Most people have a concrete idea of the everyday work routines of a baker or mechanic, but not of those of a development engineer. We wanted to change this, so we interviewed our employee Florian Kulawik directly about his activities to gain a number of interesting insights.
As part of the StrikoWestofen development team, Florian Kulawik has been working in the field of product optimisation and the development of new solutions for the light metal casting industry since early 2016. Our development engineer gives us a look behind the scenes of his interesting day-to-day work and offers a few helpful tips for newcomers to the profession.
A wide range of responsibilities fall within Florian's remit, including the further development of existing systems and processes, and naturally the realisation of customer requests with regard to system technology.
He is in charge of managing individual projects and supervising the development process from the first idea through to market launch. In the “Technikum” or experimental laboratory, he also carries out various tests on the systems. His responsibilities include CAE (Computer Aided Engineering) too. Besides simulating air currents and heat losses, Florian conducts stability studies and checks loads on components with the aim of developing highly efficient solutions.
Interesting projects of our own – today and in the future
Development engineers are very much in demand in the industry – Florian Kulawik decided in favour of StrikoWestofen.
Why StrikoWestofen? “I chose the company because of the perspectives. StrikoWestofen as a global brand with a shallow hierarchy,” he explains. “Besides the wide range of development opportunities it offered me, the interesting responsibilities and challenges made working for StrikoWestofen a convincing proposition.”
For example, he has already been able to get to know numerous fields and processes in the light metal casting industry and accumulate a broad knowledge base. “Also, a professional exchange in our American branch in Michigan gave me the opportunity to optimise my knowledge of English,” he adds happily.
It is not at all surprising to learn that he finds it more difficult to answer our question regarding the most interesting project he has ever been involved in. Then, however, he thinks of Schnorkle, the closed transport and filling system, which is especially close to his heart. "Schnorkle was the first project I supervised from the beginning to the first delivery – the first project of my own, in other words.”
Florian Kulawik sees digitalisation and the networking of systems as being the next big trends in the light metal casting industry. But not only there: "In addition, new trends in our principal customer group - the automotive sector - will affect new developments in the future.“ Sounds interesting!
Making the impossible possible
We should not only look to future trends, however; the trained industrial mechanic, Florian meets many day-to-day challenges. “You live and learn,” he says, explaining that you have to go on engaging with new responsibilities and fields all the time. “The most interesting thing about it, is that it often allows you to realise the seemingly impossible.” For example, he has already developed countless solutions for customers.
His aim is to move the brand StrikoWestofen forward and develop and implement new and innovative ideas. His supplementary studies no doubt help him in this.
New impulses for new solutions
Here are the main tips which Florian Kulawik gives to all newcomers to the profession:
Florian identifies open-mindedness and team spirit as being the main strengths of StrikoWestofen. However, the greatest strength for him is the encouragement of each individual employee and the opportunity for further development. As he explains, “In spite of the global character of our company, the human subject is close to my heart.” And you really notice it, too.
“Always choose a field you enjoy!” You will be spending most of your time in the profession and should therefore passionately move your projects forward. He also advises newcomers to show courage and, even as the new kid on the block, communicate ideas of your own in the team and promote them self-confidently. “Engineers, even if they are from different generations, have different ways of seeing things!” This is why the opinions of newcomers are always important impulses en route to new solutions.
He can’t generalise about which qualities and experience you need for this profession. “The main thing is to enjoy solving complex tasks and not be negatively affected by problems but tackle them actively instead. Curiosity is an important quality here.“ Employees from completely different backgrounds come together in his team. One thing is clear for Florian: “This diversity makes our team special and allows us to look at problems from a wide range of angles and swiftly arrive at a joint solution.“