Introducing our experts: Matti Hirvonen, designer
From vehicle inspection mechanic to designer
Three years ago, Matti Hirvonen left his job as a vehicle inspection mechanic to work as a mechanical designer for Simetek. His change of career was spurred on by his own interests: restoring and refurbishing machines, tractors, and cars. The skills and know-how he gained through his hands-on work combined with his engineering studies aided his transition to design work. Hirvonen also has some experience with the construction industry.
“I’ve welded and built all kinds of things with my dad in his shop ever since I was 13 years old. In design work, it’s really useful to know what steel to use when and where, and how it behaves when welding. When doing practical work, you also notice what problems might crop up during assembly. They don’t necessarily come to mind when you’re working at a computer,” says Hirvonen.
His experience working with steel means that occasionally you’ll find Hirvonen in the machine shop side of production. There he often works as a foreman, but also handles anything else that requires production. One of his most recent foreman tasks was the installation of a coarse crushed stone tipping cone with an eight-metre-diameter for a Yara mine.
“Another foreman task was implementing a crushing station built on to the trailer of a truck. I helped the installation engineers and welders as necessary, and assisted with assembly.”
One of Hirvonen’s favourite projects was the design of access and maintenance platforms to be installed at a height of 20 metres on a customer’s premises, which he handled independently from start to finish. He first visited the premises, laser scanned the site in question, and then completed the design work. Hirvonen most often begins work by laser scanning a site.
“Laser scanning provides dimensions and distances directly from the scanning data and you can really get hands-on with the interfaces, like walls and floors. That makes design work quicker and easier. Laser scanning also helps installation, since the environment around the device to be installed is always with you in models and drawings,” says Hirvonen.
One of his most challenging jobs was the design of elevators connected to railroad wagon unloading equipment for Oy Rauanheimo Ab at Mussalo Harbour, but he also succeeded in completing that job and the customer was very satisfied with the end result.
Hirvonen considers his change of career to have been a success. Every day I learn something new and keep my mind active, as my job requires me to continually develop. He also enjoys the cordial atmosphere at Simetek, where employees have a sense of humour even while they work.
“You can be yourself here, there’s no need to play a role. Everyone is really laid-back.”
Hirvonen lives in a detached house in Siilinjärvi together with his wife and 6-year-old son. He has also built a 65-square-metre building for his leisure-time projects, where he can spend time after work. Hirvonen is currently working on restoring one of Simetek’s old trucks. The truck is a 1969 model and the chassis is in such poor condition that it needs to be replaced almost entirely.