Our Production Wizards

The views and opinions expressed, are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Guideline Geo AB

The first time I had anything to do with the production of ABEM or MALÅ products was back in 1994. I was a ‘hang-around’ at university after my Master of Science degree and worked as a teaching assistant, doing some geophysical investigations in the name of science. Our department’s WADI and Terrameter SAS 300 worked fine but needed some love and care from time to time. And this was found at ABEM, at Hamngatan 27, a more-or-less magical place with electrical stuff, tools, instruments, more electrical gadgets, books and tools from floor to ceiling. The picture was completed by a bunch of nice guys, always happy to assist, from the smallest connector change to discussions on “how” and “why”. I am glad that Wissam, back from those days, is still my colleague!

Production took place within this organized chaos, and orange instruments were crafted and shipped all over the world. During the early 90s, two to three people undertook this handicraft, until the late 90s when 80% of the production was outsourced to larger electronics firms in Sweden.

I revisited Hamngatan 27 several times during my years as a PhD student (yes, being a ‘hang-around’ paid off) and always with a feeling that you never bothered anyone, or were considered to be any trouble, by being there.

In 2001, when my PhD was completed, I got work at the MALÅ Geoscience (as was) office in Stockholm and started off immediately with a visit to the headquarters at Skolgatan 11 in the village of Malå, in the middle of the beautiful nowhere, in Northern Sweden. Production and R&D were intertwined and, again, a place of geophysical magic, packed with electrical stuff; here, however, the amount of foil was clearly larger, the color was blue, and a few more people were present (in 1994 only five and in 2003 nine persons) transforming, what was to my eyes, just an electrical mess into trusted GPR equipment.

During the years after my first contact in 1994, the two companies have evolved, transformed, moved around and finally merged into Guideline Geo in 2012. The production has settled down and expanded in Malå, now on the other side of the street, in a large facility of 1750 sqm, where today both ABEM and MALÅ equipment are built.

You are, from the first step over the threshold, welcomed by a photo wall of all our talented engineers. All 25 working within Operations, including Assembly & Test, Production Technique, Service & Support, Logistics, Purchase and Planning. The youngest is 24 years and the oldest 63. Our newest member started one year ago and the one with the longest employment has been working for an amazing 44 years!

Our production area is a spacious, extremely well-organized hive of activity, yet somehow peaceful at the same time. As we work with electronics, parts of the assembly hall are restricted for visitors in ordinary clothes, all to avoid ESD (electrostatic discharge). In the production hall, you can follow the tiniest electrical piece from one table to the next, until: voilá – a field-ready Terrameter LS 2 or an Easy Locator Core, see the light of day.

The production process almost always starts with a confirmed order from a customer (or with a need to keep up the stock of popular products). This order is then checked and booked in our MPS (master production schedule). All items in the order that are not already on the shelf, are flagged with an “Attention” then the Purchase team makes sure that all necessary material and parts are available, and Assembly teams start the build. When all items are ready, on the shelf, a pick list is created and the items picked for that particular order. The system is tested once more, before packing and shipment. And, finally, the Logistics team makes sure the delivery from us to you runs as smooth as possible, to deliver world class geophysical equipment, safe and sound.

Today, ABEM and MALÅ together comprise almost 200 different hardware products. The number of single parts included is uncountable 😊. Some main products are always found on the shelf, but as every single order is unique, more or less every request also needs some assembly and testing before delivery. During a year thousands of components travel down the production line in our quiet corner of Northern Sweden.

By the time an order is ready for shipment, the equipment has passed tests in both hot and cold ovens, been subjected to fast-flowing water to test IP classification, verification measurements are done, tablets are configured, and results checked. Testing is done on circuit board-level, on part-level, and on the full end-product. So, I can just say: Handcrafted, Quality, Robustness. From start to end of the production chain. Equipment I always, since 1994, have been proud to use and rely on, to get my field work done in any conditions.

P.S Huge thanks to Jonny, Operations Manager and Wissam, Rental & Technical Sales Support, for valuable input!

Jaana Gustafsson, Applications Specialist, Phd

The views and opinions expressed, are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Guideline Geo AB