The electrical engineer’s time is now
I never liked history in school. Mathematics, science, and sports were more my thing.
Nevertheless, it was the Swedish industrial history that fascinated me most during the trainee program. As trainees, we have gained good insight into how ABB’s, formerly ASEA’s, development has gone hand-in-hand with the community’s development and the Swedish industry. Let me share some of what we have seen during the trainee program.
Initially lightning solutions were delivered to Västerås, but now there are various electrification products, control systems, and electric machinery in production and development there today. As a result of diversification and merger, ASEA got involved in the generation and distribution of electricity to the mines in Bergslagen. This involvement has led to the world-class center for power systems and power products in Ludvika. These are the two cities where we trainees live and work.
Visiting Boliden’s and LKAB’s mines in Norrland
As trainees, we have had the opportunity to visit several of ABB’s major Swedish customers and development partners. We started by visiting Boliden’s and LKAB’s mines in Norrland, where ABB have provided electric mining equipment, control systems, and electric motors for many years. We also visited Vattenfall’s 100-year-old hydropower plant in Porjus, which was built to electrify the ore railway between Luleå and Narvik. There, ABB generators generate and connect AC power to the network via a substation designed by ABB.
The car industry revolution
Heat and electrical power is also produced in Gothenburg where we visited Rya Kraftvärmeverk. With the help of ABB robots, electrical energy is converted into mechanical motion in the production line at two historic Gothenburg giants, SKF and Volvo Cars. Their products are, and have always been, mechanical wonders, but it was clear that times are changing as software becomes increasingly important. Software is used to monitor, optimize, and control ball bearings and cars. Today, this already accounts for a large part of the respective products value. The car industry is simultaneously undergoing another fundamental revolution, where hydrocarbon-based fuels and combustion engines are replaced or supplemented by electrical counterparts. The increased digitalization and electrification testify that the electrical engineer’s time is now.
We at ABB and, not least, we trainees are ready to build on this amazing industrial history, together.