Passionate about engineering
In 2023, March 8th will once again mark the annual International Women's Day, and closely follows this year’s International Engineers Week with the motto "Creating Future". Reason enough to introduce our female talents and engineers at thyssenkrupp. After all, they are the ones who shape the world of tomorrow every day. What do engineers do and how do you become an engineer? Stefanie Richter, Senior Design Engineer at thyssenkrupp Polysius, explains.
From technical illustrator to becoming an engineer
"I'm fascinated when I'm at a cement plant," Stefanie says. "It's the huge machines, the smell - it makes my heart beat faster." To realize what she liked, Stefanie first trained as a technical illustrator at thyssenkrupp (then still Krupp Polysius) after graduating high school. It quickly became clear that she wanted to study afterward because Stefanie no longer just wanted to draw machines but rather understand, design, and improve them. In other words, she wanted to become an engineer.
After her studies in mechanical engineering, several internships and her diploma thesis, Stefanie was drawn back to thyssenkrupp Polysius in 2006. Since then, she has been working in the product development department. There she has been responsible for project management for new and further developments of machines in the cement industry for 16 years now and contributes to these projects.
Teamwork for successful machines
What Stefanie Richter appreciates about thyssenkrupp is the work-life balance and the opportunity for flexible working. "thyssenkrupp is a reliable employer with vision," emphasizes Stefanie.
What does an engineer do at thyssenkrupp Polysius? In her day-to-day work at thyssenkrupp Polysius, Stefanie is responsible for adapting the construction of the plant manufacturer's large-scale facilities and machines to customer requirements. Apart from keeping costs as low as possible, energy efficiency and the development of new technologies are of growing importance.
As an example of such a project, Stefanie cites the new polytrack® eco clinker cooler, short for 'Evolution of Cooler'. A project that started in 2019 and went into operation in 2022. "The cooler manages to cool down 1300°C hot clinker from the rotary kiln to 100°C in just 30 minutes, while being enormously energy efficient and retaining positive heat recovery," Stefanie explains. After one year of operation, the inspection is complete, and Stefanie's team is currently finalizes the development of the series. Looking back, the engineer says with pride, "As a team, we've developed a really successful machine here by working closely together." The perfect answer to the question "What does an engineer do?"
Diverse, varied, and creative: engineering
What does an engineer do? And what makes engineering so attractive? What Stefanie likes about her job is how diverse and varied it is and how creatively you can work: "As an engineer, I can think outside the box and question solutions." Above all, however, it is the teamwork that Stefanie enjoys: "Working on successful projects with motivated colleagues is what I enjoy most about engineering," she says.
Since Stefanie started as an apprentice at thyssenkrupp, everyday work at the company has changed. What does an engineer do in terms of digitalization: "Everyday work has become more digital than it used to be and the tools have changed," says Stefanie. "We work very hybrid today, 3D planning is now standard and the communication part of my work has increased." Thanks to this good communication, Stefanie and her team were able to handle the planning for the new cooler, for example, completely decentralized and hybrid.
Only a man can become an engineer? Total nonsense!
However, hybrid and digital working at thyssenkrupp Polysius not only makes teamwork easier but also creates private freedom. Stefanie Richter's son was born in 2014. "I shared the parental leave with my husband," Stefanie says - a matter of course for her. Today, decentralized collaboration and flexible working hours make it easier for working parents to reconcile family and career, says the engineer.
When asked why more young women should become engineers, Stefanie clearly states, "Statements like 'Only a man can become an engineer’ are total nonsense! Girls and women have just as much talent for technology and STEM." Therefore, they should rely on their inner compass and not be afraid of studying to become engineers, where 90 percent of the students are male, she says. "With confidence and assertiveness, there's nothing standing in your way if the interest in engineering is there."
How to become an engineer?
And what skills should young people have to become an engineer? "A healthy perfectionism and the willingness to learn continuously and take on responsibility," says Stefanie. Structured thinking and action, as well as good teamwork and communication skills, are other important basics.
"For me, the training showed that it was exactly the right thing for me," says Stefanie. "But when you study mechanical engineering, you haven't yet committed for life," she explains. "There are many opportunities to specialize, both in your studies and your professional life.
If you are interested in technology and want to become an engineer, you can find our open positions - from internships to entry-level jobs - on our careers page.