Strong young talent

WIRTGEN GROUP’s 39 second-year industrial trainees were given a unique task this time around: they assumed responsibility for optimizing the grounds on which the WIRTGEN Road Technology Days 2014 were to be held.

This assignment reflects the high priority given to apprentice training throughout the WIRTGEN GROUP. The family-run company is proud of the fact that one-third of its workforce was trained within the company in recognized trades. “It is very important to us that our trainees not only have full command of the machines built by the company training them, but also acquire an early understanding of the synergies within our group of companies and how closely the WIRTGEN GROUP product brands collaborate,” explains WIRTGEN GmbH Head of Training, Helmut Hecking. Josef Dill, Head of Training at HAMM AG, adds: “That’s why we hold the Trainee Technology Days every year at different locations in one of the main plants of the WIRTGEN GROUP, where industrial trainees from the entire organization get together to complete a task as a team.”

Out with the old, in with the new

For the last two events at Joseph VÖGELE AG and WIRTGEN GmbH, the assignment was to rehabilitate a road in the vicinity of the main plants. This year, as host of the Trainee Technology Days, HAMM decided to combine fun with expedience: the WIRTGEN Road Technology Days, with some 3,000 visitors from all over the world, was scheduled to take place in September 2014. The grounds needed improvement in preparation for the live demonstrations at the event. Damaged asphalt had to be removed and a new surface course paved: an ideal job for the WIRTGEN GROUP trainees!

The trainees from WIRTGEN were first in the lineup: thirteen industrial mechanics, four electricians and one product designer with their W 50 and W 100 Fi small milling machines. Under difficult conditions caused by the unrelenting weather, they milled off a total of 12 cm (4 cm of surface course plus 8 cm of base course) over a width of 6 m and a length of 210 m, under the skilled eyes of their colleagues.

It’s good to see the milling machines out here at work, since we trainees usually only experience them in production. Being part of the workflows at a job site gives us good insight into the overall road construction process.
Robert Schultheis, industrial mechanics trainee at WIRTGEN

On the second day, it was time for the 11 junior employees from VÖGELE to take over with their SUPER 1900-3, a road paver from the new “Dash 3” generation. For the heavy duty paver, paving a surface course with a total of 339 tons of asphalt at 163 degrees was no great challenge, because the SUPER 1900-3 is capable of paving up to 900 tons of asphalt an hour at a maximum paving width of 11 m.

The “only” step left thereafter was compaction: being the “home team,” the eight trainees from HAMM naturally had the largest selection of machines to ensure perfect compaction. Among the machines they used were the H 11i and H 20i compactors, the HD 8 and HD 14 tandem rollers from the CompactLine and a DV 85 VO. With such an impressive fleet of machines, they had compaction wrapped up by early afternoon. But the program of events included more than just practical tasks. In various workshops, instructors made sure the theory was not neglected: The topics ranged from oscillation methods and measuring vibrations, to driving with GPS and monitoring compaction with the help of the HAMM Compaction Quality (HCQ) system. And since the original machines were available to the instructors, they could promptly demonstrate the theory “on live specimens.”

Satisfaction all-around

The Heads of Training were more than pleased: the trainees from all the brand headquarters proved once again that they are ready to take on responsibility and ensure good results in a dedicated team effort. The supervisors clearly reached their ambitious goal of imparting not only technical, but also interpersonal skills through the training program. The trainees themselves also had a great experience, as Robert Schultheis pointed out: “The practical experience, especially working together with the other WIRTGEN GROUP trainees, helps to make it all interesting, and fun was a big part of the mix too.” Incidentally, the roadway held up well under the heavy-duty load of the live demonstrations at the WIRTGEN Road Technology Days 2014. A more than satisfactory result – the trainees are ready for the next challenge in 2015!

The way our trainees pulled together as a team across the product brands was truly impressive. Each and every one of them did a great job.
Helmut Hecking, Head of Training, WIRTGEN GmbH

What’s in store for 2015?

Even if the crushers from KLEEMANN GmbH were not needed for this assignment, that company’s trainees naturally were also on site, enjoying the opportunity to see the machines of the other WIRTGEN GROUP companies in action. They are already looking forward to next year, when they can demonstrate their machines in operation. In 2015, the “new members” of the WIRTGEN GROUP will also participate: the trainees from BENNINGHOVEN GmbH & Co. KG. With their help, the entire road construction process could be demonstrated to equally represent both divisions of the WIRTGEN GROUP: Road and Mineral Technologies. It promises to be quite an exciting event!