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Stefan Schnieder

Research and Development – wind energy

“I have always loved to experiment and tinker with things ever since I was a child. An office job was therefore never an option. In my job at thyssenkrupp, I help create pioneering technology, which is like a childhood dream come true.”

My job: following in the footsteps of Gyro Gearloose

I have always loved to experiment and tinker with things ever since I was a child. At some point, this turned into a deeper interest in all things technical and repairing things, bicycles for example, became a hobby. I therefore realized early on that I was more suited to practical jobs. Through my master’s degree in industrial design and manufacturing, I became increasingly interested in research, eventually concluding that this was the field in which I would look to find a career. This is how I ended up joining the very experienced Research and Development team as a trainee. This really was a stroke of luck. As a novice, I was able to learn and benefit not only from the technical expertise of my colleagues, but also from their experience with work processes. After completing my traineeship, I specialized in surface engineering. One of our development projects in this field was even distinguished with the 2011 thyssenkrupp Innovation Prize. It was here that I had my first dealings with the wind energy sector. Some time later I began focusing more on research and development for axial-radial roller bearings  for wind energy plants, and have recently had rotor bearing testing added to my responsibilities. 

My challenges

The research field is about continually breaking new ground. Everything you do, you’re doing for the first time. And while this calls for a creative, innovative mindset, you also need a healthy dose of pragmatism to remain focused on feasibility. Another challenge that regularly presents itself is explaining to colleagues in the production departments that further developments are necessary. After all, Research and Development often takes second place to important, scheduled customer orders. To prevail in such circumstances, you need to be able to argue and assert yourself well.

My typical working day

My tasks are so flexible that I don’t really have a typical working day. I mostly spend half my time in the office, for instance if I working on experiment designs or evaluating results. I spend the other half in the testing facility, where I prepare measuring methods and conduct tests.

Our tagline is "engineering. tomorrow. together.". For me, "together" means...

... communicating openly with each other! Because only by interacting regularly with colleagues, discussing matters and exchanging technical knowledge and ideas can we arrive at the ideal solution. “Together” also means joining forces in pursuit of common goals. It is about wanting to jointly bring a task to fruition as opposed to trying to dodge additional work. This ambition is absolutely necessary.

Realizing your potential, having fun and being happy

As a thyssenkrupp employee, I know that my work helps shape the future. For example, through my work developing large-diameter anti-friction slewing rings for wind energy plants, I contribute toward the energy transition process. To me, working at thyssenkrupp means being part of an innovative, forward-looking company that treats its employees very fairly. The work atmosphere, the working conditions, the development opportunities: they’ve got it all right.

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