06.09.2022 / Cristian Christen

From Fitter to Technician

I realized right away in the first semester of my further education to become a certified technician HF at the Inovatech University of Applied Sciences in Zofingen that with the right motivation, you can also really enjoy learning. Before that, school was more of a compulsory event for me. But as soon as I started my studies, I experienced a real surge of motivation. The technical subjects in particular fascinated me right from the start. The world of mechanical engineering opened up to me, which fascinated me more and more and about which I wanted to know more and more.

High practical relevance
Of course, the learning content of the six-semester course also included basic and general education subjects. But mathematics, physics, strength of materials and drive technology excited me the most right from the start. I particularly liked the fact that there was a lot of practical knowledge at the college, which we benefited from in class. When you think of mathematics, you first think of a lot of theory and a lot of formulas. But the lecturers always managed to link these with practical examples in class.

In the term papers, we had to put into practice what we had learned beforehand - for me, that's exactly what brought the greatest learning effect. Using a real project, for example, I had to develop an optimal drive concept for the main axis of a pick-and-place line gantry. The task was to ensure that two vertical gripper systems could achieve a certain acceleration in a certain time and then travel at a constant maximum speed. Together with the required extensive documentation, in which the method used and the solution finding had to be described, I learned a lot. 

What I particularly liked about my training: Because we were taught in small classes of no more than eleven people, the lessons were very personal. The instructors had enough time and opportunities to respond to each individual. They tailored their lessons to what we were particularly interested in and so the lessons always remained exciting and we progressed quickly. Corona didn't really slow us down either, even though the first lockdown started in the third semester. The switch to online classes took some time, but worked well overall. Only writing three-hour exams on site with a mask was not such a hit.

Good time management
Acquiring new skills, expanding expertise, learning more, knowing more - and all this alongside my job as a fitter. The studies required a high level of commitment, determination and the ability to organize myself independently. I continued to work 80 percent during this time and attended school on Fridays and Saturdays. I was particularly pleased that Muller Martini not only supported me organizationally, but also contributed financially to my further education. I am very grateful for this.

The key to success for me was good time management in order to balance work, school, learning and free time. Nothing should come up short. At the beginning, it was not easy for me to estimate how much time I needed to prepare for the exams. But after the second semester, you develop a good feeling for it. My tip is to plan times when you can relax. For me, that was always a fixed evening during the week. This also keeps you motivated, which - as mentioned above - is the key to success.

Best thesis
The final but also the highlight of the study was the preparation of the diploma thesis. This was to deal with a specific project from my own company and here, too, my colleagues at Muller Martini supported me perfectly. Our technical department gave me the task of designing a new web feed unit for the SigmaFolder, part of our SigmaLine digital book production line. A really cool assignment. I had to design a concept construction that would cover different layout variations and be modularly configurable to the customer's requirements. It was a huge challenge, as I had to acquire a lot of additional knowledge. But the effort was worth it. 

Because at the graduation ceremony I received the award for the best thesis. I really hadn't expected that! It was a nice coincidence that exactly this prize was awarded by the Muller Martini Foundation for Culture, Science and Education. A great conclusion and a reward for three really challenging years.

Of course, many people are now asking me what's next after the study. With the degree, I can gain a foothold in design and development departments. If this change could take place for the next career step at Muller Martini, all the better.

Cristian Christen
Muller Martini AG