Telemark’s contributions: From mining to modern aircraft tech

Photo: Bjorn Olsen
The brothers behind the de-icer machine, Svein Gunnar Mæland (left, vice president) and Glenn Stian Mæland.

Bjorn Olsen
Skien, Norway

The county of Telemark and its municipality of Seljord have contributed to the advancement of Norwegian society time and time again. The region has a long and mighty history in farming as well as large mining operations for the extraction of silver and copper dating back to the 1500s, with the first Norwegian speciedaler coming from Seljord (see “Of mining, money & misfortune” in the February 5, 2016, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly).

Telemark has been home to many famous Norwegian historical figures, including skier Sondre Norheim from Morgedal, Snowshoe Thompson from Tinn, and Sterke-Nils from Seljord, as well as many others. The area also experienced great emigration to America in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Today, the population of Telemark continues to make important developments, ranging from woodworking techniques to modern technology.

Photo: Bjorn Olsen
The model is powered by an electric motor that takes the plane through a de-icer hall where nozzles spread de-icer chemicals evenly across the fuselage and wings.

Modern aircraft technology in Seljord
Two brothers from Seljord, Svein Gunnar and Glenn Stian Mæland, have developed a de-icer construction used for aircraft. They started the company MSG Production AS in order to develop the machine, which transports the plane through a hall where de-icer chemicals are sprayed on the entire fuselage and wings. The nozzles are controlled digitally and are suited to different types of aircraft. The de-icer operation takes just five to ten minutes and can be operated by only one person. All chemicals return to separate tanks for reuse.

The Mæland brothers moved the business from Seljord and Bø down to Skien Airport, Geiteryggen. This is an airport without route flights, but it is still an approved airport, and the move was advantageous for the airport’s future business.

Photo: Bjorn Olsen
Skien airport, Geiteryggen, where a de-icer facility will be built during 2017. In the background, you can see the town of Skien.

Munich Inter Airport Europe exhibition
The European airline business has shown great interest in the de-icer. In 2015 the model was exhibited at the world’s largest airport exhibition, the Inter Airport Europe, in Munich. The event included more than 600 exhibitors from 44 countries with a total of more than 12,000 international industry experts from various airports, airlines, air cargo companies, and other aerospace affiliations.

The company received excellent responses at the exhibition. Demonstrations of the de-icer machine in Skien have already been given to several countries.

Support from the EU
At the end of December 2016, the EU allocated EUR 2.5 million (approximately NOK 22 million) to the brothers and their company to develop their product.

The company has plans to build a full-size model at Skien Airport, Geiteryggen, this year. In addition, a Boeing 737 will be permanently stationed at the airport, which will serve as a training center.

So far, Norway’s main airport Gardermoen has announced that it needs four machines, and Torp International Airport in Sandefjord has also expressed interest.

This article originally appeared in the Feb. 24, 2017, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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