John Crane Celebrates National Engineers Week

Spotlight Q&As From Around the Globe

February 21, 2019 | 8 minute read

At John Crane, engineers are the cornerstone of our business, and we are proud to celebrate their many achievements and contributions—especially during National Engineers Week.

The work our engineers deliver each day is vital to making life better for our customers and the many industries we’re privileged to serve. National Engineers Week encourages public dialogue about the need for engineers and bringing practical applications to life to continue advancing the industry.

The theme of this year’s National Engineers Week is “Engineers: Invent Amazing.” The event has been celebrated in the United States since its creation in 1951 to highlight the important contributions engineers have made to our society, and to also promote the importance of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) among future generations of engineers.

As our industry continues to transform itself in a time of widespread technological innovation and changing customer expectations, it is our responsibility to ensure the next generation of employees has the imagination and skills necessary to thrive in a world of new challenges and opportunities.

As a way of celebrating National Engineers Week, we would like to take the time to recognize several of our engineers from around the globe that make it possible for John Crane to continue its trajectory of innovation and outstanding service:

Antony GeorgeName: Antony George

Location: Dubai, UAE

Job Title: Senior Application Engineer

What are the primary responsibilities of your role?

I handle technical queries for the Middle East and Africa regions. I work within our end user territories to provide upgrade and retrofit product selections, provide service support with our First Fit team, and support the Sales team by creating hunting guides and project proposals, and attending customer meetings. I also support John Crane internally by helping our Customer Service, Manufacturing, Quality and Data teams.

What made you choose engineering as a career field?

I’ve always had an inclination toward engineering, and believed I could bring the best out of myself by pursuing a career in this field. Of course, it’s always nice to do what you love and earn a living from it.

What makes John Crane such a great place to work?

There are various reasons, but my top three include:

  • I have the freedom to be creative and learn new skills at work
  • John Crane operates in an ethical and safety-first work environment
  • I am able to divide my energy between home and work priorities, which creates a healthy work-life balance.

Brian KalfrinName: Brian Kalfrin

Location: Pasadena, TX Supercenter

Job Title: Senior Regional Engineering Manager

What are the primary responsibilities of your role?

I am the engineering lead for the U.S. Gulf Coast Region. This region includes the majority of Texas, Louisiana, and portions of Arkansas, Alabama and Florida.

My responsibilities include providing design engineering oversight and analysis, and formulating recommendations to help support the John Crane team within this region, and our greater customer base. Typically, I’m involved with addressing challenging problem applications along with evaluating existing and proposed mechanical seals using more advanced computer tools. I also get involved with both internal and external training activities. I am currently a member of the Texas A&M Pump Users Symposium Advisory Committee and the API 682 5th Edition Taskforce, which is the governing international standard for the design and application of mechanical seals.

What made you choose engineering as a career field?

At an early age, I recall being interested in how things work and how to fix things. There was always a disassembly of a toy involved in my youth, especially when I discovered hand tools. I remember my father commenting that I “would be a good engineer.” When I asked what that was, he told me it was someone who solved problems and made things work better. Since then, I don’t think I’ve ever deviated from that track. As I progressed further in grade school and later into college, that curiosity of determining how things work and how to solve problems evolved.

What was the most fun/innovative project that you’ve been a part of at John Crane?

This is a difficult question as I have been a part of many interesting projects during my 18-year career with John Crane. During this time, my most enjoyable projects have been the ones that resulted in solving a problem.

Most recently, I was involved with addressing problematic mechanical seals in an ethylene service for a customer on the Gulf Coast. This application was very difficult, sealing a light hydrocarbon at low temperature (-16 F) and high speed (5200 RPM). Working closely with the customer’s reliability engineers, my team and I were able to come up with engineered solutions to address the seal issues. This included detailed analysis of the proposed changes along with creative hardware design work. To date, the culmination of these modifications has been a very reliable seal for the customer.

What makes John Crane such a great place to work?

John Crane is a great company to work for as it has never shied away from being innovative and allowing its people to do the same. Even in my early days as a young engineer with John Crane, I was always encouraged to look at designs and make suggestions based on what I felt would make a real impact. Having this freedom to make decisions really helps one grow and develop professionally.

John Crane has provided me with opportunities to participate in numerous aspects of the business, from product development to product support in the field. Some of the most successful John Crane products throughout the years have been developed by addressing an immediate need in the field, by people directly involved with those issues. This is a testament to John Crane’s culture of promoting innovation throughout the organization.

Kari LaitinenName: Kari Laitinen

Location: Muurame, Finland

Job Title: Technical and Engineering Manager

What are the primary responsibilities of your role?

I take care of design engineering and development related to John Crane Safematic products (e.g., seals and sealing systems). This roles includes responsibilities such as supporting global sales through providing new designs and sometimes new product ideas for our First Fit and end user customers. I also support our manufacturing sites in producing these products, and our service sites in refurbishing them.

What made you choose engineering as a career field?

I would say it was a lucky shot. I was planning to go to school to study physics after my military service, but did not pass the exams on my first attempt. However, I was later admitted to a technical institute and earned a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering. To my surprise, I soon realized that physics related to more hands-on topics, which is what I was looking for. I had my first internship in the mechanical seal field in 1996, and I haven’t looked back since!

What was the most fun/innovative project that you’ve been a part of at John Crane?

My favorite project was that of working with one of our customers to figure out a problem with a seal installation in one of their pump ranges. I had designed a patented double seal using patented super elastic drive pins for a new pump range. There had been some breakages of those pins due to commissioning problems, and we were trying to sort out how this came to be. It looked as though the pins were damaged when the barrier connection couplings were installed; however, I knew this wasn’t possible as there were no forces affecting the pins during installation. It then struck me to replace the metal pins in question with wooden toothpicks from our canteen, then install the seal and barrier connections to show that nothing happened to them. By doing this, we were able to quickly help the customer sort out the issue.

What makes John Crane such a great place to work?

John Crane gives me the chance to work on interesting, real-life technical challenges with great colleagues, and allows me to make a difference when I succeed.

Rui LiuName: Rui Liu

Location: Tianjin, China

Job Title: Gas Seal Design Leader

What are the primary responsibilities of your role?

I am a dry gas seal application and design engineer, working on the dry gas seal product line. I am responsible for the general assembly of dry gas seals, designing and drawing up new seal parts, and seal standardization.

What made you choose engineering as a career field?

When I was a child, I liked to disassemble and assemble toys. As a student, I enjoyed studying mathematics, physics and chemistry. I am specifically interested in geometry, mechanical design and mechanical drawing. I have a Masters degree in chemical process engineering, and after I graduated from college, I chose John Crane to work as a design engineer. I am proud to say I am still working here after 10 years.

What was the most fun/innovative project that you’ve been a part of at John Crane?

Working on the standardization of dry gas seal design and establishing test part databases have been some of my favorite projects.

Seal standardization work encompasses the design process—compiling part structures and part drawings, implementing design calculations, gathering guidance documents, and creating test design and framework standardizations. The seal standardization process provides design engineers with rules of consistency to follow when it comes to seal design, which reduces the number of overall design drawings and error rates. When it comes to seal standardization, I am always working to update and improve the design processes.

The work of establishing a test database primarily includes drawing the arrangement of test parts, key dimension input of test parts and borrow management of test parts. This work makes it easier to facilitate the inventory management of test parts, improve the speed of part selection during test design, reduce the number of new parts processed, and thereby reduce the overall cost of the test.

What takes John Crane such a great place to work?

John Crane has a good company culture and excellent company leadership that creates a positive working environment. The company gives me many challenging job and learning opportunities that allow me to improve my skillset.

Atomu OnoName: Atomu Ono

Location: Shiga, Japan 

Job Title: Engineering Lead, Engineering Group

What are the primary responsibilities of your role?

I’m a team lead for engineering support for John Crane’s Indufil filtration product portfolio, as well as the API682 wet seal engineering product line.

What made you choose engineering as a career field?

I’ve always been interested in mechanical products—from how they operate to how they are built. When I was a college student, I found my passion and enjoyed experimenting with various mechanical products, from the design stage to the operation phase.

What was the most fun/innovative project that you’ve been a part of at John Crane

Working on the filtration product line has been one of my favorite projects. Working in unison with Sales, my team supported the largest filter order, in terms of product size to date for a power generation company in Japan.

What makes John Crane such a great place to work?

The people that work at John Crane are what makes the company such a great place to work. John Crane is also a company that will challenge me to constantly improve and grow my skill set.

Prashanthi TirunagariName: Prashanthi Tirunagari

Location: Morton Grove, Illinois

Job Title: Senior Staff Engineer, New Product Development 

What are the primary responsibilities of your role? 

I design and develop sealing solutions for more challenging pump applications while also working to minimize environmental impact.

What made you choose engineering as a career field?

I enjoyed taking math in high school, and was attracted to the physical problem solving techniques. I chose mechanical engineering for my career path because it gives me the tools and techniques to develop the most innovative product solutions.

What was the most fun/innovative project that you’ve been a part of at John Crane?

I’m currently managing two New Product Development projects. The aim of these projects is to introduce two new John Crane products to the pipeline and high viscous pump application markets.

Additionally, last year, a colleague and I were given the opportunity to author an article titled “Advanced Computational Technologies for Mechanical Seal Analysis” for the publication Pumps and Systems.

What makes John Crane such a great place to work?

The work culture in John Crane is diverse, ethical and passionate, and its commitment to employee safety makes it a great place to work.

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