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Volvo Aero, a variety in R&D

E. Jardin & C. Schoch

Aurélien Tricoire has a PhD in engineering sciences from the University of Limoges. Two years ago, he went with Volvo Aero in Sweden.  What does he do with his time?

In the Volvo Aero research and development  (R&D) department on surface treatments, three types of projects labeled "D." are involved.
-First of all, researchers are working on future airplane engine parts that are only in the design stage, and secondly they work on Volvo group projects (Volvo Powertrain and Volvo Construction Equipment). "In this capacity, I try to transfer the deposit technology applied to aircraft engines to trucks," Aurélien explains, which represents sizable financial stakes because in production, the scales are totally different.  It involves going from a small-scale production of 4000 parts max per year for planes, to several hundred thousand for trucks.  -Thirdly, there are European projects involving public research labs as well as private ones through which funds are raised in exchange for sharing results.  Volvo generally contributes its own funds to pursue its research internally and with complete confidentiality.

"R- oriented" R&D projects are given to PhD candidates whose assignment is to prepare the groundwork for new sets of problems.  But the R&D center’s activity doesn't stop there.  It also works downstream. "We provide support to production if problems arise. Our mission is to analyze and understand why there was a problem and how to correct it," Aurélien explains. And one of the labs in the department does tests on samples to approve surface treatments and authorize the part to be sent to the client.  In short no time to twiddle your thumbs!