Maja Andersson, a final-year student at Scania’s technical upper secondary school, is rightly proud of the enhanced maintenance methods that she has helped develop. Her work has already been recognised and she has been invited to present her work at a national forum for young scientists.
The school, Mälardalens Tekniska Gymnasium, offers a curriculum that combines theoretical education with hands-on internships during the three-year programme. At her final internship with Scania Industrial Maintenance, she examined the benefits of continuously monitoring vibrations to detect wear on test rigs, focusing in particular on the huge fans at Scania’s chassis dynamometers, rolling roads. While trucks are running, they are subjected to resistance from oncoming winds to determine aerodynamic characteristics.
“Normally, our technicians use measurement instruments to assess wear on, for example, bearings,” explains Maja. “The problem is that bearings can deteriorate in a pattern whereby a measurement at a particular moment will show that they are fully functional, while they actually need to be replaced.”
The problem, in general, according to her, is that the monitoring programme has been limited to recording vibrations per millimetre/second, while other parameters that can reveal wear have been overlooked. “With the new instruments, we can continuously monitor several relevant parameters and thereby earlier discover deviations. By triggering alerts, these deviations can immediately be addressed.”
“It doesn’t feel like being at school”
Maja Andersson is enthusiastic about her school. “With all the internships, it doesn’t feel like attending school but rather like taking the first step into working life. Technology was a new area for me and I’ve learned so much. And even the subjects that I feared, such as welding, have gone well.”
Many of her classmates from comprehensive school chose humanities and social sciences, convinced that these upper secondary school programmes would offer a broader scope for higher education later in life. “They simply didn’t understand the breadth of industrial technology, both in theory and practice; in fact, I would say that the scope is broader than humanities or social sciences.”
Maja Andersson will, together with her classmates at Mälardalens Tekniska Gymnasium, upon graduation be offered six months’ employment at Scania or the nearby pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. “That gives me a few months before I have to decide on my future but I’m leaning towards studies in civil engineering.”