How we work: Collaboration with Silicon Valley Start-ups

It’s all about innovation: GKN Sinter Metals has partnered with RocketSpace, a global network of services and technology campuses, to improve the Smart Quality system.

This is GKN’s second partnership with RocketSpace, after successfully launching InstAMetal, an ecommerce platform for metal 3D printing. RocketSpace introduces global companies with tech start-up companies in hopes of launching innovative programs.

We spoke with GKN Sinter Metals Quality Engineer Taylor Lacey - who is spending five weeks in San Francisco, California at RocketSpace - on her journey through GKN and its innovation culture.

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Let’s talk about you first – what do you do inside and outside of GKN?

I am a Quality Engineer, and I’ve been with GKN for just under two years now. I am currently working with the RocketSpace team on a Smart Quality Project, where we’re incorporating innovation and technology into the quality area to make operators’ and engineers’ lives better.

In my spare time – I love to practice yoga, eat, cook, and be outdoors in San Francisco. I also run a personal blog all about being a female engineer, my adventures in the city, and everything in between.

Why did you join the team at GKN Sinter Metals?

I was a part of the National Society of Black Engineers in college, and GKN Sinter Metals funded a few of our activities. I learned about the GRAD program at a career fair, and I knew females who talked highly of GKN before. I came in ready to learn, ready to absorb everything I could, and I’ve gotten to do my job very well.

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Explain the partnership with RocketSpace. What does the project entail? How has RocketSpace helped GKN?

The Smart Quality Project has three parts that we’re working on with RocketSpace’s help:

  • Automated measurement – we want to automate measurements in line to the process or automated 100 perfect sorting options
  • Smart control limits – automating control limit calculations and considering upstream process limits based on the final part tolerances
  • Smart FMEAs – automating some or all of the FMEA creation process using a new customer print

We meet with RocketSpace consultant to discuss our goals, and they facilitate conversations with tech start-ups that could really benefit our company. Without this partnership, I don’t think we would have found the amount of global talent we have so far. RocketSpace has access to start-ups that we couldn’t have even dreamed to be working with.

What does Innovation Culture mean to you, and what does GKN do to encourage that environment?

To me, Innovation Culture is moving toward the Industry 4.0 plan – less paper, more automation, and making data digital and accessible. This is the mindset of ‘what is the next area for our company to be moving to?’

Partnering with RocketSpace shows that our company is taking steps to be a leading innovator. We’re looking more at how to get information in different places for analysis, and recording in a digital way. I think we’ll be in a good direction for the future because of this digitalization.