Wolfgang is shift manager for precision machining in the semiconductor manufacturing division at ZEISS: When Wolfgang comes to work, the first thing he does is consult the handover sheet. Who operated which machine? Did anything out of the ordinary happen? People and industrial robots work different shifts here day and night, a well-oiled machine. The humming of the production equipment is a familiar accompaniment to the precision work done on optical parts at ZEISS' Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology segment. It's not too loud, but just loud enough so you know that something new is being created right here.
Wolfgang knows ZEISS from the ground up. And that's no surprise as he's been working at the company's Ostalb site for over 30 years. He joined the company as an apprentice industrial mechanic and got to know the different areas over the years, from optical small batch production to the lab. "My job is very diverse," he says, his enthusiasm for his work clear in his voice. "No two days are the same. That's because every part we produce comes with its own challenges, which means my work is always exciting and varied."
Exceptional precision is the order of the day when it comes to precision machining. The industrial robots carefully handle the parts, some of which are tiny, giving them a final polish under the employees' watchful eyes. Wolfgang leads the processes during his shift. He assigns the employees to their workstations, is on hand to provide expert advice, and can assist them should the need arise.
Wolfgang and his team work in the Intermediate Machining division. That means they lay the groundwork for manufacturing the world's most precise optics, which are then used to produce the latest microchips and thus enable digital progress. It's easy to see that this is no job for people who do things by the book. "You always have to consider the ways in which a production step can be successful," he says.
No two days are the same. That's because every part we produce comes with its own challenges, which means my work is always exciting and varied.Wolfgang, shift leader for precision machining
Serial products with routine processes wouldn't interest Wolfgang. He's someone who loves trying out new things and is able to get good ideas off the ground. And when he encounters a product that's particularly tricky to manufacture, he's itching to get started. Wolfgang then makes a plan: which team member should be assigned to a particular machine? Then he considers the best way to organize the production steps. "I particularly enjoy working with my colleagues," he says, adding: "It's important for us to work as a team. Otherwise we'd be in trouble. We have to be able to rely on one another."
You always have to consider the ways in which a production step can be successful.Wolfgang, shift leader for precision machining
As a shift leader, Wolfgang recognizes the importance of a great team and the opportunity to expand one's skill set. "Professional development is key," he says. The range of training courses on offer online is highly varied and reads like someone's personal development plan. "Anyone who wants to add to their skill set can approach their team leader and sign up for an event," he explains. This opportunity, and the job security that ZEISS offers its employees, are aspects that he deems invaluable.
But Wolfgang must press on – it's time for his next shift.