HAHN apprentices take 4th place at German championship for mechatronics engineers

HAHN apprentices take 4th place at German championship for mechatronics engineers

The apprentice team consisting of Valentin Butz and Jonathan Seis from HAHN Automation Group missed the podium at the German championship of mechatronics by a hair’s breadth: they finished fourth, only 0.4% points behind. During the WorldSkills Germany competition at the Festo Learning Center in St. Ingbert from October 17 to 21, the two apprentice mechatronics engineers had to compete against five teams from other companies. The team from Sick AG won the competition. They will now continue training to officially represent Germany at the WorldSkills Championships in September 2024 in Lyon, France.

Every two years, the best future mechatronics engineers meet for the German championship of the WorldSkills Germany organization. From assembly and connection, to maintenance and optimization of a technical system, the participants were expected to complete three to four consecutive tasks on each of the three days of the competition, which they had to master as a team in a specified time.

Fulminant race to catch up

Unfortunately, the first day of competition went anything but well for Valentin and Jonathan. They had to deal with many technical problems and were completely thrown off their game. The two prospective mechatronics engineers were only able to complete a small part of the day’s task and thus scored almost no points. “After the final whistle, they were devastated. It was clear that gold and silver were in all likelihood out of reach and they know what they are actually capable of,” explains Stephan Boos, Trainer at HAHN Automation Group. “It took some good coaxing and motivation from the mental coach and me to get them back on their feet.”

The next day, everything was to go differently. With their heads held high, Valentin and Jonathan started into the competition and everyone saw immediately: the previous day was history. They started a brilliant race to catch up, completed the remaining work from the previous day and mastered the actual day’s task with flying colors. They were able to leave the competition area before time ran out. As a reward they received thunderous applause from all participants and jury members.

The task of the last day of the competition was to optimize the sorting system, which had been assembled and programmed on the first two days, in terms of cycle time and air consumption. “Valentin and Jonathan went all out and were the only team to rebuild their system not only programmatically but also mechanically,” says Boos. “Everyone else focused only on program operations.” And this plan worked: as on the previous day, they dominated the field and were the first team to leave the competition area 36 minutes before the time was up. Thus, the HAHN Team was not only able to score the extra points for the most efficient layout, but also time points.

Since the other participants also performed very well, it was exciting until the award ceremony whether the race to catch up was still enough for a place on the podium. In the end, the HAHN Automation Group Team missed third place by only 0.4% points. “Under these circumstances, this is a terrific result. I am extremely proud of Jonathan and Valentin and they can be too”, Stephan Boos is happy about the performance of his apprentices.

Team performance

At the Regio Cup in July, the two budding mechatronics engineers were still opponents, but at the German championships they competed as a team. After their first experience of competition in the summer, they were both driven by ambition: “For me, it’s exciting to be able to compete with others,” explains Jonathan Seis. “In addition, you gain a lot of experience in a very short time during the competition and also during preparation, which can also help you later in your career.” Valentin Butz can only agree: “My motivation to take part in the German championship was mainly that I wanted to prove my skills and measure myself against other apprentices in my field.”

They traveled to the competition well prepared. In September, they had already gone through a training camp lasting several days. “After that, we knew exactly where we stood and which screws still needed to be tightened,” explains Trainer Stephan Boos. “Together we drew up a training plan and successively tackled one point after another.” Since there were quite a few points, many a weekend fell victim to the training. In addition to the practical training, they also had the opportunity to participate twice in mental coaching with a sports psychologist, which focused, among other things, on coping with tension and excitement.

“The effort was visibly worthwhile, as we saw just after the end of competition days two and three,” states Boos.

Making apprenticeship attractive

The HAHN Automation Group has been a member of the WorldSkills Germany organization for several years, has participated in the competitions more often and has been a regional organizer itself. From the group’s point of view, learning in competition is a perfect complement to the training itself. Only those who face the competition situation out of their own conviction and tackle the required tasks with personal interest prove they have the staying power and often achieve better results.

“In my opinion, the WorldSkills competitions are a highly underestimated tool for also raising the profile of vocational education among the general public and making dual training more attractive to young people,” thinks Stephan Boos. “For this reason, we have also been hosting the Regio Cup for mechatronics and industrial mechanics in Rheinböllen every year since 2021, so that the topic becomes more widespread and many can benefit from this great concept.” And further, “The gathering of different companies also creates a lively exchange among each other, which not only concerns the competitions, but also the training concepts themselves.”

Targeted training of junior staff has a very high priority for the HAHN Automation Group. The trainers understand qualified apprenticeship not only as imparting technical knowledge, but also as supporting young people in their personal and professional development. You can find more information here: Vacancies for apprentices.

 


The tasks demanded the highest concentration and tact from Valentin Butz (left) and Jonathan Seis (right) of the HAHN Automation Group.


Happy participants and experts after the competition in St. Ingbert.

New name, new design

HAHN Group company highlights from 2022

The HAHN Group looks back on a successful year 2022. We have compiled some of our company highlights of the year that we particularly like to think back on.

JANUARY

HAHN Automation Austria wins the largest order in the company’s history

For the second time, HAHN Automation Austria in Kremsmünster was able to beat the worldwide competition with the best concept, innovation and team spirit to win the largest order in the company’s history.

FEBRUARY

HAHN Automation was awarded by kununu as Top Company 2022

and therefore belongs to the 5% of the most popular companies in the DACH region. We are pleased that numerous positive reviews honor our various benefits and the great working atmosphere. In addition, this year we were able to celebrate the 500th hire by our HR Recruiter & Business Partner Andrew Velasquez.

MARCH

Kick-Off for the HAHN Academy

Our People & Culture team spent many months identifying key needs and developed a large catalogue of group-wide professional development programs for all employees. “Investing in the further training of our employees makes an important contribution to the success and innovative strength of our company. The exchange and learning with or from international colleagues within the HAHN Academy is a significant part of our employee retention strategy.” Daniela Mertens, Director People & Culture

HAHN Automation apprentice Janne wins the silver medal at the WorldSkills German Championships and therefore becomes the new German Vice-Champion of industrial mechanics.

 © WorldSkills Germany

HAHN joins forces to support Ukraine

The HAHN Group stands with its values for peaceful and friendly cooperation – worldwide. It was important to us to provide unbureaucratic and direct help.

Numerous relief supplies have been collected at the central European locations. Our employees left several times for the Ukrainian-Polish border, transporting relief supplies on the way there and bringing Ukrainian refugees with them to Rheinböllen on the way back. In cooperation with Atlas Holding GmbH, more than 45 refugees have found a safe place to stay in the HAHN Apartments.

Through the generous willingness of our global network of HAHN Group companies to donate, several tens of thousands of euros have been made available through various campaigns.

Colleagues around the world also got involved privately, taking in Ukrainian refugees, making donations in kind or money, or launching campaigns to provide financial support.

APRIL

Group-wide Digital GirlsDay

Girls Day offers schoolgirls the chance to get to know professions that have been dominated by men so far. We are pleased that we were able to get some young women interested in the technical field. In the coming years, we want to continue to support the #klischeefrei initiative and attract young girls to our companies.

MAY

Wings For Life World Run

In 2022 we participated in the Wings for Life World Run for the 2nd time. The run’s motto was “Run for those who can’t” and 100% of the entry fees went to spinal cord research.

Employees from 15 international company locations, including Germany, the USA, Mexico, China, the Czech Republic, Austria, Croatia and the UK, participated in the run.

Walther Systemtechnik receives innovation award from the state of Rhineland-Palatinate for new WSV spray valve

In the “Cooperation” category, Walther Systemtechnik was honored for its innovative capabilities. Together with Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences, they developed a smart spray valve with integrated process monitoring and control via web interface. The smart, electric universal spray valve combines sophisticated technology in the smallest possible space, saves costs for additional devices and significantly reduces the commissioning and integration effort.

JULY

30-year anniversary of Christian Boos at Waldorf Technik

Christian started his career at Waldorf Technik back in 1992 as a sales representative. In the course of his career, he took on additional tasks as operations manager and became responsible for both engineering development and project management. Through his responsibilities in these positions and as a former shareholder of Waldorf Technik, hardly anyone else has shaped or impacted the company as much as Christian Boos.

Cooperation between REI Automation and the College of Charleston

Dr. Andrew Hsu, President of the College of Charleston, visited REI Automation in July. REI has partnered with CofC’s Systems Engineering Degree Program and will host their first intern in 2023.

SEPTEMBER

We welcome our 26 new trainees

They started in the professions: Electronics Technician, Mechatronics Technician, Industrial Mechanic, Machinist, Industrial Clerk, Marketing Communication Clerk and IT Specialist for System Integration. At HAHN Group, you can complete an apprenticeship in both industrial and commercial areas. As an innovative employer with future technologies, we offer our young talents an exciting training program.

30th anniversary of HAHN Automation GmbH

Under the motto we.automate.future., HAHN Automation welcomed many long-standing partners and customers such as Beckhoff Automation, Festo, Epson, Omron, KUKA, ABB, FANUC, Bosch Rexroth, Mitsubishi Electric, Walther Systemtechnik, United Robotics Group, RobShare, SCHUNK und Montratec. At the “Open Day”, more than 5,000 interested visitors from the region and employees from the sister companies and other sites took the opportunity to visit the site in Rheinböllen.

WorldSkills Regio Cup at the Rheinböllen site

On 16 and 17 September 2022, this year’s WorldSkills Germany Regio Cup for industrial mechanics and mechatronics took place at HAHN Automation in Rheinböllen. The total of seven competitors from all over Germany had to prove their skills at six competence stations each and worked up a sweat with many tasks.

OCTOBER

First Group-wide project management conference

Under the motto “Team up for global projects!” the HAHN Group International Project Management Conference took place for the first time this year. On October 10 and 11, project managers from all HAHN Group units worldwide came together to exchange experiences, receive coaching and network. For Michael Fritzsche, Director Project Management at HAHN Automation, the event was a complete success: “After two intensive days with excellent presentations, valuable customer feedback, workshops and a lot of networking, our first global project management conference comes to an end. Let’s work together for global projects and turn visions into real value.” In 2023, more Global Conferences are planned for other departments as well.

NOVEMBER

HAHN Automation was awarded for the best apprentice (mechatronics technician) by the Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK)

Torben Müller started his apprenticeship as a mechatronics technician with us in 2019 and completed it very successfully in 2022. For this, he was personally honored by the IHK president as one of the year’s best trainees in the occupational field of mechatronics.

© Marco Rothbrust photographer

DECEMBER

myHAHN collects christmas parcels for children in need 

For the “Christmas parcels for children in need” campaign of the Kinderzukunft Foundation, we collected gift parcels that are now on their way in trucks to needy children in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania and, if possible, Ukraine. The Christmas parcels will be distributed to girls and boys in orphanages, clinics, schools, kindergartens and slums.

We would like to thank all our colleagues who have packed a parcel and hope to be able to bring a little joy to the children.

First HAHN Group International Project Management Conference

Project management transforms visions into real values – First HAHN Group International Project Management Conference in Taunusstein receives consistently positive feedback

Taunusstein, Germany – Under the motto “Team up for global projects!” the first HAHN Group International Project Management Conference took place in Taunusstein. On October 10 and 11, project managers from all HAHN Group units worldwide came together to exchange experiences, receive coaching and network. For Michael Fritzsche, Director Project Management at HAHN Automation, the event was a complete success: “After two intensive days with excellent presentations, valuable customer feedback, workshops and a lot of networking, our first global project management conference comes to an end. Many thanks to the participants and the organizing team for these great two days. Let’s work together for global projects and turn our visions into real value.”

For the 60 participating project managers, the conference provided an opportunity to share status and development updates and work in small workshop groups on topics such as project controlling, project task management, project management in a matrix organization, stakeholder management and IC collaboration across multiple locations.

The two keynote speakers – including a customer who reported on his previous experiences with HAHN Group’s project management – provided further impulses on how project management can be optimized in large-scale projects in the future. After two days, all participants left encouraged and inspired to return to their locations: “The meetings and contents were fantastic, giving a great deal of PM lessons learned and best practices. After the guest speakers’ keynotes and workshops, I left with lots of great notes and ideas to take forward. It was great to meet people from all HAHN locations as well, so we could learn what other locations focus on and where we can all work together! The tour of the HAHN site was equally as impressive, and left me with a few things I would like to try to incorporate in our Minnesota site as it grows.”  (Jeff Westom, Operations Manager, Invotec, Inc. Minnesota)

The joint dinner at Eulchen Brauerei Mainz, including a tour of the brewery, provided a further opportunity for networking and exchange of experiences between all participants.

Dr. Henning Wagner, Managing Director of Walther Systemtechnik GmbH: “I received very positive feedback from our colleagues. Praise to all who worked and organized the event … More with pleasure!”

Naveed Latif, Senior Project Manager – HAHN Automation UK: “I really enjoyed the conference and learned a lot, it was a great networking opportunity and look forward to the next conference!”

Annika Rheingantz, Project Management Officer global – Automation: “The Global PM Conference was a great success. Finally meeting many of the colleagues worldwide in person and exchanging ideas, gaining new impressions about project management and developing together in the sense of ONE HAHN. Especially the diversified program has remained in my memory very well. I think the conference forms a good basis to be able to cooperate even better globally in project management.”

Fulvio Sais, Project Manager – HAHN Automation Austria: “Thank you for these two days full of internal and external interactions – I feel ready to improve my project management.”

Daniela Mertens, Director People & Culture and responsible for the HAHN Academy: “The investment in the training of our employees makes an important contribution to the success and innovation of our company. The exchange and learning with or from international colleagues within the HAHN Academy is a significant part of our employee retention strategy.” 

HAHN Automation celebrates 30th anniversary

Rheinböllen, Germany – HAHN Automation celebrates its 30th anniversary on the market and invites partners, customers, suppliers and press representatives to join the Innovation Days in Rheinböllen on September 14 and 15. Founded in 1992 by Thomas Hähn in his parents’ garage, the company developed from a small design office in the Hunsrück region to a global group of companies within just under 30 years. Only a few years after the company was founded, the first foreign location was established with the expansion into the USA. Today, HAHN Automation employs more than 1,000 people at 12 production sites in China, Germany, Great Britain, Croatia, Mexico, Austria, the Czech Republic and the USA. In 2014, the RAG Foundation in the form of the RAG Stiftung Beteiligungsgesellschaft (RSBG SE) invested in HAHN Automation, which led to the formation of the HAHN Group three years later as a platform for the further development of the company network. The HAHN Group unites a network of specialized companies for industrial automation and robot solutions. At its production and service locations, the group employs approximately 1,800 people in 14 countries worldwide. Well-known customers in the automotive, consumer goods, electronics and healthcare industries benefit from over 30 years of expertise. This know-how in the field of automation technology ensures that resources are used efficiently and robots, as well as digital technologies, are implemented purposefully. “We are very pleased with the development that HAHN Automation and later also HAHN Group have accomplished. Over the past 30 years, we have been able to implement countless customer projects, establish strong partnerships and, above all, make an important contribution as an employer, especially in the Hunsrück region, but also at all other company locations. I am looking forward to the coming years and am confident that we will continue to write the success story,” says Frank Konrad, CEO of HAHN Automation. For Thomas Hähn, company founder and CEO of the parent company RSBG Automation and Robotics Technologies, one thing is certain: “HAHN Automation is not only a great success story in itself, but rather also the nucleus for many other exciting developments, company foundations and partnerships. Through the entry of the RSBG SE in 2014, we were able to put the plan to establish an international pioneer in industrial automation into action. In addition, HAHN Automation was also the origin of all developments towards HAHN Robotics, HAHN RobShare and most recently the United Robotics Group.” In order to celebrate the 30th anniversary also with partners, customers, suppliers and press representatives, we therefore cordially invite you to visit us in Rheinböllen on September 14 and 15 and to participate in the Innovation Days. For employees, families, friends and interested persons there will also be an Open House on 17.09. on the entire company premises. Further information about the Innovation Days: https://www.hahnautomation.com/en/30years

HAHN Group appoints Frank Konrad as CTO/COO

On February 1st, 2022, Frank Konrad will take over responsibility as CTO/COO for the technical and procedural control of the entire HAHN Group, in addition to his role as CEO of HAHN Automation. With this step, the corporate network will accelerate the integration of its subsidiaries in order to prepare for the planned growth.

As CTO/COO, Frank Konrad will be responsible for the business areas of innovation and development, engineering and software, processes and project management as well as purchasing. With this decision, the HAHN Group is preparing for the great potential of innovative projects in the fields of automotive, diagnostics and medical devices as well as electronics.

“As a global company, we have the size and the strength to be a reliable development and implementation partner for our customers, even for very large and complex automation projects. Therefore, we will join our competencies and capacities even more closely together,” states Philipp Unterhalt, CEO of the HAHN Group. He adds: “I am very happy that Frank is ready for these challenges and that he is putting his decades of experience and competence at the service of the entire HAHN Group.”

Frank Konrad, who also took over the chairmanship of the board of directors of the VDMA for the Robotics + Automation trade association in October 2021, is a partner and CEO of HAHN Automation and has significantly shaped the company’s positive development. The 49-year-old automation expert adds his experience to the management of the HAHN Group consisting of Philipp Unterhalt (CEO) and Axel Greschitz (CFO).

“I see great potential in the HAHN Group, which we will realize even faster through harmonization and integration of the individual companies”, explains Frank Konrad who is looking forward to the new task. “We always take into account the requirements of the individual companies, industries and customers. That is what makes this role so exciting, along with the implementation of a joint innovation strategy.”

Frank Konrad will also keep the role of CEO of HAHN Automation. The massive expansion of the organization that is currently taking place strengthens the entire team and takes the positive market development into account.

HAHN Group presents digitized plant systems at FAKUMA as part of its extensive product portfolio

As part of the FAKUMA trade fair, the HAHN Group will be presenting solutions for the plastics industry from its subsidiaries WEMO Automation, Waldorf Technik and GeKu at its stand B3-3115. The highlight of the exhibition is a trade fair system from Waldorf Technik and Sumitomo Demag, which has been expanded to include digital monitoring systems from HAHN Digital.

The HAHN Group booth B3-3115 combines the exhibits of the companies WEMO Automation, Waldorf Technik and GeKu automation systems at the FAKUMA trade fair. An exciting detail of the exhibition this year is the MOBILE.EXPO truck, which carries selected automation and robot systems from the entire HAHN Group company network. This includes digital systems that you can touch and try out such as “EVE Support” as a remote maintenance system from HAHN Digital or the options for “Virtual Commissioning”, i.e. the virtual commissioning of systems before they are built. As part of the HAHN Group MOBILE.EXPO, over 13 locations in 5 European countries will be visited by December 17, 2021 in order to present the competencies of the company network to customers, local partners and employees.

With Vario TIP®, Waldorf Technik presents the patented and world-leading system concept for the manufacture of medical and diagnostic consumer products. The Vario TIP® system is characterized by its unsurpassed degree of freedom for different tool configurations and packaging units, with an extremely space-saving design and complete cavity sorting. With Vario TIP®, high numbers of cavities of up to 128 are possible, with cycle times with peak values of 3.8 seconds. The automation system takes on all basic functions such as removal, transfer, screening, buffering and filling. In addition, the system includes a large number of unique functionalities that can be used customer-specifically. This includes camera inspections, cavity-sorted replacement of bad / missing parts, filter assembly and customized packaging of the finished parts.

At the Sumitomo Demag stand (B1-1105), the HAHN Group’s digitization and interface expertise will also be demonstrated. An Intelect S 100 / 460-250 was combined with an automation system from Waldorf Technik, which is based on the Vario Tip® FSS system. This creates a fully automated production cell for the manufacture of caps for insulin syringes on a 16-cavity mold in a total cycle time of six seconds. The use of vacuum sensors on the removal gripper sends data on product quality and the gripper position. A camera system provides additional optical information on the structure, quality and number of the finished parts for automated quality management. The data generated enable the products to be traced, as each test result can be assigned to the mold cavity and the time of production. This allows a well-founded analysis and observation of the quality in order to be able to react in a targeted manner to deviations in good time, such as deselecting cavities as a measure.

The further development of the Vario TIP® FSS with a particularly narrow structure opens up the market for MedTec injection moulders in new performance classes without requiring more clean room space. FSS stands for Floor Space Saving and offers an extremely reduced space requirement compared to the Vario TIP® standard model. By cleverly arranging the buffer areas required for separating the cavities, Waldorf Technik has succeeded in reducing the area by half compared to the basic system. The functionality and variability of the Vario TIP® standard are of course retained.

With the use of EVE Analytics: Connect from the HAHN Digital portfolio, Waldorf Technik enables continuous monitoring of the automation system in real time. With the information obtained in this way, operators can react immediately to anomalies and enable higher efficiency and output. With its EVE Suite portfolio, HAHN Digital offers further solutions for digitization in the manufacturing industry, with maximum data security and close cooperation with the experts from the HAHN Group corporate network. As part of the MOBILE.EXPO exhibition, further digital products and technologies for modern automation systems will be exhibited. This includes EVE support as a remote maintenance system from HAHN Digital or virtual commissioning applications. Visitors have the opportunity to try out the various products directly in the exhibition truck and experience them up close.

WEMO Automation presents a wide range of innovations and concepts for cost-efficient and fast handling, including among other things injection molding machines in cooperation with ABB Robotics. WEMO is known on the European market as a supplier of 3-5-axis linear robots. Together with ABB Robotics, WEMO is now expanding its portfolio around the adaptation of the wide range of six-axis industrial robots from ABB. Effective immediately, WEMO will support the market as an ABB value provider for customers worldwide. With many years of experience in the integration of ABB robots, WEMO offers solutions and support at the highest level.

The offer ranges from flexible configurations to standalone concepts and SGM concepts. This covers most of the applications in the plastics industry, taking into account the respective individual requirements. The advantages of the different configurations and concepts lie in the use for different tasks as well as the simple installation and commissioning. As always, WEMO offers standard solutions and options such as interface EOAT adapters, protective devices and much more.

The “ABB + WEMO hand-in-hand concepts” are space-saving and flexible solutions for using robots in the plastics industry. The WEMO robots are mounted on the injection molding machine with an integrated ABB robot for further downstream operations. The advantages here are commissioning for both devices at the same time as well as the simple addition of communication solutions and other functions.

With the new management by Johannes Kjellgren as CEO and Håkan Larsson as COO, WEMO Automation will strengthen the Robotics Division within the HAHN Group in the future. This bundles the know-how in the areas of linear, collaborative and mobile robotics and makes it even easier for customers to access. In addition, the respective sales and partner networks complement each other very well in order to further increase customer proximity. Through the group network, WEMO is also to be developed even more strongly as a regional hub in Scandinavia in the future.

GeKu, with the exhibition cell for automated contact provision, is part of the mobile exhibition belonging to the truck. For the automotive and electronics industries, GeKu developed a specialized system for providing contacts that can be used as part of the automated production of connectors and sensor housings. The system uses a bending cutting tool with a punching system driven by a servo motor. The force used is approx. 30 kN, but it can also be supplied as a larger version with higher forces and is adapted to the required tools. For each contact group, individual contacts can be made available within approx. 4 seconds. The system uses a KUKA robot whose parallel gripper is equipped with a spreading stroke for the individual contacts. The processes within this automation system can be customized for customers and their requirements and can also be delivered as part of complete automation cells.