Strong next generation
Every year, the trainees of the five WIRTGEN GROUP brand headquarters meet to tackle a joint construction project as part of the Trainee Technology Days. This time, they paved a road on the grounds of the new BENNINGHOVEN brand headquarters and stabilized the future employee parking lot.
The Trainee Technology Days event celebrated its 10th birthday in 2017. The German WIRTGEN GROUP brand headquarters take turns hosting the annual trainee event. A total of 63 trainees in the second year of their courses at WIRTGEN, VÖGELE, HAMM, KLEEMANN and BENNINGHOVEN, accompanied by 20 trainers and fitters, came together at BENNINGHOVEN from June 21 to 23. This time, there were two group projects on the program. Workshops and tours also gave the trainees an insight into the product worlds of all WIRTGEN GROUP brands.
On the first day, BENNINGHOVEN Managing Director, Dr. Martin Kühn, welcomed the group and told them about the construction of the new BENNINGHOVEN brand headquarters. After lunch they proceeded to Mülheim an der Mosel, where they were all able to tour the current plant and see a burner in action.
On the road
The project work started in the Rhineland-Palatinate village of Wittlich-Wengerohr early Thursday morning. This is where the world‘s biggest and most modern factory for the production of asphalt mixing plants is being built. The trainees were tasked with paving an access road to the new BENNINGHOVEN brand headquarters. A 210-m stretch of road with a width of 4 m was waiting to be paved by the trainees.
It was a match made in heaven for the 21 trainees from VÖGELE. Using the VÖGELE SUPER 1900-3i paver, they expertly laid the 14 cm-thick base course followed by the 4 cm-thick surface course. The 400 t of asphalt in total was then compacted by the eight HAMM trainees with the HAMM HD 14i and DV 65 VO rollers. Together, they built the first road on the new grounds. “It’s great for us to see for ourselves how a whole road can be built in such a short time by working together,” said a delighted trainee, Sebastian Kaufmann from BENNINGHOVEN, of the successful project. “It was one of the hottest days of the summer, 35 degrees Celsius on the surface and over 160 degrees underneath – that teaches you respect for the day-to-day work of our customers and gives you a completely new outlook on it,” he added.
The asphalt for the project came from the nearby BENNINGHOVEN mixing plant, the Ürzig Juchem asphalt mixing plant, which the group of trainees also visited as part of the Technology Days. There they also saw a KLEEMANN type MS 16 Z mobile screening plant in action, screening the recycled material reclaimed by WIRTGEN milling machines so that it could later be added back to the new asphalt mix.
Laying a firm foundation
The second project for the Trainee Technology Days was to prepare the ground on the future parking lot of the new brand headquarters for further work. “We had to use the soil stabilizer with integrated binding agent spreader to stabilize the soil by adding cement so that the parking lot could be built on it later. I only knew the machine from production. But then when you get to work on it in a real project, it really makes you enjoy your job as a service engineer”, explained trainee Alexander Scharfenstein. Together with his 18 other fellow trainees from WIRTGEN, he delivered perfectly stabilized soil using the WR 240i S-Pack.
The compaction work required more input from the HAMM trainees – this time with a Series 3000 compactor equipped with Hammtronic and vibratory padfoot drum, and an H 16i.
Not just strong in practice
Apart from the project work, there was also an extensive fringe program. The host, BENNINGHOVEN, had erected a tent on the grounds of its future brand headquarters in which the trainees learned more about the individual technologies at a number of presentations over the course of the Technology Days. “The theory part is important. Understanding the synergies between the individual product brands in the WIRTGEN GROUP makes it much easier to identify with the company,” said Boris Becker, Head of Vocational Training at WIRTGEN.
Hosting the event for the first time, BENNINGHOVEN excelled. “The whole team – trainees as well as trainers – was simmering with excitement about the event. That’s because preparing for an event on a major construction site that is changing on a daily basis holds some surprises. I believe it was a successful, informative and unique few days in the everyday life of all the trainees,” said Martina Kappes.
In addition to project work, tours and presentations, the trainees also had plenty of time at their lunchtimes and evening meals to get to know each other and swap stories about the training in the different brand headquarters and vocations. The three days saw everyone involved working hard, gaining new experience and making new friends. “The Trainee Technology Days were a resounding success, as they are every year. And the host BENNINGHOVEN did an excellent job of organizing the event,” concluded Boris Becker.