FROM RED PATENT BAGS TO ROBOTS AND CARPENTRY
Hanna Hall's creative mind and eagerness to always understand how stuff works has been present ever since she was a child. Today, as an Industrial Engineer at the factory in Åhus, she's making use of that combination in order to modernise her own workplace – with a helping han from high tech robots.
I’VE HEARD YOU’RE WORKING ON A PROJECT INVOLVING ROBOTS. IS THAT RIGHT?
Yes, we recently started a project involving co-bots – collaborative robots – designed to work together with us in the factory. They perform basic and monotonous tasks that are either too noisy or very physically demanding. That way they help us create better working conditions in the factory. I’m the project leader for the two robots here, so my job is to decide where they work, what tasks they perform and that they communicate with us humans. I’m basically the link between the co-bots and my co-workers.
HAVE YOU AND YOUR COLLEAGUES GREETED THE ROBOTS WITH OPEN ARMS?
Well, the robots help of course, but some are a bit concerned that they might take over more of our tasks in the future. Some people get a bit stressed out because of that. But they also realize that robots are the future. Take robot lawn mowers for instance – it’s no longer science fiction, they are here to stay. What I’ve realized though – which is always calming – is that even robots need a helping hand. They need us to teach them how to do their job properly and they need care when they fail.
WHAT IS IT LIKE TO BE ONE OF FEW FEMALES IN THE FACTORY?
To be honest, I don’t think of it that much. I’ve always liked technical stuff, even when I was a little girl. My mom recently told me a story from when I was four years old when we went to a local fair. I saw this red patent bag that I desperately wanted. It was really the most typical girly thing you could think of.
So, my mom got me the bag and the next day, when I was going to use it for the first time, I had packed three things in the bag – one sheet of sandpaper, a hammer and a red lipstick. Those were the most important things for me back then, and it sort of sums up who I am and what I like.
I’ve always been interested in building stuff and learning how things work. In fact, me and my son are organizing a carpentry course close to where I live. Working with your bare hands is a great way to relax and seeing how other people are developing their skills is very uplifting.
WORKING WITH AND AROUND MACHINES AND ROBOTS, DO YOU EVER GET TO BE CREATIVE AT WORK?
Yes, I think so. For me, creativity is about taking risks and listening to what other people think. That’s how you learn new things and progress. And there’s always room to improve, no matter what you work with.
We have that creative spirit around here, where people are really keen to help out if you’re trying something new. I can always count on my co-workers to provide new perspectives and ideas, getting us closer to the best solution to a problem. I also think that involving other people like that is one of the best ways to enjoy your work. Because if you want to have fun, you can’t be too afraid to try new things or to listen to other people’s ideas. As I said before, that’s how you learn and progress.