Toy cars, game consoles, drinking cups – plastic has also become an indispensable part of our children’s lives. But how do you get it into shape and how can you produce new goods from already used plastic products? These were the questions explored by 15 curious children aged 7-12 on their excursion to ENGEL in Schwertberg as part of the Upper Austrian Children’s University.
“As a future-oriented company, it is particularly important for us to promote young talents and whet their appetite for technology, and as the father of two children, this is a personal concern of mine. We are supporting the Upper Austrian Children’s University again this summer out of conviction,” says ENGEL CEO, Dr Stefan Engleder.
The promotion of young talent is also of great importance outside the company’s own walls – the apprenticeship training is state-awarded.
The fact that strong partners are decisive is emphasised by Children’s University Rector Andreas Kupfer, MBA, who accompanied the 15 children on their excursion to ENGEL: “In the broad network of cooperation partners, innovative leading Upper Austrian companies like ENGEL play a particularly important role. On the one hand, the young students gain extraordinary insights into a globally active company, and on the other, they learn about the importance of technology and digitalisation in a practical way. We are very pleased to see how creatively and appreciatively the excursion to Schwertberg is prepared and implemented.”
Workshop at ENGEL in Schwertberg
Under the motto “From old to new: plastics in the material cycle,” the workshop was all about sustainability. A topic that has particular relevance for ENGEL as a company in the plastics industry.
“A modern, sustainable life is only possible with plastics,” Engleder makes clear. “To achieve this, however, we have to change the way we use it.” With its research and development work, ENGEL is making an important contribution to making processed plastic waste usable for a wide range of applications and expanding global recycling capacities. Introducing children and young people to the subject at an early age is crucial because smart minds are needed to master the challenges of the future.
“Our youth must realise that they have it in their hands to shape a better future with their career choice,” Engleder emphasises.
Learning to understand the injection moulding process
A special highlight was the miniature injection moulding machine that ENGEL apprentices had made especially for the workshop. The children crushed old plant pots and then fed them into the machine, where they were melted and pressed into a mould. In the end, a new plastic product was created. The machine was operated manually so that the children could observe the production process very closely.
“Presenting complex processes in a simple yet correct way is crucial to arousing curiosity in children,” explains Werner Wurm, head of the global apprentice training programme at ENGEL. “Not only the students at the Children’s University had great fun today, but also our apprentices, who got to pass on the knowledge they had already learned.”
The normal machines were not neglected either during the three-hour programme. The children worked on real ENGEL injection moulding machines and were then allowed to take home the stacking boxes they had produced themselves. The tour of the production hall where the green machines are built rounded off the programme. The courses at the Upper Austrian Children’s University will continue until the beginning of September.