Innovative Thinkers

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The working world is changing – it’s getting faster, more digital and more diverse. The ability to con­tinually optimize and improve linked business processes is therefore a very important matter for ANDREAS STIHL AG & Co. KG. By training production engineers, the company is taking a step forward and playing a pioneering role in the Rems-Murr region. Trainee Philipp Kappich’s experience shows what this new profession is all about.

PHILIPP KAPPICH

BORN

In Stuttgart on January 30, 1997.

EDUCATION

High school diploma 2013, advanced high school diploma at the school of nutritional science in Waiblingen 2016.

Since September 2016, training as production engineer at STIHL.

Motivation

I get to work with nice people, get insights into different departments and can later help to ease the workload of my colleagues.

In-house training

The in-house STIHL training workshop in the Waiblingen Plant 6 is the starting point for all new apprentices. The production engineers spend the first few months there and learn the fundamentals of manual and mechanical metalworking and electrical engineering and electronics. In the adjoining junior center, they are then responsible, together with other apprentices, for the pre­paration and implementation of their own projects – such as a special demonstrative model of the new MS 500i saw, which will be made available to STIHL dealers for training purposes.

“It’s not just about optimizing new projects, but also continually improving existing processes.”
PHILIPP KAPPICH

QUALITY ASSURANCE

Just arrived and already on a project. That is the scene at almost every station Kappich goes through during his training. Being responsible for one’s own work and having an interest in new topics and fields of technology – without losing sight of the entire process – are prerequisites for Kappich’s future career. “Our job is not just to find an answer. Rather, it is about providing reliable information, which can be the basis for simplified and improved processes,” explains Kappich. Quality assurance focuses on a comparison of means of measuring: Which machines are suitable for which jobs, which measurements provide fast and reliable results?

VOCATIONAL SCHOOL IN AALEN

Paperless lessons – completely normal for Kappich and his classmates. The classes of the Technical School (TS) Aalen are very modern – each production engineer in the test class ­receives a tablet computer. The digital office is part of the lesson. There are hardly any paper worksheets. The TS in Aalen is one of only four schools in Germany that offer the academic support in this field. The major subject is “Vocational Theory: Metals Technology.” His teachers come from the field, almost all having worked in the industry, reports Kappich. The school’s laboratory area also has a modern production line, a smart factory where trainees are shown Industry 4.0 firsthand.

WWW.TS-AALEN.DE
187
YOUNG PEOPLE ARE CURRENTLY TAKING PART IN STIHL’S TRAINING OR A DUAL STUDY TRAINING CURRICULUM.
“Due to current developments, planning and production are changing extremely fast. That means that we too need to be more flexible.”
GÜNTHER KAHN,
STIHL TRAINING MANAGER

PLASTIC PRODUCTION

A new product, a new challenge. At the plastic production facility – also based in Waiblingen – production for a new order is being planned. Sounds easy, but Kappich has many things to consider: “Which machine is suitable for the desired component? Where do we have space for it? Are additional personnel required to complete the production?” As he answers these questions, he gathers real insight into what is involved in production planning. To make sure things run smoothly, he stores all the important information in SAP. Incidentally, the production engineers are the only trainees who have their own access to this system.

“Many have recognized that we are a necessary link between different disciplines and they strongly support our work.”
PHILIPP KAPPICH

ASSEMBLY

In Waiblingen, mostly professional machines are manufactured. And from there they are exported around the world. A steadily growing product portfolio brings with it changes to assembly. The budding production engineers are also involved in planning a new production structure. In his work, Kappich links knowledge from the areas of development and assembly, tests that knowledge and, with the aid of specialized techniques, develops new findings that are then incorporated into the planning. “It is an optimal combination of everyday work and academic content,” says the 21-year-old.

GUIDE BAR PRODUCTION

Kappich’s workday involves a great deal of diligence. In order to work in a sustainable way and be able to implement improvements, he must have access to all sorts of information, sometimes found in many different places. Retrieving that information sometimes requires creativity, as, for example, when pulling data about guide bar manufacturing in order to optimize a maintenance plan for production machinery. “With this information, the system can remind us to replace parts in a timely manner so that we can avoid unnecessary breakdowns.”

In the course of his training, Kappich will be involved in production planning. There, processes and technologies are developed, improved and later used in production. It is also in this area that the production engineers do their final exams.

5000000
GUIDE BARS WERE MADE IN WAIBLINGEN IN 2017.

APPRENTICESHIP PRODUCTION ENGINEER

IN THE THICK OF IT

Apprenticeships as production engineers have been available in Germany since 2008. In 2016, STIHL was the first company in the Rems-Murr district to open the door to this special career path. During the three-year program, the trainees gain expert knowledge in development, maintenance and tech­nical support – and are deployed in all areas of production.

The aim is to use their holistic view to identify and help optimize weak points in the production process, thus ensuring a smooth process. The insight into all areas of production opens up a va­riety of opportunities: “After the training, the production engineers can be deployed at every stage of the production process,” says Günther Kahn, Training Manager in Waiblingen. A technical college certificate or advanced high school diploma is the prerequisite to enter the program, and ideally candidates will have started their university studies. “Applicants need excellent communication skills, interpersonal skills, personal maturity and a great deal of self-responsibility,” explains Kahn.

CAREER.STIHL.COM

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