During my first month as a communications trainee in the world of mining, aggregates, oil & gas, and other process industries, I was already working on a few valve- and flow-control-related texts. Even though strategic changes have shaped Metso into a more focused company, there has certainly been a lot to learn when it comes to all the customer industries and markets. In fact, this was one of my reasons for applying to Metso: in addition to growing as a communicator in a global company, you have the opportunity to acquire knowledge of industrial business. My learning by experience continued during a small field trip in May. Our excited bunch of newbies left Fabianinkatu’s office and headed off to hear about the complicated, yet interesting, science of valves.
Getting to know the factory
Since the majority of communications work at Metso involves working closely with the different businesses, seeing the factory was a big plus. After putting on the mandatory safety glasses and neon vests, we were directed through the machinery, incoming goods, assembly, heat treatment and finally cryo testing, where the valves are tested for performance in extremely cold temperatures. Although my first impression was that all the components were lying randomly around the space, the pieces and processes turned out to have their exact place – it’s no wonder, as our guide explained to us that the 5Ss and LEAN principles were applied in the factory.
To put it simply, for those who are not experts in valves, a valve consists of three basic components: the valve itself, an actuator that controls the operation of most of the valves and intelligent valve controllers that gather and interpret the operational data. Since valves are used to control the flow of liquids or gases in various industrial processes, they can vary a lot in size. Apparently, the biggest ones on the heavy side can be as much as 2 meters in diameter.
Just another day at the office
After the tour, we participated in workshops and competitions to test important work-related skills, such as recognizing Metso’s products and safety issues, elevator pitching – and making a human pyramid as a spontaneous final activity (our team won!). And let’s not forget the afternoon coffee break, i.e. eating pizza and watching ice hockey. Our long, but fun, day ended in Hakkila’s sauna facilities with some more mingling. It has been great to return to my desk one experience and new workmates richer. Still, the best part of all is knowing that there will be many other exciting things to come!