. I look back at a record-breaking year in several ways: Never before have I learned so much or met so many people in such a short period. Just as I hoped for when entering this programme, I have gotten to know the entire supply chain of NKT, from drawing board to operation. I can’t wait to employ this year-long, challenging and fun experience to its fullest extent.

Seventh rotation

Heating up heat shrink tube for final installation of joint
Petter: It was now time for one of the highlights of the trainee program – the abroad rotations! My first destination was Greece and the Attica-Crete project, a 500 kV HVDC MI cable connecting the island of Crete with Attica on the mainland. During my visit I had the opportunity to follow the jointers for a few days when they joined together two of the cable lengths. Since the cable industry in general is shifting towards XLPE cables (cables with polymeric insulation), the Attica-Crete project is currently our only MI cable project. The insulation of an MI cable consists of hundreds of layers of oil-impregnated paper. When jointing this type of cable, each layer of paper has to be carefully removed to expose the conductors and then reapplied after the conductors have been welded together. After the insulation layer has been reapplied the cable is protected from the surrounding elements by several layers of alternating metallic and polymeric materials. Although the production of the cables is mostly automated nowadays, the jointing process is still highly dependent on manual work and requires a great deal of craftsmanship to be done right. I am very glad that I had the chance to experience this process firsthand.
Apart from fieldwork I also spent some time in the site office, following the site managers in their day-to-day tasks to get a better understanding of everything surrounding the installation. There is so much going on at an installation site that needs to be experienced to be fully understood, and I am sure that this visit will be of great value to me in my future role at NKT.
After three weeks in Mediterranean climate it was time for me to catch the next flight: This time the destination was Rotterdam, a city with a rich maritime history. In other words: A perfect place for NKT's offshore engineering center. This department was founded a few years ago as a step towards having more of our assets in-house and being less dependent on subcontractors. This department is involved in all of our offshore work - everything from mapping the seafloor along the cable route to inventing new tools for cable installation. During my stay I was appointed several tasks that supported the department as well as gave me insight into the work they are doing. Among other things, I worked with ArcGIS, a geographic information system that I used for collecting and visualizing data of the seafloor geology. My work will be used to help determining how the burial of the cable in the seafloor will be performed in future projects.
In short these weeks were some of the most interesting and experience-dense so far in my career. I met so many amazing people which I hopefully will have the pleasure to work with again in the future. Now it is time for me to head back to Karlskrona for one last rotation at the installation department.
Claes: My second half of the Västerås rotation at Technology Consulting (TC) continued keeping me on my problem-solving toes. After going to the bottom of the physics behind cable connectors, the contact resistance model showed promising results, which TC will build upon further. Mapping NKT’s connector-related challenges has also opened up new opportunities. After a visit to the Accessories site in Alingsås and meetings with previously and newly acquainted colleagues, my work resulted in two proposals for future projects to strengthen TC’s connector technology support. It has been amazing getting to know everyone at the Västerås office, and I am eager to put everything I have learnt here to use once my time as a trainee has finished. But before that, the international rotation awaits.
Andre: These past weeks have gone rapidly. Instead of joining my colleague Petter for rotation abroad, I where onboarded at the Quality Department with focus at the Ijmuiden Ver project. My task was to initiate, construct and manage the start-up of the verification and validation procedure of customer requirements within the scope of the project. This work was conducted jointly with my Team Leader, reinforcing the fostering environment of the trainee program. As this becomes my last rotation before entering my fixed position, my next period will be abroad, where I will follow the work of my upcoming position from a site perspective.

Sixth Rotation

Images of Trainee Blog
Apart from gaining vast insight into the business of NKT, we also occasionally broaden our perspective through networking events with other trainees within the Swedish energy sector. During Spring, we have joined in on activities at several companies, expanding our professional network and discovering which opportunities this comes with. In May, it was our time to invite fellow trainee programs to our world here at Verkö, Karlskrona. With the generous help of our colleagues, we arranged several presentations and a tour of the site. Interesting discussions abounded, giving us a glimpse of how external engineers reflect on the cable industry. The event also provided a well-needed repetition of what we have learned since August. With that said – what did we learn during our latest rotation?
Petter got to delve into the works of the Commercial & Tender department and continued the price comparison task which André initiated. Furthermore, André spent his past weeks in the Project Execution office, focusing mainly on the Shetland an IJmuiden Ver projects. More on their trainee journey will be shared in the next blog post.
For now, let’s instead look at what Claes has been up to: Although the Karlskrona site offers an incredible function range, NKT houses many other facilities globally. Grasping their collaborative interfaces and differences in responsibilities, expertise and way of working is crucial for my understanding of NKT. Since April, I have thus had the chance to work at Technology Consulting (TC), Västerås. This rotation is twice the typical length, so I have six additional weeks left at the site.
As the name suggests, TC supports other departments within NKT through technical expertise. The expertise encompasses highly specialised knowledge, focusing on supplementing different R&D projects. The department operates within the fields of chemistry, mechanics and electric testing. Each group has deep insight into areas such as lifetime estimation, corrosive reactions, seismic design and high-voltage certification tests. In brief: If a particularly complex obstacle requires a specific type of test, modelling or theoretical know-how, chances are TC offers that competence. They are, in fact, not only a helpful asset for NKT, but a part of their business strategy is to consult external companies as well.
To get the most out of my visit, I have been working on a project where my lessons learned as a trainee pay off. I am mapping challenges and knowledge needs within cable joint contact technology. The purpose is to see where TC can support NKT in investigating how to mitigate risks such as overheating or breakdown of cable joints. To obtain the broader picture, I need to reach out to various instances of NKT, utilising and developing my established network further. A close collaborator is our site in Alingsås, which provides the joint components and accessories. In parallel, I am developing a simulation tool to estimate the contact resistance of cable connectors in different circumstances. Modelling this simulation allows me to explore what happens when electric power, chemistry, solid mechanics and thermodynamics interact. In other words: Investigating the ins and outs of contact resistance has thus far been a challenging and intriguing way of revisiting my earlier gained arsenal of skills and experience here at NKT.

Fifth Rotation

Images of Trainees
Andre: During this rotation, I had the opportunity to be a part of the Commercial & Tender department (C&T). I arrived just when IJmuiden Ver – NKT’s largest combination of orders so far – was called home. Witnessing the pride and joy of this accomplishment live was great, especially considering how much time and effort is behind the contract. The tender procedure is a dynamic process that requires a team with members from several departments, including Engineering, Planning, and C&T. To manage such an environment, cross-functionality, communication, and flexibility are crucial parameters to maintain throughout the whole tender phase.
For six weeks I had the chance to follow one tender. In parallel, I worked on a task where I did a price comparison between different materials. Partaking in this task invited me to collaborate with members within both C&T and the Engineering department, further illustrating the procedure behind a tender.
Due to a lack of time and a small data sampling in the initial task. I increased the sampling, developed the case, and reworked it based on the first findings to hand it over to my trainee colleague who will continue with it during his rotation at C&T.
Images of Trainees
Claes: After four rotations of deep-diving into specific functions of NKT, it was now time for me to zoom out to see the bigger picture at the Project Execution department. Here, the project managers operate to ensure that the tasks of their projects as a whole are performed according to plan. Given the size and uniqueness of the contracts that NKT fulfills, an agile mindset is crucial to tackling the unforeseen challenges that arise along the way. It was therefore interesting to see the decision-making behind all of this take place first-hand.
One project I had the pleasure of following was Dogger Bank – a massive offshore wind farm on the British east coast with a capacity of 3.6GW when finalized. In fact, it’s split into three separate phases, all of which require NKT’s HV cables. Thanks to this, I had the opportunity to follow the project at several different levels of completion. Plenty of discussions focused on the installation, which opened up an entirely new perspective for me, but I also delved back into the production side of things. The cable world grows bigger every week and my visit to Project Execution proved perfect to piece my experiences so far together.
Images of Trainees
Petter: These past six weeks I have been in the Engineering department where I have explored the technical aspects of cable manufacturing and the physics behind them. My primary focus has been on tender engineering. In the tender phase of a project, there is often a need for proposing several different design versions of a cable system. Each version needs to be iterated many times to make sure that all the properties of the cable fulfill the customers' demands for the system, while simultaneously taking into consideration the installation site conditions, production capacity, and several other parameters.
I had the opportunity to test some of the different tools and software by designing a cable for a hypothetical project. The task gave me a deeper understanding of how the different properties of the cable interact with each other and many of the things I learned during my previous rotations in the production department suddenly made a lot more sense when I learned about the underlying physics. The level of complexity and detail that goes into designing these cable systems are immense and every day I feel lucky to be a part of this fascinating world of high-voltage cables.

Fourth Rotation

Images of Trainee Program
Time flies when you’re having fun, we are already halfway through our trainee period!
During this rotation we participated in a two-day presentation course where we had the opportunity to enhance our presentation skills as a part of the Trainee program educational framework. Effectual communication and presenting skills are vital parts of all organizations - you can never practice these topics too much!
Petter: I have just finished my rotation in the Project Execution department where I followed the project managers, primarily for the Shetland HVDC link, in their day-to-day activities. At the moment they are preparing for an offshore installation campaign with our cable-laying vessel NKT Victoria. The Shetland link is expected to be finished and taken into operation in 2024 and will then provide Shetland with a stable connection to the Scottish power grid as well as enable renewable energy, primarily from offshore wind, to be transferred to the mainland and contribute to the green transition in the United Kingdom.
Production and installation are carried out simultaneously throughout most parts of the project, including all of the logistics, documentation and planning that follow. It is the responsibility of the Project Manager to make sure that everything is carried out correctly and according to schedule. Experiencing the projects from a project manager's perspective gave me a wider understanding of the complexity present in NKT’s operations. The awareness and respect for the multitude of aspects that goes into everything NKT does is something I will carry with me throughout my entire career.
Images of Trainee Program
Claes: I had the opportunity to be a part of the Technology Simulations department during this rotation. Since NKT pursuits increasingly complex cable projects, standardised analytical calculations for simplified cases often become insufficient in isolation. This is where the analysis engineers at Simulations step in. They provide in-depth modelling and data analysis to expand the understanding of everything from the dynamics during installation to how electrical, thermal and mechanical phenomena intertwine within specific cable systems. Their supporting function within NKT also improved my understanding of the Research & Development, Installation and Project Engineering departments.
Technology Simulations is a personalised part of my trainee program due to my skillset within FEM analysis. The rotation provided me the chance to apply and improve my competences through three different tasks. Firstly, my knowledge in COMSOL Multiphysics came to use when investigating if an off-shore cable crossing risks overheating. Secondly, I utilised MATLAB to analyse the results of a mechanical test, finding the torsional properties of a cable. Finally, I optimized the curve fitting between the measured and modelled results of a joint test. Contributing to these projects enabled me to re-establish the knowledge I have gained at NKT so far and actively put it into new, useful contexts.
Images of Trainee Program
André: These past six weeks at the Engineering department have been extraordinary in many aspects. I have had the opportunity to see how the actual cable design is created, validated, and later summarized to meet the client's requirements - I did even create a few cable systems on my own. It gave me even more knowledge about the cable regarding its mechanical and electrical properties. My mentor in this rotation has a Ph.D. in electrical power, which further strengthens the point that NKT possesses strong and diverse knowledge within its business segment.
My educational background lies in Industrial Engineering and Management which conceptualizes the value chain of activities from raw material to finished product and its system function. Therefore these weeks were very useful and gave me a deeper insight into the structure and the more “hardcore engineering” aspects of the cable design. It has been extremely beneficial to encounter this process when considering the whole value chain, connecting back to Production Technology, Production Operation, and Testing.
In my point of view, it shows the strength of the Trainee program considering the whole flow of activities and how they connect to create a world-leading product in the segment of high-voltage cable solutions.

Third rotation

Images of Trainee program
Petter: During this rotation I have been at the Production Technology department, which supports the production by making sure all the machines and equipment work as they should, as well as making continuous improvements of the operation. The tasks varied a lot and I have been involved in everything from root cause analysis of problems that occurred, to changing gearboxes on turntables.
During this rotation I have also had the opportunity to manage my own project. It concerned energy savings related to the ventilation system of two heat treatment facilities. I got to use knowledge from my education as well as gather new information by reaching out to colleagues in the network I have built during previous rotations. It was a great way to gain an understanding of how it is to work with a project in a corporate environment. The presented solution was well received and I will continue the work by managing the implementation of the solution in the weeks to come.
Images of Trainee program
Andre: I have just rotated from the Laboratories to the Engineering department, looking back at rotation three. During the past six weeks, I have spent one to two days per week at the Laboratory department. In parallel, I have continued my work as a Quality resource in the Quality department. The tasks have mostly been connected to quality deviations. I also received an interesting assignment to construct a planning tool. Capacity planning over time is challenging, specifically in a dynamic environment - hopefully my draft will support that work.
In the Laboratories I gained a broad view of its different sub-departments and functions. Among others, I saw the procedure of mechanical, water, and routine testing. I also got an insight into the material lab and how they evaluate and develop new combinations of material into our products. Developments of new material combinations are an important part in our work to decrease the environmental footprint of our products.
The testing facilities at NKT are unique from many perspectives. Considering my background in Industrial Engineering and Management this rotation was really useful due to all the new impressions. Testing is an important part of cable manufacturing to create certainty regarding customer demands and to be able to assure the quality of our products in different aspects.
Images of Trainee program
Claes: After viewing the production lines through a technological lens, my next six weeks. focused on the operational perspective of cable manufacturing. Guided by the line managers and operators, I followed our entire production flow from the conductor strands all the way to the armouring and loading of the cable. It has been interesting learning about the overwhelmingly many intricacies that go into handling the lines and whenever possible I got to join the operators in their tasks.
 In our production planning, shift leader and sub-project management offices I gained an additional overview of the manufacturing processes. One week I had the opportunity to try out the role as a production project manager. This offered a worthwhile way of challenging and expanding my understanding of the manufacturing network.
 The rotation also included visits to our logistics and procurement divisions. No cable batch is like the other, and the same goes for the daily stream of purchases and deliveries that need to be handled to ensure that the manufacturing facilities never sleep. I received plenty of insight into the different roles that this requires, but also the continuous improvements that accommodate our growing capacity, complexity and quality demand.

Second rotation

Images of workers
Petter: For the past six weeks I have been in the laboratories where the different properties of the cable are tested, such as electrical, thermal and mechanical. Among other things I have participated in an impulse test where you simulate a lightning strike to one of the terminations to see how it affect the cable.
The highlight of my rotation was a visit to the Dogger Bank installation site in England (read more about the project Here). I went to participate in the site acceptance test of the installed cable, a test that is performed to make sure that the cable and all the accessories are ready for use. It was really fascinating to see the scale and complexity at the site and how important it is that all the equipment, administration and logistics works well for the installation to be performed as planned. The work on site is so different from that in the factory and it was a great experience that gave me a good insight into that part of the company.
The site visit was not a pre-planned part of my rotation but a spontaneous decision when the opportunity occurred and it really shows the flexibility of the trainee program and how much you can adapt it according to your own interests.
Claes: During this rotation, I saw how the department of Production Technology develops the enormous collection of machines and infrastructure within the cable factory. Being uniquely designed for each project, all cables require customization of the manufacturing facilities. It has been eye-opening to witness the problem-solving necessary for this to run smoothly and I have enjoyed meeting the responsible employees. I for instance learned about the work behind a safe and reliable communication between production lines, the challenging task of capacity expansion in already established production halls and the troubleshooting related to the versatile complications associated with manufacturing a custom designed cable for the first time.
Apart from following the work of others, I had the opportunity of conducting a minor project. It consisted of experimentally and numerically evaluating the strength of 3D-printed materials reinforced in different ways with carbon fiber. My inexperience in solid mechanics and 3D-printing was compensated by the generous help of my colleagues and it was great seeing my contact network at NKT already coming to use. The project results make it easier to print spare parts for the production line, ultimately saving delivery time if a component needs to be swapped. Knowing how my work contributes to the department makes me motivated to continue acquiring knowledge useful for future projects.
André: Time flies when you are busy and having fun – during my second rotation I have been at Production Operation. I saw the production lines and how these synchronized with each other, depending on cable type and design.
My rotation was twisted more toward quality and the corridor projects from a “Production Operation” perspective. These projects involves the world´s longest HVDC underground power link and the world´s first commercial 525 kV XLPE high voltage DC 2 GW transmission line. As a Trainee, it has been a tremendous experience to see and follow the initial process of these pioneering projects, specifically SuedLink which was my major focus during this rotation.
In parallel with my rotation at the different production lines, my work as a quality resource with fixed tasks to solve gave me even further insight into challenges and opportunities. During these six weeks, I have had the pleasure to meet and talk to a lot of operators and their production leaders. Cables can appear to an uninitiated person as a simple product, but the complexity behind the processes and its value flow to manufacture it possess a high complexity level. As my second rotation now comes to an end and my third rotation starts at the Testing department it shall be interesting to see how the testing- and material validation appear.

First rotation

employees working safely with helmet outdoor
We have just finished our first rotation during which we have gained insight into different aspects of the production and testing of high voltage cables. Apart from our individual experiences we also participated in some joint activities. We have for instance learned about the crucial role quality plays in everything NKT does and attended courses about cable technology and project management. A couple of weeks ago we also had the opportunity to visit NKT Victoria, our own state of the art cable laying vessel. So far almost every day has been unique, filled with new information, impressions and meetings with many of our new colleagues. Now, let’s dive into what each of us has done during these first weeks.
Claes: My journey started with six experience dense weeks at Laboratories, where all NKT cables are tested for extreme conditions in our test facilities. Throughout my rotation I have gotten an overview of the entire testing process, from the assembly of the test setup to the development of new, innovative procedures. Here, an impulse at hundreds of kilovolts is run through one cable segment, while in the neighbouring test hall the temperature cycling of another cable occurs in order to simulate its entire lifespan in a matter of months. I have observed electric power theory being put to practice, as well as learned about how the cables are stretched and bent in the mechanical test halls to push their structural limits. NKT also houses a lab for mechanical and chemical analysis of individual cable layers, which I enjoyed visiting. Finally, I had the fortune of exploring NKT beyond Karlskrona during a site test of the Fenno-Skan cable, which was combined with a stop at our research facility in Västerås
Petter : These past weeks I have been in the production operation department where I have looked into the different steps of the production, from procurement of materials to loading of the finished cable. The majority of the rotation I have spent with the production managers, where I have followed the manager for each production line for one day. Usually I received an introduction of the line, followed by a walkthrough of the machines in the factory. Thereafter I joined the machine operators for a couple of hours to see how they work and learn from their knowledge of the production.
I have also been on short visits to other parts of the department such as logistics, operational procurement, production planning and sub-project management, where I have recieved an introduction to how they work and sometimes helped them with their tasks. With each visit, a picture of the company as a whole slowly begins to take shape, how all the departments interact and work together to ensure that the cables are produced on time and according to the customer’s requirements.
Andre: During my first rotation I had the pleasure to follow the department of Production Technology, the department has a broad scope of different functions, and each sub-department has a crucial role within their specific area to support the production in different ways. During the first weeks, I received a full review of these different functions. I also had the opportunity to conduct two-day sessions where I deep-dived into certain functions of my own choice based on my interests. I found maintenance, automation, and quality very interesting to gain further knowledge about.
In parallel with the different department introductions, I was introduced to a pre-study. I received a smaller project limited to this pre-study. The project was a great match based on my previous experiences and educational background. It was three intense weeks but very instructive weeks. I gained a broad scope of touch points and collaborated with various departments e.g., Logistics, Planning, Production Technology, and Procurement to solve the task. I conducted different brainstorming sessions jointly with several departments and sub-departments. As a result of these sessions I constructed a smaller simulation over the investigated area to round up my part of the pre-study. It was a great experience, in some sense abstract but still very hands-on. Looking forward to next rotation!

Introduction of the new trainees

Image of trainees Petter, Claes and Andre
So, who are these new trainees? You will get to know them better during the following year, but here is a brief introduction.
My name is Claes and I grew up in the town of Skövde, situated between the two great lakes Vänern and Vättern. Early on I fostered a keen interest in energy production and sustainability questions. This led me to Stockholm and the civil engineering program of Energy and Environmental Technology at KTH, where I specialized in Electric Power Engineering. The way the people at NKT use advanced problem solving with focus on high quality and sustainability to improve power grid integration resonates with me greatly. This in combination with their grasp of everything from research and testing to production and installation of cables made the trainee program the perfect place to start my career, and I hope to learn as much as possible about the entire supply chain.
My Name is André, I grew up on a small farm outside Växjö in the region of Småland. My interest in sustainability, logistics and value chain flows influenced my path of education and I landed within Industrial Engineering and Management. I continued with a master degree in Quality- and Operation Management at Chalmers Technical University and was influenced by the importance of the quality aspect of services and products to meet customers’ requirements in a dynamic- and sustainable way. Therefore, NKT was as natural choice of employer due to the location of the site and their role to meet the high need of green transformation in fast paced changing world towards sustainable infrastructure technology.
My name is Petter and I grew up on the countryside just outside Lysekil, a small city on the beautiful Swedish west coast. My choice of career was heavily influenced by my passion for nature and outdoor life, I want to help preserve this amazing world we all share. That, in combination with a great interest in technology and science, made me study to become a civil engineer in energy and environmental technology at Karlstad university, from which I recently graduated. NKT caught my attention as a company with the potential to make a significant contribution towards a sustainable future by providing solutions for transferring renewable energy, one of the major challenges in creating a sustainable society. Combined with the strive to always advance the technology it was an obvious choice for me to apply to the trainee program.

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