Our Industry Person of the Week is Joana Mailharrancin, Hydraulic Design Engineer CEng, at INDAR.
Q: How did you get started working in your field?
Joana: Before being in the Pumping Industry, I started my Engineering career within the Aerospace Industry. When I was younger, I was really interested in planes, and even had the chance to flying them! I started flying when I was 17, and passed my full Private Pilot License when I was 19, thanks to grants I got through competitive exams and working on little jobs.
One foot on a plane, the other one at the School of Engineering, I had my first Engineering experiences with internships I did in Aerospace companies, working on fighter and business jets, as well as helicopter and aircraft engines.
After my MSc thesis in the field of Aeroelasticity and Machine Learning, I was contracted by Rolls-Royce in the UK, working on aircraft engine compressors. The most memorable opportunities I was given were probably to work on the LiftFan engine, which allows the F-35B to land vertically, and the opportunity to work with the Oxford University.
Back in 2018, after 5 years in the UK, I decided to move back closer to my family who were living in the South of France. Instead of going back there, I decided to take Spanish lessons to move to the Basque town of San Sebastian, near the Spanish border. This is when I got contracted by Ingeteam Indar Machines to work as a R&D Mechanical Engineer. Since then, I transitioned to my current position as a Hydraulic Design Engineer. This is how my feet took off in Aerospace, and landed in the Pumping Industry!
Q: What do you love the most about your job? What are you most proud of?
Joana: One of the most interesting things I find about working at Ingeteam Indar Machines, is the fact that we have a large-scale comprehensive test bench, where we can test all of our pumps, ranging from 8 to 100-inch diameter pumps. This facility is amazing, and it allows us to test machines every single day. Being able to test our pumps so often is an excellent opportunity to further improve our designs and develop new ones.
On the other side, compared to my previous jobs in the Aerospace Industry, product development is really fast-paced, which I really enjoy, and I got a broader view on how a business works as a whole. In fact, I like the fact I can understand how every department from R&D, Commercial, Operations and Purchase teams work together to deliver our products.
I get pride from my work when my technical contributions are approved and used to improve our products. I believe that the best way to convince a group of people to find and apply new methods or technologies, is to be transparent, share all the knowledge, and make everybody involved in the process.
Q: What advice would you give to someone considering this line of work or new to the field?
Joana: I would say, learn from the most experienced colleagues, and learn about the product: how they are designed, manufactured, and how they operate.
I also think it’s essential to evaluate customer´s expectations and adapt the design solutions to their needs. If you are given the opportunity, go as often as possible to visit installations to see where and how the machines operate, in real conditions.
Last but not least, try teaming-up or working on projects with people who have expertise or skills you don’t have, and which can complement yours. You will learn from each other, and I do think that the most diverse teams produce the best solutions.
Q: Can you talk about a project you recently worked on?
Joana: The last memorable project I have worked on is the Carlsbad project back in 2020, when I got the opportunity to take part to the installation of our axial fish-friendly pumps. The customers explained to us how beneficial it was to them to have these pumps in order to pump sea water without harming marine life. Besides, it was interesting to see that the needs of the different stakeholders could differ depending on whether they were the contracting customers, the builders, or the end-users operating the pumps. This kind of experience is always an excellent opportunity to see how our products and services can be further improved.
On the other side, the Carlsbad trip had been interesting because it coincided almost perfectly with the COVID-19 crisis, in March 2020. In fact, when we left San Sebastian for the USA, the COVID was only in the news, mainly covering the situation in Asia. A few days after we arrived there, Spain was going into lockdown, and within hours, the American channels were announcing cancelations of all NBA basketball events, and very quickly after, the interruption of all flights from Europe. Therefore, we left a bit earlier in emergency, which was a really strange experience.
Thankfully, we managed to get back to a locked-down Europe safely. Since the pandemic situation, I haven’t returned to the USA, but I will go back soon with my more Senior colleague, in order to be introduced to the Hydraulic Institute. This should be interesting!
Q: Anything else you would like to add?
Joana: If you are interested in Ingeteam Indar Machines or would like to get more information about our products, I invite you to visit our LinkedIN pages:
If you would like to visit our facilities, our seaside is a very nice place to visit most of the year.
Connect with Joana on LinkedIn.
THANK YOU, JOANA! WE LOOK FORWARD TO KEEPING UP WITH YOU THROUGH THE #PUMPTALK COMMUNITY!
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