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Röchling Invests in Training

Austrian Students Win Innovation Award with the Aid of Röchling Leripa Papertech

Mannheim, Germany, June 19, 2008… The Röchling Group is helping young people enter the working world through various projects and collaborations. Participants range from junior high school graduates to highly qualified university graduates. The following example shows the many ways in which these young people benefit from Röchling’s commitment to this cause. In Austria, a team from the Higher Technical Institute in Neufelden won second place in the idea contest “Innovative Youth” with the support of Röchling Leripa Papertech.

Higher Technical Institutes are a common type of school in Austria. After eight years of compulsory education, students at these schools are given the opportunity to complete a predominantly technical education (which includes  a final examination) within five years. After three years of professional experience, the right to hold the title of engineer may be conferred.

Röchling Leripa Papertech has worked in close cooperation with the Higher Technical Institute Neufelden in Upper Austria for five years. Each year, 15 students are provided with the opportunity to take a summer job at Leripa Papertech during their summer break. “This allows us to get to know potential future employees early on,” explains Rüdiger Keinberger, General Manager of Röchling Leripa Papertech. The advantages for the students are also obvious. They become acquainted with the daily work routine and tasks in a modern and highly specialized company.

Röchling Leripa Papertech manufactures equipment and machines for the pulp and paper industry and also provides servicing, maintenance and repair of ceramic dewatering elements in paper machines. The students are given demanding tasks by the company during their internship in the form of what is referred to as matriculation projects.

Within the scope of such a project, four Higher Technical Institute students developed a robot in collaboration with the employees of Röchling Leripa Papertech. The robot makes inspecting ceramic dewatering elements in paper machines easier and earned the students second place in the idea contest “Innovative Youth.” The contest is a nationwide school competition in Austria for innovative ideas in the areas of business, design, engineering and science. The device developed by the students, called “RobaSpy,” consists of a carriage with integrated camera, light source, distance measurement and important alignment units. It also has its own power supply. The robot’s housing shields its sensitive components from water damage as the equipment is usually also cleaned during the inspection. Along with the easily operable robot, the students also provided the necessary control software.

“Projects such as this one help us establish a bond between our company and suitable, motivated future employees,” mentions Ludger Bartels, Managing Director of the Röchling Group. However, the company also has a social responsibility to invest in the training of young people. Last year, for example, a project at Röchling Automotive Worms to improve the future prospects of young people and facilitate their entry into working life came to  a successful close. 50 unemployed young people under the age of 25 were offered an internship at Röchling Automotive Worms, which led to an apprenticeship afterwards for candidates who showed appropriate performance and aptitude. After two years, 22 trainees successfully  completed their training as machine and equipment operators.

The “U 25” project was organized in collaboration with the vocational school, the chamber of industry and commerce, the Jobcenter in Worms, the employment promotion company “Arbeitsförderbetrieb” and Müller educational center in Ludwigshafen. Röchling Automotive’s commitment to combat youth unemployment also attracted interest on a national level. The German Chambers of Industry and Commerce as well as the German Federal Ministry for Economics and Labor both called the project exemplary.

Company Profile:
The Röchling Group, a worldwide operating plastics group with over 6,000 employees at 54 locations in 18 countries, stands for proficiency in plastics. Its two divisions, High-Performance Plastics and Automotive Plastics, concentrate on processing quality plastics into semi-finished products, components and systems for a wide range of industrial uses.
Röchling stands for innovative products and state-of-the-art process technology in plastics processing.
The High-Performance Plastics division’s product range extends from semi-finished products such as sheets, rods, hollow and flat steel bars via sectional and cast parts to mechanically finished assembly units.
The Automotive Plastics division makes plastic parts for the automotive industry. They consist of technologically sophisticated products made of polymer materials and natural fiber plastic composites for the engine compartment, the underbody and the interior.