From Silicon- to Carbon production
It is now a month ago since I finished my first trainee period at Elkem Thamshavn in Orkanger, and I am now sitting in my office in Kristiansand where I have just started my second at Elkem Carbon. There has been quite a drastic change from being a student to start work at a production plant, but I have really enjoyed it.
My first steps in Norway
My first period was at the Saint-Fons plant in France. I studied in Lyon and made my last internship in this plant before my graduation. So, my life hasn't been changed a lot during this assignment. But after 8 months, I started my second assignment in Norway, in Orkanger. And although it is still new for me, I can tell you these first days are already very exotic for me!
Production experience and cabin life
In Elkem’s smelting furnaces, carbon must be added in order to reduce quartz to silicon. Traditionally fossil coal has been used, but Elkem has set a goal to increase the share of biocarbon in their Norwegian smelters to 40% within 2030. In November last year I was given the chance to participate in the production of a test batch of biocarbon briquettes. This meant that I completed my second trainee period at the headquarter in Oslo by spending one month in Quebec, Canada.
Global opportunities with Elkem Carbon
As a trainee in Elkem you get a unique opportunity not only to be part of exciting and interesting projects, but also to combine it with seeing many interesting places around the world. Even though it’s hard to compete with the beauty of the Norwegian fjords, there are quite a few other interesting places around the globe. During the past eight months I have been fortunate enough to go see a few of them.
Bringing a silicon furnace back to life
Being a trainee in Elkem gives you a wonderful opportunity to get to work with some truly remarkable things. Like walking inside a silicon furnace. “Walking inside a silicon furnace?”, you might think, and rightfully so. Normally you would hesitate to enter a chamber that normally handles more than 37.000.000 watts of power. Unless, of course, the furnace pot is being rebuilt, and you are a curious trainee taking part in the project!
Furnaces, pumps and robots
It is mid-fall, and it has already been six months since I started my second placement as an Elkem trainee at REC Solar. After eight exciting months at Elkem Technology it was time to move on – even if only a few hundred meters across the industry area. Although it is a common characteristic for trainees to be light on their feet, the site at Fiskaa having many of Elkem’s business areas represented has a large variety of interesting challenges to offer, and in my case staying in Kristiansand for one more period also meant that I could enjoy the beautiful summer we have had here at “Sørlandet”.
Working with digitalisation
After finishing a great trainee period at Elkem Silicones in France, my journey went back to Norway and Kristiansand. I got the opportunity to work for Elkem Foundry with data analysis and data mining. With this, I was able to take part in exploring some of the possibilities of the new and enlarged focus on digitalisation. Digitalisation is a major tool to increase profitability.
A very warm welcome in a very hot city
In February this year, I packed my bags and moved nearly 7000 kilometres southeast – after completing trainee rotations in Orkanger and Oslo, it was time for a change of scenery. The change from an office environment in Oslo to an industrial plant in India has been a big one, not least because of the sudden temperature increase of around 30 degrees. Fortunately, I have received a very warm welcome, and my third and final trainee rotation in Elkem has been a very special one indeed.
Maintenance – A world of continuous improvement
## MUSIC: SOUND OF EDVARD GRIEG’S “MORNING MOOD” ##
Robots are amazing creatures. These beautiful beings with long gracious arms, brains made from copper wire and circuit boards, and hearts of cold hard steel. There are few things as mesmerizing as watching a robot buzz around as it carefully but determined picks up and places hundreds of pieces of silicon.
Getting a solid overview of silicon production at Elkem Thamshavn
As I write this, my first period as an Elkem trainee is coming to an end. The sun is shining on the Orkdal fjord and the furnaces are humming quietly. There is a warm atmosphere in the office I am sharing with a few of the process engineers here at Elkem Thamshavn, one of the most energy efficient silicon smelting plants in the world.
Process Safety in a Silicones Plant
Two years after Bluestar Silicones was merged with Elkem in June 2015 and after the renaming of Bluestar Silicones to Elkem Silicones in June 2017, I had the great opportunity to be the first employee of the Silicones division to participate to the Elkem Trainee Program.
From university to heavy industry: A slow transition
It is nearly winter holiday, and us first year trainees have already reached halfway through our first trainee period in Elkem. My first placement has been at Elkem Technology in Kristiansand where I have had the privilege of being welcomed by many engaging colleagues, and working with a few remarkably interesting projects with plenty of guidance from enthusiastic co-workers, and a lot to learn. Along with that, the past four months have offered an abundance of excitement through many courses, traveling, social gatherings, and even a trip to Venice.
Leaving Iceland with a heavy heart
Hello faithful readers of the Elkem trainee blog! It has now been 8 months since I packed my bags and headed for Iceland, and I honestly have no clue where the time has gone since then. With only a few days left of my stay here, I thought I would use this opportunity to share some of my experiences from the land of ice and fire.
Elkem’s trainee programme: a unique opportunity
Half a year ago, I wrote a blog post about my first trainee period in Elkem, working with and learning about all the mechanical equipment around the smelting furnaces of Elkem Thamshavn. I have now been employed in Elkem for over a year, and it feels a bit sudden that I am already more than halfway through the trainee programme.Taking this chance to look back though, I have already learned a great deal about the industry: installation, use and maintenance of a wide array of machinery; our furnaces and high temperature processes in general; industrial and personal safety; lean thinking and continuous improvement.
Train your brain – Trainee style
In the middle of June, all the trainees were lucky to return to the academic world to attend Silicon Summer School, hosted at Reykjavik University in Iceland. The course consisted of lectures from both industry and academia, with 50 participants representing 6 countries around the world.
From the everyday life at a plant to an R&D environment
For the last 5 months, I have had my third trainee placement in the R&D department of Elkem Silicon Materials (ESM) in Kristiansand. Now that the summer holidays are approaching, so is the end of my trainee adventure and the start of a permanent position in Elkem.