Air Travel is considered the safest mode of transportation in terms of number of yearly fatalities per total flights. A telling statistic, given the risks of travelling more than 30000 ft above ground in a pressurised chamber with the only thing separating us from disaster being the fuselage!

Shiva Swamy, our next pathbreaker, Stress Engineer at AMM GmBh, analyses the materials used in Aero Structures for strength, stability and durability.

Shiva talks to Shyam Krishnamurthy from The Interview Portal about being able to make a direct impact on safe travel by providing strength justifications to the materials of the parts used in many space vehicles and Airbus commercial aircrafts.

For students, our flights are safe because of Aerospace engineers. Be one of them !

Shiva, tell us about your background?

I am Shiva Swamy Gurusiddaiah born to typical Indian agriculturalists in a small village Kuderu in Chamarajanagara District, Karnataka. I grew up with small but usual dreams playing with my schoolmates in my native.

I finished my school in in Kannada medium and moved to Mysore for 10+2 studies in the science stream. I had very good science and mathematics teachers in school which prepared me for a career in physical sciences after my primary education. I developed interest in physics and geometry throughout my schooling. Those interests acted as a catalyst to my further studies and my career in mechanical and aerospace engineering.

As a result, I started my first job in Bangalore, as production and CAD design engineer, which transformed me all the way to my current role in Hamburg, Germany as a stress analysis engineer in the Aerospace domain.

What did you do for graduation/post graduation?

I did my bachelors degree (BE in Mechanical engineering) and masters (M.Tech in Aerospace Engineering) from Visveswaraiah Technical University. I did my M.Tech after 6 years of relevant working experience which helped me a lot in grasping the M.Tech subjects from the application point of view. My masters degree was challenging as I completed the course while working full time.

What made you choose such an offbeat, unconventional and fascinating career?

I had developed a strong interest in mathematics and physics by the end of school. Two teachers from my high school and my elder brother played a major key role in encouraging this interest. 

I moved to a nearby major city for my further studies which was a key turning point in my career that exposed me to the interesting science world. 

I was involved in the design of a scavenging system for a Helicopter Oil Pump test rig at HAL, Bangalore, and Design and analysis of Morphing wing structures for ADE (Dept of Aeronautical Engineering) at IISc Bangalore helped me a lot in understanding the engineering subjects at the industrial level. This experience also led me to do a masters in Aerospace.

How did you plan the steps to get into the career you wanted? Tell us about your career path

After finishing my bachelor’s degree, I took up a job in a small private production based company called Rajesh Exports Pvt. Ltd. in Bangalore. As a production engineer in this firm, we were designing machine tools using the CAD tool-AutoCAD, mechanical quality validations were my major roles.

From the time when I started my first job as production engineer, I was advancing my CATIA (computer-aided three-dimensional interactive application) knowledge, the basics of which I had learnt in my studies. This time my core interest in geometry made me move from Autocad to CATIA and I started looking for a change in job. As a result, I ended up as an Associate CAD engineer at Tyco Electronics Corporation Pvt. Ltd through Padmavathi Consultancy in Bangalore. This was a fascinating job which was based on my geometry knowledge. Reading the Electromechanical 2D drawings to obtain the masses of components and validating the calculated masses with the masses of manufactured components were the major experiences that helped me in my career. Down the time, I have realized, in mechanical industries, reading 2D drawings is a powerful skill for every mechanical engineer.

Within 2 years of time, the next opportunity placed me as a mechanical trainee engineer in Satyam Computers Pvt. Ltd. Hyderabad (now Tech Mahindra). The initial 6 months training on MSC Nastran, MSC Patran, Altair Hypermesh, GD&T, CAD tools etc. in CITD-Hyderabad opened my eyes to the CAE domain. After I moved from Hyderabad to Bangalore for an Aerospace project, I had a subsequent opportunity to connect my CAE (Computer Aided Engineering) knowledge with Aerospace structures. This was the time where my experiences started counting towards my current job. 

In 4 years of my association with this firm, I was engaged in the following major roles and bagged lot of real time experiences which were on Aerospace structures, Stress Analysis, Composite materials etc. 

  • Stress analysis of cabin interiors for DFJ, USA (The Dassault Falcon Jet)
  • Stress analysis of cabin interiors for HBC, USA (Hawker Beechcraft)
  • Stress and Fatigue justification for Airbus A380 fuselage structures for Airbus-France.
  • Thermal stress analysis of turbine blade for HAL, Bangalore.

By the time I left this company, I was successful in earning my masters with the support of my colleagues during my fulltime employment itself. My 2 years master’s study was very challenging. However, I successfully completed the degree while working at Tech Mahindra as the course was partially sponsored by the company.

In my first job after my masters degree, I worked as a stress engineer in Aspect Ratio Engineering Services GmbH, Augburg, Germany. My tasks were attention-grabbing and my career as stress engineer started from here, outside India.

  • FE creation in Airbus based tool called ISAMI (Structural Analysis through Multidisciplinary Integration) and detail FE creation in Altair Hypermesh for structural study.
  • Thermal, Static, Dynamic and Fatigue analysis and certification report preparations for door surrounded structures for Airbus A350-900 as per EASA and airbus methodologies.
  • Strain analysis and experimental validation of Aileron structures for Bombardier C series wing structures at GKN, Munich for GKN UK.

My next job was at Bruges area in Belgium where I was involved in the structural analysis of the flap actuation mechanical curved rack and pinion system for IRKUT MC-21 aircraft, Russia. I worked here for about two years at BMT aerospace in Belgium through a consulting company Verotech BVBA, Leuven area, Belgium.

Next, in 2015, I moved to Hamburg area in Germany to work at GOE (Group of Engineers) GmbH in the same designation. This time the similar Airbus tasks were more challenging as it was stress justification for composite material door surroundings for Airbus A350-1000. 

In the same industrial area, my current designation is as Senior stress engineer at AMM Enterprises GmbH in Hamburg area, Germany. Here iam involved in the following roles for the past 3+ years. 

  • Strength and stability study of electrical system brackets of the weather study satellite for Airbus Defense, Germany. 
  • Reporting of stress and fatigue strength for electrical system brackets for A350 wing structures for Airbus, UK.
  • Type certification analysis and report for Airbus A350-1000 aft fuselage structures for PAG through Alten Technologies, Germany.
  • Structural repair calculations (SRM) for Airbus A320 fuselage structures, Germany.

How did you get your first break?

When I was waiting for the right opportunity to start a new job after my masters in 2011, I decided to engage in some projects where I could use all my knowledge from master’s subjects. This was a right decision and I succeeded in winning a stress engineer job  in Aspect Ratio Engineering Services Pvt. Ltd. in Bangalore. Within the next three months, I was deputed to Aspect Ratio Engineering Services GmbH and landed in Augsburg, Germany to support Airbus A350-900 central fuselage stress project. I took the right decision immediately after masters, which landed me outside India on the right task, which was the perfect break in my career.

What were the challenges? how did u address them?

In my 15 years of working experience I have gone through many significant challenges a few of which are listed below:

  • Challenge 1: 

Since I successfully completed my masters along with my full time job, I had a hard time balancing both for about two years but managed it smoothly. The subjects in my masters and the topic on which I was working at my job were very similar and this helped me overcome the challenges. I was happy that I saved two years of time by studying masters part-time and by choosing the right branch which also helped me in my job.

  • Challenge 2: 

When I started my job all alone with Verotech BVBA in Belgium, I was completely responsible for carrying out the stress analysis of the aileron actuation system. The actuation system of an aircraft performs a safety critical function that ensures controllability. My knowledge from my bachelor‘s study on mechanical engineering was very much useful at this time. This was the time I realized and recalled all my mechanical engineering subjects to face the challenge of mechanical gear design.

  • Challenge 3:

As I started gaining more experience, it was obvious that I would be working on multiple tasks. Now in my current job i am involved in many design activities along with my specific tasks. This time the tasks are really hard to overcome as I am faced with many new concepts, new tools (tools for Mechanical and Electrical system installations) which i have never used in my career. I have spent a lot of time learning the required tools to meet the challenge. 

Where do you work now? 

Currently, I am working as senior stress engineer with AMM Enterprises GmbH in Hamburg, Germany. I am always solving some material strength related problem on a daily basis, related to aerospace wing installation brackets.

A strong knowledge of material strength, finite element model concepts, and documentation as per the standards are the major skills required in my current job.

In my daily routine, I receive several requests to create stress documents on a daily or weekly or monthly basis depending on the size of the structural parts. Below are the major tasks which I do in order to accomplish my job.

  1. Obtain the structural geometry from the design team.
  2. Analyze the geometry for methods to follow to justify the part as per the requirements / standards.
  3. Creation of FE(Finite Element) model or Hand calculation files depends on the method which I follow.
  4. Discuss the results with the responsible team and make a summary of the results before documenting the final report.
  5. Create the report to fulfil the purpose. 
  6. Rectify and justify the analyses (if any) performed by me in the report and provide the same service throughout the life cycle of the product.

How does your work benefit society? 

Before we adopt anything from science to practicality, everything must be validated for its functioning in the actual environment with or without minimum loss. Every space vehicle comes through the same process of design and validation before it serves the society. Hence, I consider my job as indirectly supporting the society by providing the strength justifications to the materials of the parts which are used in many space vehicles. Example: Airbus commercial aircrafts A350, A380, A320 etc.

Tell us an example of a specific memorable work you did that is very close to you!

The best work I did till now is the project which I carried out independently for Airbus A350 aircraft. The goal of the project was to create the certification report for composite door surroundings. I was responsible for analyzing the composite parts from scratch which provided me a lot of opportunities to learn the process and methods to follow as a stress engineer in the current industry.

Your advice to students based on your experience?

Based on my 15+ years of working experience in the aerospace structural domain, I suggest every student to spend as much of your valuable time to find what you truly like and just do it. I got all my jobs because I kept working towards my interest. 15 years ago when I started my first job in Tyco electronics on design activities, I had no idea that I’d become a professional aerospace engineer about what I love the most – aerospace structural analysis!

Future Plans?

I would like to become the best in the Aerospace structural analysis and serve the society through industrializing all my skills.