With curiosity as a driving force

Already at the age of three he was making simple drawings and soon he was taking all types of devices and gadgets to pieces in pursuit of the secrets hidden therein. Today, Per Finander is an electrical design engineer at Saab. Although his hobby is now his profession, his curiosity about the future remains undimmed.

Per’s journey at Saab began with a summer job. A few years later he did his thesis at the company and by the year 2000, he had taken up employment in a department that dealt with service for various weapon systems. Word of his ingenuity quickly spread and when an electrical design engineer was about to retire, Per was invited to take over the role. What had been his hobby now became his profession.

Solutions for reliable testing

As a design engineer, Per develops electronics and software for customized systems for measurement and data collection, as well as intelligent test adapters, which are used in several projects within the department.

– At Saab, we work primarily with military systems that often have very long services lives. In order to repair old systems, we must be able to test the electronics reliably, which is difficult when much of the old technology no longer exists. Therefore we have to build entirely new test equipment, explains Per Finander.

Knowledge of how to develop solutions for circuit board testing is uncommon today. For Saab, this competence is very important as the company has contract customers that require both maintenance and reference systems to be available.

Useful even outside Saab

Per also works with consultancy assignments outside of Saab. For example, the Department of Forestry and Wood Technology at the Linnaeus University in Växjö, where he has been involved in the development of an advanced, embedded system for measuring moisture, temperature and vibrations in wooden houses.

– The system makes it possible to follow how the wood in the building evolves and is affected – from the construction phase and further through the building’s entire life cycle, says Per Finander.

Here together with Bertil Enquist, Research Engineer, Department of Building Technology, Linnaeus University

 

The measurement system is a prototype that is envisaged for future use in a planned residential area in Växjö.

– I have developed the circuit boards and programmed them to collect the measurement values. I also have been involved in installing the system on site, laid and connected cables and really worked hands on, which has been very stimulating, says Per Finander and continues:

– The system has been up and running since the spring 2018 and although there have been disruptions now and then, it works just fine. In this project I have learnt a lot about wood and other things, but it is also about being part of the driving force and gaining experience from so many different projects. 

A creative problem solver

Per’s working day is often split between a number of different projects, but this in no way detracts from his job satisfaction. He is happy with his work. 

– It’s because of the variation that I have stayed here at Saab for so long and what I appreciate most with my job is the problem solving in the design phase, identifying the real problem, and then finding the optimal solution, adds Per Finander.

Technology in constant evolution

During the eighteen years Per has worked at Saab, the field of electronics has developed exponentially. Previously, everything was built by hand. Now, ready-made development boards and sensors are used instead.

– This means I don’t have to spend as much time on design and programming as I did before. Today, there are also ready-to-use development kits that have simplified the whole development process. This allows me to spend more time on problem solving and increasingly less on soldering and building circuit boards, says Per Finander.

First to control his home electronically?

Long before the digital home was a concept, Per Finander had created it. This began when he got his first computer – a Commodore 64 – and learned how to program. Soon there was an electronic door opener as well as a system for controlling the lighting. Over the years, Per has further developed and refined his system and today he can monitor and control lighting, TV, heating, greenhouse irrigation and much more via his computer or mobile phone.

– Really convenient when you are working or on the move. I immediately receive a notification if something isn’t working and make sure it is rectified. Sometimes it doesn’t work as it should and on occasion the lights have come on during the night and the TV has started up, says Per Finander.

Taking steps in another direction

Although electronics still plays a major role in his life, Per has acquired a leisure time distraction. 

– When one devotes almost all of their waking hours to electronics, it may sometimes be beneficial to think about and do something completely different. To dance, for example. Not only is it fun but it’s also good exercise. It’s also a perfect way of recharging the batteries in preparation for new electronic challenges.

Room for unique skills and know-how 

Much of Saab’s innovative capacity is based on the fact that we have employees such as Per Finander. Specialists with unique knowledge and experience who are passionate about their area and who have the ability to approach challenges and problems from an unexpected or completely different direction.