When Kanthal’s researchers began to work mostly from home two years ago, the launch of “Learning Fridays” created a space to spend time with and learn from colleagues. The concept was launched with the purpose to educate and inspire to collaboration and innovative thinking. Senior R&D Engineer Rickard Shen has enjoyed the Learning Fridays from the start.
“I digitally meet colleagues who have spent decades at Kanthal and for me, who joined the company in 2017, learning about their work has been educational and inspiring,” Rickard says. For example, the session with in-house legend Roger Berglund who was part of the team that developed the all-time best-selling alloy Kanthal® APM in the 1980’s.
“We work at so many levels in Kanthal,” says Rickard, a material scientist who did doctoral research in solid mechanics at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. “We design micro-level changes to new materials. Then there’s the mid-level size scale throughout production. Finally, there’s the macro level, where materials go into the actual products that meet the needs of our customers.”
The “learning Fridays” has offered the employees to freely decide if to engage in broadening or deepening their knowledge. As the research and development team dedicate part of their time to sales support – answering often detailed and complex questions passed on from customers – the value of a wider A-to-Z perspective cannot be understated. At the moment, Rickard is researching welding methods to bring the new alloy range Kanthal EF to the market.
“There are so many potential applications with this new alloy,” he says. “Exploring the possibilities of Kanthal EF is exactly the kind of work I love. When you make changes to the composition of a material, really small tweaks can make a really big difference.”
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