Batteries – Paving the way for the future

May 16, 2024

One of my favorite alternative timelines is to imagine a world where electricity would have already overtaken petrol as the de facto power source for cars. And this is not just due to my electrical engineering background. In the early 1900s, electric cars were the most popular choice over petrol or steam due to their convenience. The petrol car was considered noisy, smelly, and difficult to operate due to the need for hand-cranking to start the engine. The lack of petrol stations also curbed its popularity.

Cost over comfort

After the introduction of the Model T Ford and, ironically, an electric starter motor, the petrol car started to dominate the automotive market by the 1920s. The cost of a noisy and smelly Model T was roughly a third of an equivalent electric car, paving the way for petrol motoring. Eventually, all electric vehicles basically disappeared from the roads for decades.

Doing something is better than doing nothing

As we are heading towards 2030 and the first checkpoint for the Paris agreement, there’s once again plenty of bustle around electric cars and their popularity. It’s easy to think that private motoring is the number one cause for global warming as all we see is cars every day, even though it’s actually a minor contributor in the big picture. Electric cars are possibly one of the solutions for reducing emissions, but certainly not the only one, let alone the most effective.

Infrastructure and efficiency issues are universal

If electric vehicles would have become prevalent decades ago, the current go-to grievances about heavy, resource-intensive batteries, short range and lack of charging stations would have most definitely been solved. The same issues were solved with petrol cars as well, as gas stations weren’t popping out of thin air and reliable fuel-efficient engines took time to develop. There’s currently a chicken-or-the-egg problem with the breakthrough of electric motoring as we lack the infrastructure due to lack of vehicles and vice versa.

Not a jack of all trades

Despite the boundaries set by physics, I firmly believe that going electric in small-scale vehicles and appliances is the only way. The issue with batteries in comparison with internal combustion engines is that a battery has to carry 100 % of the energy needed to power the vehicle, while the fuel needs to carry roughly 5 % and the rest of the energy comes from the air needed in combustion. This doesn’t matter much in cars as the energy consumption is relatively low, and charging options are easily available compared to a container ship sailing in the Indian ocean.

Sustainability over performance

The scarcity of rare-earth metals and their ethical sourcing is another discussion, but after the latest crises and the political rumblings in the Far East, there’s a heavy incentive to reduce the need for dubious minerals and resources. At first this may compromise the performance of batteries but will most likely be the best alternative in the big picture. And at least from our perspective, companies are making increasing investments in developing electric and hybrid power trains.

Engineering wonderland

All in all, together with hydrogen, batteries and electric drives are something where we at TT Gaskets see a bright future ahead of us.

The engineering problems with sealing and insulation of electric drives are usually the opposite of our traditionally strong field of large engines. In ICEs, we want to keep the stuff inside the engine and protect the outside world, but in batteries we usually want to keep the outside world away from the package in many senses. This has already been fruitful from the engineering perspective as existing solutions are used in a whole new way.

In the end, all technologies are compromises and have their drawbacks, but that doesn’t prevent us from delivering Smarter Sealing for a Safer Tomorrow.

Hydrogen – Hype, Hope, or something in between

February 21, 2024

A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since I last talked about hydrogen and its potential in the energy revolution.

The world has changed in the past couple of years, and instead of gradual steady development, we were forced to take leaps to adjust. This, in turn, has paved the way for hydrogen economy and solidified its necessity in terms of holistic sustainable development.

Engineering problems remain the same

The physics of hydrogen have remained the same throughout the years, which has been a good thing in terms of engineering, as it is easier to find workarounds for constants instead of variables such as politics and whatnot.

The first and foremost issue to tackle is the production of hydrogen by electrolysis which takes ridiculous amounts of electricity. A rule of thumb with current methods is 50 kWh per kilogram of hydrogen.

Astronomical numbers that keep on growing

To put this in perspective, the current annual production of hydrogen is roughly 90 million metric tons, which is almost entirely grey hydrogen made from natural gas by steam methane reforming.

If we converted this production to electrolysis, it would require 4 500 TWh of electricity, or roughly 18 % of the annual consumption of electricity worldwide. Big numbers grow even bigger if we account the need to replace fossil fuels in all relevant industries, not just the ones that currently use hydrogen. Rumor has it that 500 million tons per year would be in the ballpark.

Endless possibilities require thorough research

At least we at TT Gaskets are not afraid of big numbers. Instead, we regard them as big possibilities. Hydrogen seems to pop up in virtually every discussion we have with our clients and other stakeholders. And as always, sealing is usually the last thing that pops to mind when our clients develop and test new hydrogen applications. Naturally this is good news for us as otherwise our services wouldn’t be required.

Our current focus is in finding hope from all the hype surrounding hydrogen. We are heavily invested in co-operation with academia, research institutions, and engineering partners. We are not going big – instead, we are going do our homework and scale our solutions from the ground up. The devil is in the details, and we cannot aim high before we have laid down the groundwork.

Our niche is a constant

Although the numbers loom large, our niche within the sealing business won’t change. Our partners and competitors supply large volumes of standard gaskets for distributing and storing hydrogen, and our focus is on special solutions that we do best.

To provide a small teaser, the big three electrolyzers and fuel cells as well as P2X applications are currently of interest to us, but don’t hesitate to contact us on other matters. There’s also a major nomination coming soon regarding our expertise in the field, so stay tuned to hear more about Smarter Sealing for a Safer Tomorrow.

Education – Shining a light on our silent knowhow

November 16, 2023

I wrote about the importance of continuous learning in January, such an important topic that it needs highlighting every so often. I had then just started my vocational qualification for R&D which I completed in the beginning of November demonstrating my will for continuous learning.

Training, long overdue

Early this autumn, we started to discuss the need for an internal gasket training program which we haven’t officially provided during the past 80 years – or at least not to our team’s knowledge reaching 25 years back. We have trained our clients and shareholders but not too many of our employees in the fascinating ways of gaskets and sealing.

This issue was crying to be fixed as soon as possible, and thus we started to gather knowledge together. The presentation deck kept on growing towards the October deadline when the first pilot training was to be arranged. We managed to put together a concise package of general knowledge about sealing and all the essential elements about the topic from our perspective.

Sealing the deal

At first, we planned the training to span two days, but after scrolling through the slides we decided to shorten it to one day and use the second day for a brief practical training session. The pilot group was carefully selected to include our shutdown team working in the field and at the office, but also neutral players from our production and back office.

Sales personnel were tactically left outside the pilot group as we knew their training will require heavier means and easily derails towards serious conversations about the competence of the lecturer.

Setting the baseline and making a difference

The lecture was preceded by a survey for mapping out the starting level of our participants (8 people). The average score (out of 16) was 9, with the lowest being 2 and the highest 15. After the lecture we repeated the survey and the average score was 14, with the lowest being 10 and the highest 16 – I guess the lectures had some impact on the participants when the average score was improved by over 50 %. And no one had a lower score after the training!

We then got our hands dirty and explored the intriguing process of flange assembly in practice. We wondered how something seemingly simple can be so difficult and why so many things can go wrong in something that at a glance looks like a trained monkey could do.

The most captivating moment was when I demonstrated the effect of impurities on gaskets and completely destroyed a graphite gasket. The installation looked flawless on the surface, but the inner structure was severely damaged by the medium.

Reaping the rewards

At the end of the session the conversation spiraled to Smart Gaskets and their potential for improving the safety and efficiency of processes and equipment. All in all, the training sessions were highly beneficial, and everyone involved learned something new, even I as the lecturer. This, in turn, led to a holistic increase in our personnel’s competence and once again gave us pride in being one of the very few industrial sealing specialists, a group that doesn’t grow in trees or in lecture halls. This great experience made us decide to arrange the next internal training in early spring, and possibly we might be brave enough to let one or two salesmen join as well.

If you and your team got interested and want to learn more about Smarter Sealing for a Safer Tomorrow, don’t hesitate to contact us. Let’s arrange a session where we can spread the gospel of sealing together for mutual benefit.

Anti-counterfeiting – The problem with fakes extends far beyond clothing brands

October 10, 2023

I was a bit surprised when scrolling through the results of the recent EUIPO questionary for youth regarding counterfeit goods. On average, over a third of 15- to 24-year-olds in the EU – and nearly half of Finnish youngsters – have intentionally bought fake goods, especially clothing.

The youth are not to blame. The pressure from social media and peers to wear certain brands easily influences the young mind.

Cutting corners is a (bad) habit

Not everyone is made of money, so finding ways to cut corners and costs is human. However, this skimping extends far beyond expensive clothing brands and is an issue within all industries. As cost saving is at the heart of our current economic system, it’s no wonder companies are turning every stone when searching for cheaper alternatives.

Here’s the but: saving costs often also means saving on quality, and that might not be good in the long run. Quantity over quality is rarely a sustainable business model, but some companies just don’t care. Buying cheap materials and parts for making what are basically disposable goods is one thing, but making bargains that are essentially stealing is another. These bargains are often actual thefts and organized criminals that ruthlessly exploit other brands and sell goods under the same name.

It’s a slippery slope

Each euro spent on these counterfeit goods is a euro for the criminals to continue their illegitimate business. Taking responsibility is rarely the strongest feat of these organizations, so the safety of people and the environment is their smallest concern.

Buying fake shoes might not do any harm in the short run, but procuring illegitimate spare parts just once for an airplane already endangers the life of hundreds. In the long run, everyone except the criminals loses, and it undermines the integrity of our society.

All hope is not yet lost

Then again, there are companies such as TT Gaskets who are doing their fair share to fight the counterfeiters.

We began researching different methods for improving our product security five years ago when we heard some alarming facts from one of our major clients. They said they’re losing tens of millions of euros annually in after sales business due to counterfeiting, and they knew that their products are sold in similar packages and with the same product codes as their own. The supplier is just not their official partner and there’s nothing they can do about it.

Different methods for different needs

We can equip our products with laser-engraved or ink-jet printed markings. This method is already gaining popularity while adding a level of complexity that the counterfeiters don’t want to invest in.

Serial numbers and product codes also help the end user identify authentic parts. The marking may be a QR code that provides more information regarding the product and its use or triggers the warranty. The EU is currently developing a digital product passport, a similar idea to ours. The QR code can be printed on the product label and added to our TTG Smart Tracking software that ensures the authenticity of the product and tracks its location based on the readings.

That’s not all. We are already going one step further by researching and developing invisible markings which can be read by energizing the material with, for example, UV light that reveals the identification by changing color.

A combination of these surprisingly cost-effective methods can increase the complexity of a product to such a level that it is basically impossible to copy. Then again, it leaves the responsibility of choosing authentic spare parts to the end user. At least claim cases are easier to solve when the authenticity is provable afterwards. And if you want to hear more about our methods of Smarter Sealing for a Safer and More Secure Tomorrow, don’t hesitate to contact us.

PTFE – The hero turns into a villain

August 31, 2023

Great discoveries often come about by accident, and PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene, more commonly known as Teflon™) is no exception. Since its invention in the late 1930s it has shaped all industries from frying pans to aerospace applications.

PTFE is famous for its slipperiness; thus, it’s used in kitchenware, and its chemical inertness allows it to be used for storing fluoroantimonic acid, the strongest acid known to man. 

Forever chemicals for breakfast, lunch, dinner and supper 

Despite PTFE’s versatile use cases, most great things often come with drawbacks. Ignorance is bliss, but it doesn’t remove the fact that PTFE is popping up in places it probably shouldn’t – especially near production and “recycling” (=incineration) sites. These undesirable places include, but are unfortunately not limited to, drinking water, soil and fauna, including us humans.

PTFE derivatives (also known as forever chemicals) found all over the globe are bundled under the term PFAS. You might recognize this abbreviation from the European Commission’s proposal to soon ban 7000 to 12000 chemicals belonging to the PFAS group.

Decades of work ahead

The health and environmental consequences of the PTFE build-up are yet to be discovered, but my layman evaluation is that they are most definitely not a part of a healthy diet. I also think that the goal of banning PFAS derivatives by the end of 2025 is unfortunately unfeasible.

It took us decades to ban leaded fuel even though the evidence of the lead build-up was clear. The same thing happened with asbestos: the health hazards were undisputed but still we continued to use it because there were no (better) alternatives.

History will hopefully repeat itself

Whether the ban comes into effect in a few years or not, we at TT Gaskets are determined to do our share in finding alternatives for PTFE.

It is true that PTFE has features that other materials do not possess, and there are applications where it is (currently) the only alternative. But when asbestos was eventually banned, it led to a disruptive development of new gasket materials that beat any then-available asbestos materials fair and square. The only change was that the materials were designed for specific circumstances whereas asbestos materials were all-around compromises.

No simple answers or solutions available 

We believe that something similar will happen in the future: we would probably already know if there was an alternative that had the exact same properties as PTFE. That’s why the question of finding alternatives for PTFE is irrelevant as there will probably be hundreds of them.

The simplest thing we could do right away is to reduce the use of PTFE-based materials in applications where they are not needed. There is plenty of over-specification in gasket materials for modest environments where a fiber material would do the job just as well.

This should also be a guideline for all manufacturers who add PTFE derivatives to their recipes without thinking about its necessity and consequences. Let’s first reduce and minimize the need and use for PTFE and then think about the difficult part of replacing it in the applications where no alternatives exist yet.

We humans are stubborn but also able to learn and take responsibility, so I believe that we will solve this issue one way or another. As there is no business to be conducted on an inhabitable planet polluted by PTFE, we want to continue providing Smarter Sealing for a Safer Tomorrow – PFAS-free as soon as possible. 

Design – Sealing the deal, digitally

June 8, 2023

Gasket Design Services

I talked about the importance of gaining trust in my previous blog. In the context of our business, trust is built on our customers’ confidence in our ability to solve the issues they are facing. Whether it’s temperature, pressure, aggressive media, long bolt spans or low bolt loads, we have seen it all during the past 80 years. And even if there’s something we haven’t seen, we’ll most certainly find a way to solve it.

The good old days are not coming back

A lot has changed over the decades due to globalization-driven outsourcing. Very few large OEMs or process industry plants have their designs completely in their own hands anymore, meaning they rely on third parties for design applications.

On the one hand this is good, as it means that specialized professionals are doing the engineering. On the other hand, some aspects such as reasonable tolerances and especially sealability may be neglected. In the good old days, the design team worked in the same building and got direct feedback from manufacturing if something couldn’t be done.

Complex problems sometimes have simple solutions

Nowadays, it may be difficult to give feedback on a project that is spread across continents and involves mostly faceless organizations instead of real people. And when the problems neglected during the design phase pop up during prototyping and testing, it’s often a bit too late to maneuver around them – at least on your own.

When these problems revolve around sealing, we are here to help. Solving sealing issues is our bread and butter, even in tight schedules. Our record time is 38 minutes from order to delivery. While we may not break records in every project, our strength lies in our flexibility, willingness to help, and our multidisciplinary Design Board approach. These are qualities that larger players may struggle to provide.

Standing out from the crowd

As we are digging deeper and learning more about our new target markets in Sweden, German-speaking Europe and the United States, we have found that in addition to the large well-known players, we are also competing against hundreds of “one man in a garage” type of manufacturers.

These small players have their own strengths. They usually operate locally and know their clients’ products by heart, but continuity, development and designing something new may not be their cup of tea.

From trial and error to trial and success

It just so happens that continuity, development and designing new solutions are something we are heavily concentrating and investing in. The traditional trial and error method is an example of the kind of elements we are now steering away from. Of course, testing is still needed in the future, but it is not necessarily the most efficient design method in applications that we are involved in.

Our goal is to ensure that our products do what they are designed to do already in the digital world, and then confirm their functionality through physical test runs.

Diving into the future of gasket design

I am currently finalizing a project regarding the FEA of a hydrogen fuel cell – both topics that hold great promise for our future endeavors. The idea is to create a simulation model of the application, a common practice in modern engineering. Our twist is that we can also create material models of the gaskets thanks to our flexible prototype process and testing capabilities. The application is then replicated in the physical domain to see how well the simulation model matches the real world.

After a couple of iterations, we’ll hopefully have a recipe for replicating different sealing scenarios on the computer screen before moving on to physical testing. This is something that potentially revolutionizes our design capabilities and gives us a definite competitive edge over your local handyman.

If you want to learn more about our approach to Smarter Sealing for a Safer Tomorrow, we invite you to join us at the CIMAC Congress in Busan, South Korea, from June 12 to 16. Alternatively, you can contact us using your preferred communication method.

Collaboration – Earning trust to join the club

May 3, 2023

Ever since our humble beginnings in the 1940s, TT Gaskets has been a key player in the field of engine sealing. Our first collaborations started in the 1960s and are still going strong today. We have gradually gained trust from our partners and became valued globally. Respect can easily be lost with one major failure which we luckily have avoided, and we are doing our best to never make one.

Trust is gained F2F, not B2B

Our gained trust was personified by the late sales legend Jukka Sunila who travelled the globe for decades and was known worldwide. He always put the benefit of the client first and the company and himself second. We are trying our best to embrace this legacy in upcoming years, and Jukka’s name is also commemorated in our new mica material Micaseal Suniflex.

An unexpected but welcome invitation to join the club

One fine example of Jukka’s efforts was the invitation to join CIMAC, the International Council on Combustion Engines, the big boy club for large engine manufacturers and research entities. Its purpose is to discuss technical and regulatory development of the engine industry. 

We are currently the only gasket manufacturer in the council and one of the few SMEs alongside the global enterprises. The first congress we joined was held in 2019 in Vancouver, Canada, and the next one is this summer in Busan, South Korea.

Last time I wrote two articles for the congress, one about the history of gaskets and the other about our early development with Smart Gaskets. Alas, I was still a junior in the company and wasn’t invited to join the event myself – all I got was a T-shirt, but that was better than nothing.

Climbing the ladder and providing input

This time around I have climbed the ladder enough to be able to join the congress with a few colleagues. Again, I’ve written an article and am giving a presentation regarding the current state of Smart Gasket development (which, by the way, looks promising after a longer backwater period). 

We hope that the event provides valuable insight into the upcoming development of the industry regarding, for example, alternative fuels. Of course, we also hope to make TT Gaskets and our competence more known to other members and participants.

In addition to the congresses, CIMAC also facilitates working groups that address different topics regarding the industry. Currently, we are part of the emission regulation working group but are hoping to migrate to the gas engine group instead. We don’t have too much to say about emissions other than less is more, but gas engines are something we have been working with for decades and definitely have something to contribute in. In any case, we’ll get to know people from the technical departments of our current and potential clients and may find something to work on in the meantime.

If you’re interested in learning more about our input within the large engine industry, I believe there’s still room in the congress. And if you’re not able to participate, we are always at your disposal to provide Smarter Sealing for a Safer Tomorrow.

Shutdowns – Saving time means saving money

March 29, 2023

We have all heard the phrase “time is money”. It originates from the 1700s and has since become a guiding force in our economy. Everything we do is measured in either time or money which (according to the saying) essentially mean the same thing.

In the long run, more time means more money. This is true in investing where compound interest is said to be the 8th wonder of the world. In our daily lives though, less time means more money, as time saved in a task can be used for something else, preferably something productive.

Lost production is lost in the short and long run

From the TT Gaskets perspective, the effect of saving time is clearly visible in process industry shutdowns.

Whether the shutdowns are planned or unexpected, an hour of lost production in a plant may cost hundreds of thousands of euros. This then affects both short-term and long-term finances, as well as the number of emails and phone calls received. It also highlights the importance of gaskets as a missing gasket worth a couple euros may delay the ramp-up of an entire production line.

Be prepared for the unexpected

To reduce the number of unnecessary emails and phone calls during a shutdown, we have noticed that planning and preparation are key. This also includes preparing for the unexpected.

A scheduled maintenance is naturally the preferred option for all parties, and this is something we have had great experiences with since 2015. Over the years our service and readiness for shutdowns have developed and are still improving.

Gaskets on hand 24/7

Our TTG Smart Container service has proven to be an effective solution for pre-planned gasket needs. It is a mobile gasket stock inside a 20-foot sea container that can be delivered wherever needed. The items and stock levels are planned together with the customer, preferably a year or so in advance to ensure cost-effectiveness of the items, but in some urgent cases we have set up a Smart Container in only a matter of weeks.

After delivery, the stock is available 24/7 with self-service and the items are invoiced and restocked according to consumption. In major shutdown cases a customer servant is also available. The longest period of use for the stock was over 2 years and the shortest so far has been 4 weeks.

On-site gasket manufacturing

We also have a couple tricks up our sleeve for responding to unwanted but unavoidable surprise needs. Our recommended option is the TTG Mobile Factory, a movable small-scale gasket manufacturing unit built in a 40-foot container.

The unit can cut flat gaskets from sheets and refurbish camprofile and spiral wound gaskets according to dimensions, drawings and models. This capability has proven its worth repeatedly as a single gasket can be manufactured in a matter of mere minutes. The service has been carried out in co-operation with our partner, but in a couple of months we’ll also have a manufacturing unit of our own.

Speed is of the essence

In addition to the Mobile Factory, we also offer a Fast Track service for 24-hour express deliveries. In shutdown cases this is especially helpful if more than just a few gaskets are needed, or the geometry is difficult to recreate on-site. We can, for example, reverse engineer a model with our measuring devices easily and manufacture as many items as needed with precision and efficiency. Our record time is 38 minutes from the customer call to delivery, but unfortunately this is not always possible.

To ensure hassle-free shutdowns, at least gasketwise, we at TT Gaskets warmly recommend considering and trying our services. Let us take care of the gaskets and provide you with Smarter Sealing for a Safer Tomorrow so you can concentrate on saving time and money somewhere else.

Standards, at Your Service

February 21, 2023

If you’ve walked through a door, used a water faucet, or scrolled on your phone today, there’s a high chance that you have encountered standards without even realizing it. Standards are much like gaskets: they are everywhere but we don’t even realize their importance until they cause trouble. They are still very much one of the backbones in our modern society and have been around at least since the building of the Cheops pyramid

Time for practicality

An excellent example of the practicality of standards is the creation of standard time in the late 1800s. The need for a standardized reference of time arose as railroads developed and enabled fast travel between cities. Before, traveling took several hours or days so a few minutes’ difference between the solar time in each city caused very few issues. As hardly anybody wants to be on a train on the same track as a train moving in the opposite direction, standardizing came into play. 

Less hassle, more efficiency 

In addition to preventing railroad accidents, standards have been very useful in enhancing industrial efficiency. A world without standards would be even more of a hassle the one we have today. Barely anything fits together these days, but through standardization at least something fits and the need to start everything from scratch is reduced.

You may remember that two decades ago each mobile phone had its own charger cable, and if you were running low on battery, borrowing the correct charger from a friend was not a trivial task. Nokia’s de facto standards of course ruled by market share but were not adopted by other manufacturers. 

Standards for abstract concepts

Today, thanks to the persistent work of standardizing groups (and some EU bureaucracy), we finally have only two different charging cables, and in 2024 mobile phones and electronics will all start using USB-C exclusively.

But again, the power of standardizing reaches beyond the component level. It helps us compare different entities in more abstract terms as well. An example of this are the different system-level standards for business management. It’s one thing to say that we take care of quality than to say that we are ISO 9001 certified in our quality management. Globally acknowledged preconditions make it easier to identify potentially trustworthy partners without months of auditing. 

Standardized partnership

This is one of the reasons why TT Gaskets is certified in quality management (ISO 9001), environmental management (ISO 14001) as well as in occupational health and safety (ISO 45001). The certificates speak for themselves as we (sometimes timid) Finns try to relay to our large global customers that we have everything under control. And the standards are merely a baseline for our operations that is in most often exceeded by a wide margin.

We at TT Gaskets are not just utilizing the standards for our own benefit – we are also doing tedious standardizing work behind the scenes. We have decades of experience in standardizing especially on a national process industry level at PSK. I am currently a part of an expert group working on a standard for installing flange gaskets, and I’m trying to infiltrate other working groups as well.

If you’ve ever come across a standard document, you might agree that it is almost unbelievable that someone has written the things out in such detail – no wonder it takes years to complete a standard. Still, it’s a gift that keeps on giving because you always find something new to standardize. But somebody must do it and we are happy to do so to provide Smarter Sealing for a Standardized Tomorrow

Education – Learning is the key to success

January 19, 2023

There are plenty of cliché-sounding quotes about learning such as “anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty” and “education is what is left after you forget everything you learned in school” that are probably not said by Henry Ford or Albert Einstein.

Nevertheless, there is a pinch of truth in these statements.

The actual learning starts when you thought it would end

At least from my experience, it is quite common to hear promises about never studying again once you graduate. Expectations such as knowing enough on the day you graduate and being ready for everything are unfortunately not true.

The wisest of us know that we know nothing. And I know from my studies that electricity is blue, it hurts, and you should put the wires with the same color together and the rest to ground.

Learning by doing works if nothing else helps

But enough rambling, let’s get to the point. I graduated some four years ago and noticed during my first working months that there’s still a lot to learn. I barely even knew what I was supposed to do, so I just started doing something. It was and still is a great method for starting the journey of learning by doing – and it proved to be quite effective as along the way we also met some people who probably knew what they were doing.

During our expedition to the sea of possibilities we came up with great and not-that-great ideas on how to develop our business opportunities. But as a medium-sized company in a niche market, we unfortunately don’t have the resources to do everything we want like some tech giants. As the ideas have matured over the years and we have made more or less successful pilots and launches with them, I now have a better understanding of what I am supposed to do.

Getting qualification is better late than never

And as any sensible person would do, I’m also climbing trees backwards by getting a formal degree in R&D only now, after several years of practicing my informal trial and error method. The vocational qualification studies started in November 2022 and last one year.

My target is to create a uniform procedure for our potential R&D&I cases and find suitable tools for evaluating them. And above all, to have a traditional Finnish cake and coffee session upon graduation.

Open attitude towards learning and teaching

In all, we at TT Gaskets are very open to learning as an organization and as individuals. Many of us, myself included, have started our careers in the company by doing a thesis (and you can too by contacting us).

In the past couple of years, I have mentored half a dozen thesis workers or trainees and at least twice as many have been in other departments. I have given several brief flange assembly training courses to our stakeholders, and we also offer the possibility for certified training together with TAKK.

And the list goes on for a reason, as educated employees are the key to a successful business that supplies you with Smarter Sealing for a Safer Tomorrow.