Sebastian Smed started his personal journey at Ovako as a summer temp in 2010 - but Sebastian is actually the fourth generation in an unbroken line of the Smed family to work at Ovako in Hällefors. Ever since that summer, he has continued progressing within the company and in addition to his role as a process operator at the rolling mill, Sebastian is also a safety and union representative for IF Metall.
What attracted you to Ovako?
I think it was probably the family-like atmosphere. My family has worked at Ovako all the way back to my great grandfather’s day and my dad also works here now, as a matter of fact, in Heat Treatment. I didn’t know a lot of people when I first started here, but it felt like they all knew me, thanks to their relationships with my family! It was a bit like it was me who got to “take the credit” for all the mischief great-granddad and the others had gotten up to here over the years. I grew up hearing stories about Christmas Eve and birthday celebrations and what it was like here at the old steel mill, so Ovako is close to my heart, and that of the whole town.
What is a typical day like for you?
There is a great deal of variation in my job. A lot of it has to controlling the mill train yourself - controlling the rolling mill by adjusting the speed, for example, and monitoring various processes like temperature and oils. I also take and prepare samples, such as for dimension checks and lab tests. A lot of people might not think so, but it is actually something of an art to control everything, since we use various tools to make a lot of manual adjustments. It takes a while to learn how to do that!
In my roles as a safety and union rep for IF Metall, I work non-stop to ensure that everyone perceives the workplace as safe and secure, and I am also there to advise anyone who has concerns about safety issues or the work environment.
What is the most fun aspect of your job?
When you get right down to it, the most fun is that the rolling mill is such a unique workplace! A lot of people have to work smoothly together, so there are always good discussions and input about how we can optimize our work. It is a huge building and a lot of machinery to be controlled with only three cabs, so it is not just pushing a button and starting up. Preventive analysis of operations and potential problems and asking questions like “what’s the best way to do this?” gives us a lot of scope for thought, and that stimulates me. There is a great deal that is special about working at a rolling mill and having the communication that you really must have together, especially from a safety perspective. The whole thing is really built on a special sense of fellowship and an atmosphere that I really enjoy.
What do you do when you are not on the job at Ovako?
I have three kids, so there is a lot of family time at home. We like to get together with other families with kids and try to do something fun every weekend. Personally, I like playing guitar whenever I have the time - classic rock! When all three - family, friends and the guitar - work together, that is when I am happiest!