February 20, 2018
Plain Bearings for Aerospace Applications Article
Aerospace & Defense Technology, an engineering magazine that covers advances in aerospace and...
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AT A GLANCE
GGB is the market leader in bearing material technology; we’re not just looking at a competitor and trying to make the same thing.
Kim began her career working at a global chemical company in a variety of job positions including manufacturing and new market development. In 2007, she came to work for GGB as an application engineer.
How did you begin you career at GGB?
I studied engineering at school and then I went to work for a chemical company where I held different positions in manufacturing, technical service, product and new market development. Later, the division I was in was sold to a private company, so I left and started looking for a new job. I had a few offers, and I chose GGB based on the people I met there, the work environment, the office and the job position.
Describe your role as an application engineer and the services you provide to customers.
I support the general industrial market, but I also have customers in both the aerospace and fluid power markets. Based on those customers’ needs, I help them select the best bearing and bearing material for their application. We’ll discuss their needs, the application information and the economic data and I’ll then help them make the best choice for what they have.
How do you provide custom solutions over such a large number of applications in the general industrial sector?
You have to know a lot about loads, speeds and application conditions. You need good communication with customers and our sales engineers. Maybe even the customer doesn’t know the right things to tell you at first, so you have to ask the right questions and work a little bit harder to get the information you need from them.
GI is a little bit different because there are many small customers, so it’s a lot of phone time. Our sales engineers are experienced engineers, so they’ll know the right questions to ask and we’re in very close contact. The sales engineers are the first point of contact for the customer; they’re with them all the time. I offer support when I’m needed or they’ll give me a call.
What are the most challenging aspects of being an application engineer in the bearing industry?
It’s finding the right information. For bearings, you have to know loads, speeds and the operating environment. When you’re working on a new project you don’t always know these things, so you’re making a very educated guess. You have to anticipate; you have to draw on your previous experiences where you may have had a similar situation and use your experience to help the customer through a new bearing or system design.
Experience in this industry is invaluable. Starting out, I depended heavily on the more senior application engineers. Now that I’m one of the more experienced ones, I have the newer application engineers coming to me for advice. I try to share my experience with them and make sure they know the questions they should be asking.
What is the most enjoyable part of your job?
I think one of the most enjoyable parts is the excellent people that I work with. Not just the application engineers, but everybody. The best part about my job is when a customer is successful and we have been a part of that. For example, the Mars Rover! We also worked with some automotive companies on hybrid transmissions several years ago and now those are on the market.
It’s really exciting to be a part of new and successful technology, whether it’s a big or small project. For some small businesses, the help that they get from the outside is important, and you may be helping a small company grow. That’s rewarding for me.
Why should a customer choose GGB over the competition?
We have a huge product line. GGB has so many products to choose from, we can provide a bearing solution for most applications. GGB is the market leader in bearing material technology; we’re not just looking at a competitor and trying to make the same thing. That is why a customer should choose GGB: we have the new technology and the capacity to innovate.