Two months in the far north of Germany
The municipalty of Sörup, or Sørup, as it is close to Germany’s border with Denmark, is the home of our sister company M. Jürgensen. It lies about 12 miles (20 km) south-east of Flensburg in the beautiful region of Schleswig-Holstein. Two of our third-year trainees, Sarah and Marie, worked there for two months in order to get to know about the different processes and procedures used. Sarah von Dombrowski is training to be an industrial mechanic, while Marie Nieswand is an aspiring metal machinist. This is their report. Continue reading
We noticed the biggest difference as soon as we saw their operations for the first time: M. Jürgensen produces in series, while Kuhn Special Steel specialises mainly in one-off items. Endless streams of metal blanks run along the roller conveyors in the production hall, from the foundry to the machines. Ejection mechanisms throw the blanks off the casting machine and straight onto the belt. The hall is dominated by a series of giant vertical honing machines. There are of course also similarities with our production back in Radevormwald. The foundry, turning, honing and testing departments work in a similar way, and some of the lathes are the same or comparable.
Same job, different solutions
I [Sarah] was put to work in Maintenance. During the two months that I was there, I replaced the corrugated metal on one of the walls of the building and replaced the wedge-bar guides on the lathes. I already knew how to carry out these tasks from my training at Kuhn Special Steel, but it was especially interesting to see how the same jobs could be carried out in a way that was new to me, with different tools, for example.
There are various things that the metal-machining side of the operation does differently to Kuhn Special Steel. I [Marie] worked in series production. Every employee at M. Jürgensen has his or her own workstation, with two to three machines. The components are clamped together with bushings in series production. These are then pushed into the other component, and driven along the machine by two spikes. And there are other differences, too. As these components are made of grey cast iron, they do not need to be cooled while they are being machined. They also use measuring calipers much more often.
It’s worth it
We really can recommend an exchange like this, even if it wasn’t always all that easy. It was after all the first time that we’d been away from home for so long. A few things still need to be sorted out, but that was because the trainee-exchange project is still relatively new. But we had some great experiences, and not all of them were work-related. We got to know new people, and went out in Flensburg with the other trainees, for example. We stayed in holiday accommodation on a farm, in the midst of nature, surrounded by horses. And we were only ten minutes’ drive away from the sea. We wouldn’t have missed it for anything!