Sweden’s Höganäs AB has announced that Ulf Engström has retired from his role as Interim Manager PM Business Development, after working with the company for forty-three years.
Engström joined Höganäs in 1977 and has been involved in the development of some of the company’s most successful products. During his career he has trained thousands of customers and colleagues, and been awarded the prestigious Kami Prize, amongst other industry recognitions.
“I’m going to miss brainstorming and testing new ideas,” stated Ulf Engström.
Engström’s employment at Höganäs was initially split between handling patent cases and developing products. At that time, the business consisted of five divisions, of which only one worked with metal powder.
Hans Söderhjelm, Senior Vice President of Research & Development, stated, “Metal powder is a unique material, which was not understood in the beginning. It is fascinating how such small particles can build so many different components, which are almost as strong as solid products.”
Explaining that Engström has been indispensable for the development and success of metal powders, Söderhjelm added, “Ulf was the one who drove the metal powder market forward by dramatically improving the powder’s performance and quality. When he started at Höganäs, around 50,000 tonnes of powder were sold for PM and a total of 100,000 tonnes of iron powder. In recent years, sales have reached almost 400,000 tonnes for PM and around 100,000 tonnes for other powders.”
In the early 2000s, Engström was responsible for the company’s technology centre in Stony Creek, USA, and in the 2010s he had a similar role in Shanghai, China.
“I was asked if I could go to the US in early 2001, to take care of technical support. It was a challenge. But I wanted to work more closely with customers and help them find solutions, while at the same time train employees,” added Engström.
The company explains that sharing experiences and knowledge has been a recurring theme throughout his career and many colleagues can testify to the humble and curious engineer who always wanted to bring out the best in his co-workers.
In recognition of his influence and work in Powder Metallurgy, Höganäs established the Ulf Engström Award in 2016 to encourage and recognise employee contributions to technical advancements and expanded commercial use of PM technology.
Caroline Larsson, who heads the Materials & Products team within Electro & Mechanical Technologies and who was awarded the Ulf Engström Award in 2018, commented, “Ulf is very knowledgeable and generous and is happy to share his ideas. He is a fantastic mentor.”
According to Höganäs, after forty-three years of faithful service to metal powder, a welcome retirement awaits. There is no doubt that Engström will miss Höganäs and the metal powder industry, but the question is whether they will miss him more.
“In short, Ulf is Höganäs’ Mr PM. In fact, you could probably say that he is the world’s Mr PM,” concluded Söderhjelm.