Mikko Seilo: There’s a lot to learn in process engineering
Mikko has been working as a process engineer at Nornickel for six years. His work revolves around designing and monitoring the nickel sulphate leaching process at the nickel plant’s leaching facility. He works as a part of a small team that includes, in addition to himself, a second process engineer and a production manager. The work also involves co-operation with other leaching facility staff.
From electrical engineering to metals
Engineering and work in the industrial sector was a clear choice for Mikko even back when he was a student. Mikko studied electrical engineering at the Tampere University of Technology. After working at the nickel plant for a summer, Mikko became fascinated by metals and switched to the material technology training program. At the beginning of 2011, Mikko got the opportunity to do his thesis work at Nornickel. After half a year as a researcher he was offered a permanent position as a process engineer.
– I am really happy with my job. It’s great to be able to do such a versatile job where there’s always plenty of challenge and new things to learn. And of course, a large company can offer excellent benefits. According to the personnel survey, our nickel plant is believed to offer good job security even during a recession. I also believe that the work I am doing now will open some interesting doors later on in my career, Mikko notes.
– In practice, my work involves general organizing, process monitoring, scheduling and raw material acquisition. Safety and risk management also play a major role. We will carefully assess all possible problems in advance and try to prepare for them, he says.About half of Mikko’s work hours are spent at the office and the rest at the plant.
Paul Cooper: The diverse tasks of a chemist at Nornickel
Paul is a Master of Arts who has studied chemistry and information technology and works at Nornickel Harjavalta. His main responsibilities at the laboratory include analysis method development and quality assurance.
– Method development means that I design and implement all sorts of analysis methods and calibrate devices. Quality assurance refers to methods used to define the required performance levels and assess suitability, Paul explains. In practice, his work involves testing, information processing and the statistical review of results and their comparison between different methods, including external laboratories. Paul also monitors the development of new analysis methods and analysis device markets. In addition to laboratory work, the job description includes office work, meetings and networking in conferences and seminars.
Fascinated by stones
Paul remembers that even in primary school, chemistry was an easy subject for him. So, after graduating from upper secondary school, he applied to study chemistry at the University of Jyväskylä. During his studies Paul got excited about geology and became an exchange student in Sweden. – For some reason, I have always been fascinated by stones. Since it was not possible to study geology in Jyväskylä, I studied for eight months at the University of Gothenburg and then at the University of Turku.
Paul found himself at Nornickel when the company looked for a thesis researcher to study XRF spectrometry. – For me, this opportunity to do my thesis work at the nickel plant was just perfect, because I had wanted to do my thesis on exactly this subject, he explains. After his thesis was completed, Paul was offered a permanent position at Nornickel.
According to Paul, the best thing about his work is independence. – There is a good balance between laboratory and office tasks, and there is no shortage of challenges or work. Time management is probably the biggest challenge. The only thing that helps with that is strict prioritisation. Especially during very hectic periods I need to be able to assess the urgency and priority of the projects.