Voith fills management positions in different ways. First preference is given to our own in-house talent. As a result we can guarantee good internal career perspectives and gradually build up valuable potential within and for the company. Aditionally, we employ external senior executives. In this way, Voith extends its own know-how and enriches its culture. The management responsibilities range from leading a team to managing entire Operating Units.
“Commissioning is exciting and a super stepping stone!”
Travel and getting to know faraway lands – Sebastian Bläsing always wanted to do that. Even as a student, the engineer knew Voith as a pioneer in the paper industry and an attractive employer. His work as a commissioning engineer for Voith Paper combined all his preferences – and turned out to be an optimal career start. In the interview, he told about his experiences.
You worked for the last eight years as a commissioning engineer for Voith Paper: What exactly did you do?
Commissioning is the link between machine building and production. It comes into play as soon as the machine is mechanically and electrically installed. The commissioning engineer starts with the inspection: Do all the interlocks and safety functions work? That's important to prevent possible damage to the machines through incorrect operation. Are all reference dimensions correct? Do the motors rotate correctly? Does the installation agree with the machine builder's plans? This is tested for individual machine components – then for the assembly, and finally for the complete production line. If everything is OK, production starts and optimization of the machines begins.
In addition, commissioning includes instructing and training the employees who will operate the machine in the future. It can also include initial support of production and technological optimization of the paper quality, depending on the order situation. As head of commissioning, I also planned all the sequences and coordinated subcontractors and interfaces.
That sounds like a lot of work on site when commissioning. . .
Yes, that's true – the life of a commissioning engineer mainly plays out at the construction site. About 70 to 80 percent international travel is the rule. I found that very attractive! I worked on projects throughout the world: a lot in Asia, especially China, Korea, India, but also on European projects in Sweden, Great Britain, Russia and the Czech Republic. In my eight years as a commissioning engineer, I placed many machines in operation worldwide. That's just super exciting and full of variety: For customers, it's mostly a huge innovation leap – a complete new plant isn't placed in operation every day, but only every few years. It amazes me how these relatively large machines can, in a very complex process, make a product as delicate as paper!
"Contribute some passion to the job, and be sincere, honest, and responsible. In commissioning, we need team players who work conscientiously and solve Problems."
And I was able to gain a lot of experience in an extremely short time and take on responsibility relatively quickly. Finally, many colleagues from a wide variety of functional areas, and usually from many nations, work together to commission a medium-sized plant. At my last construction site, the international team came from eight different nations. That's very interesting and, at the same time, challenging. And it's perfect for developing soft skills, teamwork and problem-solving abilities. In commissioning, everything ultimately has to work properly: Every screw has to sit properly, and everyone has responsibility!
Is commissioning a good way to start a career?
Commissioning is exciting and a super stepping stone! I knew that right from the start. I learned an incredible amount during my time as a commissioning engineer. The knowledge and experience I gained provide an optimal foundation for my own further development. And Voith offers numerous attractive and promising positions and opportunities for development.
How and where can you now contribute your experience from commissioning?
Sebastian Bläsing: Since the start of the year, I've been working in process technology at Voith Paper. As the product manager for board machines, I work together with customers from throughout the world to develop concepts for new plants or advise them on conversion or optimization of existing plants. That means, I can contribute all my knowledge and practical experience with the machines to the fullest extent. I also use my coordination and communication skills every day. And I don't have to give up traveling completely: I still visit construction sites or customers' plants, for optimization assignments or meetings, for example - but only for shorter periods of time.