When hearing the name ‘Under Pressure’, I’m sure for many of you Queen’s hit song from the 80s will come to mind. In this instance, however, we’re talking about a team name that perfectly describes a certain aspect of our work. This is not to say we are working under unwanted pressure, but rather that we are motivated to approach the task in hand with a clear objective in our sights.

Just four weeks after starting on the dual training programme at MANN+HUMMEL, we – the new students – were set our first large assignment for our first theory/practical semester. Our task was to take responsibility as a team for digitalising and rebuilding an outdated test bench. The starting point for our first big challenge was a meeting with our project leader Robert Kerres.

Making new from old

After a somewhat theoretical introduction to the project, we were all happy to have a tour of the test bench department. Robert Kerres showed us three different test benches, which, for many of us, really brought home for the first time what was expected of us all. We eventually chose a worn-out pressure pulsation test bench that had previously been used in an experimental setting. Our task now is to modernise it, come up with a new design and, above all, to digitalise it using suitable programs so that it can be used in regular testing operations.

Robert Kerres is our first point of contact, and will be supervising the project and providing guidance for the team. We will also receive support on technical matters from third-year trainees, and a trainee industrial manager. Ultimately, this is our first proper experience of a large company and we still need some support here and there. But that’s exactly what makes this project a good opportunity to give everything we can; after all, there’s no better way to learn than by doing.

The meeting not only clarified for us what digitalisation means at MANN+HUMMEL, it also gave us an idea of what will be expected of us in the project going forward.

‘We want you!’

With everyone keen to get started, we set about our task, and started by dividing up into teams.

The great thing about this project is that we will not only be learning how to use certain programs and digital technologies before returning to Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University (DHBW), but we also have the chance to improve our social skills. We will also be learning how to think and act as a team and how to tackle a project together.

By the time we had our next meeting we had already decided our roles within the team so that we could get started as quickly as possible. Some experts in the development of testing equipment then gave us our first look at the programs LabVIEW, EPLAN, CATIA and FluidSIM, which we are now using in subgroups to work on the project.

We also took part in an ‘onboarding module’ in Baad, during which we decided on a team name, drew up a to-do list and set a schedule for the weeks to come. Our first meeting as a team went smoothly, even if there were some heated discussions – mainly revolving around our choice of team name 😉

Even if we don’t yet have much experience in the world of work, we are all motivated to throw ourselves into it and learn new things. After some initial scepticism, the mood is now one of enthusiasm and we are all looking forward to the challenge ahead.

We will be reporting back soon with updates on the planning phase and will keep you informed of our Progress.