Ulf produces parts for a polar expedition

After the closure of the Central Workshop at Frescati, some tasks have been transferred to the Technical Department at Fysikum. Ulf Ahlberg, a new employee at the department's mechanical workshop, is delivering parts for a lab container that will travel with the icebreaker Oden to the Arctic in the spring.

Ulf Ahlberg, Workshop Technician, Technical Division, Fysikum
Ulf Ahlberg, Research Engineer, Technical Division, Fysikum

The ArtofMELT (Atmospheric rivers and the onset of sea ice melt) project aims to study the effects of episodic transport of warm and moist air from the mid-latitudes to the Arctic.

The expedition is carried out in the Arctic Ocean, based on the icebreaker Oden, and aims to understand the interaction between the Arctic and the mid-latitudes, and what happens at the onset of the annual sea ice melt process.
Oden's activities are divided into icebreaking and research, depending on the season. For research activities, there are fixed containers on board, and a number of locations for project-specific lab containers.
- At the moment, we are working on the layout of a lab container that will be delivered to Oden in the spring and go up to the Arctic - the North Pole. Some design changes are being refined in CAD (computer-aided design), new parts are being cut and welded in the workshop for the upcoming assembly and test run of the researchers' equipment in late winter.

He kept his technical interest during the years

Ulf has completed a polytechnic course in Tool Technology at Campus Värnamo, with a focus on industry. The course is under the auspices of Jönköping University of Technology.
- I studied science at secondary school, and after studying music and boat building, I drove a bus part-time for many years, to keep up with the renovation of my childhood boat.  Through the education in Värnamo I got an internship at the Technical Department at Fysikum and since the new year I am employed full time.

In his spare time Ulf restores a large wooden boat

- It's a 24-ton former oak pilot boat, "Mare Balticum", which my father and others used as a diving platform for wreck-laying. For example, they located the wreck of the regal ship Kronan in 1980. After my father's death, the boat was sold in 1994, but it returned to the family in 2006, in a deplorable condition. I replaced the rods and 60% of the planking in 2015 and now the whole deck is being replaced.

The industry needs to recruit more people with workshop skills

- There is a huge shortage of technical skills in the industry, retirements in the next few years are very high, and training is scarce. The Tool Technology programme in Värnamo is four semesters long, recently changed to distance learning, and a large part is made up of internships at home. You need to have a strong interest in technology, experience in metalworking is a plus but makes it easier. Curiosity and attention to detail are welcome qualities.

More information

The ArtofMELT (Atmospheric rivers and the onset of sea ice melt) research project at the Polar Research Secretariat

The ArtofMELT at MISU (Department of Meteorology) and the Department of Environmental Sciences at Stockholm University

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