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Meet an employee at IFA

Monthly contribution from Torben Hyltoft Thomsen, Research Technician

Photo: Torben Hyltoft Thomsen (PURE)
Photo: Torben Hyltoft Thomsen (PURE)

Briefly explain your path to IFA/AU. Where have you been before?

"I was born and raised in Aarhus and the surrounding area, where I come from a family consisting of craftsmen, primarily in the metal trade. I went to Upper secondary school and completed the mathematics/physics student exam. I were considering to become a machine engineer. After upper secondary school, I wanted to let the books and the lessons rest for a bit, so I started a training programme as a machine worker, what is currently called industrial technician. I was employed by a company called AMC-Schou, which was housed at the port of Aarhus at Skolebakken, just across from the Cathedral school. I felt so good about my profession that I stayed in it. I then took a technical education in economics and organisation. It is basic subject you should use to work with production management. For a couple of years, I worked for Terma Electronics in Lystrup with quality assurance and PTA, came back to AMC-Schou and I were also employed at Kamstrup in Stilling. In spring 1998, IFA searched for a research technician with a skilled tradesman background, I applied for the job and was offered the position with start-up 1. May 1998. In retrospect, I have been lucky and privileged. I have been given the opportunity to work with many varied tasks and to learn new things all the time in collaboration with many different colleagues. At IFA, I was employed as research technician as metioned before. I am located in the group of construction, service and production. My tasks are service, repair, construction and installation of equipment that are used in the laboratories. My tasks have changed over time. In addition to the aforementioned, tasks have been added in the areas of procurement, procurement and invoicing, teaching at Workshop course as well as help and advice on the choice of products, etc."

What is the best thing about your job?

"I always enjoy my job, IFA is a fantastic place to work, and when you work together with talented and dedicated colleagues, this applies to students, researchers, the administration and the people in the workshop, construction and service, "What's not to like"."

What is your most proud work achievement?

"A specific task I remember with joy and a little pride. Former associate Professor Michael Budde, needed some water-cooled copper coils for his new research set-up, that would be able to handle a high current. Danfysik  wanted a lot of money to make these for him, and we had a chat about if it was possible to make these ourselves. We agreed that I should try to develop a technique to make the coils, which turned out to be more difficult than initially assumed. Several attempts were unsuccessful, the coils briefly ended and it was difficult to comply with the targets on the finished coil. However, in the end, we succeeded in getting the right idea to solve the task and, in collaboration with the construction group and the mechanic group, we could make the necessary tools so that the spools could be produced. A classic example of idea development and co-operation between the groups can develop us as a unite, and the technique has subsequently been used on other systems. Over the years, there has been a smooth technological development at the Department. In the workshop, the CNC machines have made their appearance, which has resulted in the ability to produce faster research equipment with more complex functions. The vacuum pumps have changed from being oil lubricated to dry pumps, which has reduced genes such as bad odors, oil spills and pollution of research equipment. Controllers have become smarter and there has been a more reliable product in the vacuum market. These are all things that have changed my daily work life."