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Spotlight on Kongsberg Maritime Ålesund

Ålesund is recognised for its maritime importance and its status as a regional leader in Norway’s cluster system. Below, you will hear from two of our employees who share their thoughts on what it’s like to work for Kongsberg Maritime in Ålesund.

  • Text:Stuart Brewer

It could be said that maritime innovation is part of Ålesund’s genetic makeup. KONGSBERG’s presence there is mainly centred around its acquisition of the former Rolls-Royce Commercial Marine, but in turn Rolls-Royce had previously acquired several smaller operations which had been established on the strength of new equipment and services - particularly in the boom years for the offshore industry in the early 2000s.

Erlend Rangnes is the Technical Product Manager for manoeuvring controls and is integral to the product harmonisation work that goes on in the Integrated Solutions Division following the merger with Rolls-Royce Commercial Marine.

FRONT RUNNERS IN DIFFERENT SEGMENTS

Asked what is special about Ålesund, Erlend explains, “From a historical point of view, the area itself has always been creative. Loaded with companies and individuals driving the development of technology and solutions, it has a lot of front runners in different segments. It’s a mindset that reflects the region in many areas. Even in the current downturn in the oil & gas sector, the companies and owners are able to adapt, change and move into new segments.”

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Over recent years, a thriving local maritime cluster centred on Ålesund has evolved, firstly into a National Centre of Expertise based on the region’s importance to offshore shipping and now into a Global Centre of Expertise (GCE) that embraces over 200 local companies and organisations with 13,500 employees and an annual turnover of almost NOK 50 billion in 2020.

"A GREAT TEAM ENVIRONMENT" 

Anniken Huse is the Team Lead Engineering, Subsea & Special Purpose, Deck Machinery and Motion Control (DMMC). She is a mechanical engineer and sustainability ambassador for DMMC activities and is also leading our internal welfare club Bølgen in Ålesund. Outside of KONGSBERG itself, she is a member of the U37 network in the Ålesund Business Association, a network for leaders below the age of 37.

Sharing her view on what it is like to work in KM, Anniken says, “I really enjoy working here. I’ve been fortunate to work on many exciting projects, where some of them have progressed my learning and development.  There’s also a great team environment here and we work very well together, sharing knowledge and expertise across our different disciplines to develop solutions to meet customer needs.”

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Echoing Anikken’s comments, Erlend says, “What I like about my role is the interaction with my colleagues – not just here in Ålesund but also working across different teams, business units and regional borders. We’re constantly collaborating and engaging with our resources to make sure we deliver the best products and services possible.”

POSITIVE PROSPECTS

Both Erlend and Anniken believe that Kongsberg’s focus on technology, innovation and expansion into new areas is positive for the employees and the company, especially in light of the fast-changing industry and its emphasis on smarter, more sustainable operations through the use of new technologies and digital solutions.

For Erlend, the motivating factor is a “mixture of both personal challenges, my colleagues and the inspiring environment we’re working in. It’s very inspiring and exciting to collaborate with the world-class expertise we have in our organisation. And that’s also something you notice even more these days while working from home during the pandemic.

He continues, “For me, Kongsberg’s values pinpoint some of the success factors for a company, because if you’re going to succeed you need to be determined, you need to be innovative, and you need to be reliable. If you practise these values, I’m sure the company will remain very strong.”

“It’s common sense – you can’t have a company without strong values,” says Anniken and adds, “For me, it’s also important to work for a company with values that are in line with my own personal values. That’s a motivating factor and I think collaboration is particularly important as we need to work together to succeed in what we do.”

COLLABORATION ACROSS BORDERS

Asked to select a project that best exemplifies what Kongsberg Ålesund is involved in, Erlend opts for product harmonization. “Together with colleagues in Norway, Sweden and Finland, we’re currently developing a future solution, the harmonised product. The end state in the future will be one manoeuvring control system in KONGSBERG, down from eight.”

“This is a big collaborative project with many gates and phases and we’ll be adapting parts of the portfolio piece by piece. The project also involves a new range of hardware which has separate roadmaps in other teams. Ultimately, we’ll have a product that will enable KM to further strengthen its market position as an integrated systems and solutions provider.”

Anniken’s choice is the Reach Remote FEED project, which is an industrial offspring from KMs ROV Revolution research and technology project. “This is a collaboration with our unit and KM’s Integrated Solutions Division and our customer Reach Subsea. The project uses an unmanned surface vessel in conjunction with a next-generation ROV in an innovative solution which will transform the current market for ROV survey and inspection services.”

Further details on this project can be found at https://reachsubsea.no/future-proofing-subsea-services-through-remote-and-autonomous-operations/.

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