CHRISTOPH SCHÄFER

Careers for mature students

I originally entered the world of work in the mid-1990s in the conventional manner by training as an industrial mechanic with Otto Bihler Maschinenfabrik. Looking back, this laid the foundation for all the subsequent steps I took right through to the present day. I then went to Augsburg University of Applied Sciences as a mature student, where I took a degree in mechanical engineering, specialising in production and automation technology.

My final diploma thesis gave me access to a position with KUKA Systems in Augsburg, where I worked for several years. The real focus of interest here was car body engineering. I was involved on site with various OEMs worldwide (BMW, OPEL, FORD…) as well as carrying out process engineering tests in the KUKA application lab.

During this period I decided to take an in-service master's degree in technology management – the level of expertise provided by a conventional degree in mechanical engineering was no longer sufficient to meet the rapidly increasing demands in my area of activity.

In mid-2006 I moved back to Bihler after being offered an interesting position there. This time I was responsible for setting up and managing the testing department and the welding technology unit. Here I was in charge of running test series of feasibility analyses during the development phase in order to establish new methods: I was also responsible for product prototype testing and welding technology testing in connection with various projects.

Since mid-2011 I have been responsible for product management with support from an NC Consulting group: the focus here is on introducing new products. What I particularly like about my current job with Bihler is the variety of different challenges, issues and projects I am involved in – all of which give the opportunity to actively shape the future of Bihler and the Bihler product range.