What jobs does Daimler have for chemists? What makes working in the automotive industry particularly interesting for chemistry graduates? We spoke about these and other questions with Sabine Scharf, who works as a process specialist in chassis production in the Bremen Plant.
Hello Ms. Scharf, please introduce yourself briefly to our readers.
My name is Sabine Scharf. After a training program for chemistry lab technician I studied chemical engineering with a major in coating chemistry at the Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences.
My first job was in research as a scientific worker; during this time I also completed a sideline master's degree program in production technology. Since the end of 2013, I have been employed at Daimler in Bremen as process specialist in the areas of pretreatment and cathodic dip coating in chassis production surface engineering for the Roadster. After the body shell construction, the chassis are freed from adhesions like oil and dirt and are prepared for the subsequent coating. The cathodic dip coating provides protection against corrosion and the adhesion surface for the subsequent coating runs.
Why did you choose Daimler as your employer?
After learning about the scientific side for a few years, I really wanted to explore the practical side. From a specialist perspective automotive production is exciting to me because of the enormous demands placed on the coating. While the customer focuses primarily on the optics in the end, coatings have to be able to do a lot more. For example, they protect the vehicle against the elements, corrosion and stone chip damage. With its many great products, Daimler offers me an exciting and multifaceted topic area.
What is your typical work day like?
I don't have a typical work day. My job is to respond flexibly to the task requirements in production. For example, this involves the evaluation of chassis, support for optimizations or the search for impurities, which frequently requires creativity and endurance.
Besides responding to any existing challenges, the preventive work is enormously important. Here it is important to identify and control potential irregularities at an early stage before they occur. In addition, of course, there are also tasks that I perform regularly as part of my daily routine, such as reviewing the current status, monitoring of parameters or meetings. I keep in permanent contact with colleagues from different units, which I like very much – in order to look behind "the edge of the coating plate," so to speak.
What makes your unit especially exciting for you?
Before my job at Daimler many people from my environment had asked me if production was interesting. Today I can say that production is a very versatile field. The exciting thing here is that there are so many questions and task complexes. I am happy to be able to work in an area that is so important for the process up to the finished vehicle despite the fact that it is not so prominent in the external perception. Apart from that, the thematic area of coatings is interesting to me. I have an ongoing fascination with cathodic dip coating, which requires a special kind of application technology.
What were some special highlights for you this far?
One highlight was definitely the way I was taken in by my new colleagues. That was really great! I felt at home very quickly and can say that I have a great team.
In addition, there are many smaller and bigger highlights. I was hired via the Daimler Women Days, which is an event targeted at female engineers. The event was really great! We got to know various units and were able to ask many questions.
In addition, it's a great feeling for me to see a Mercedes built in Bremen on the street and to know that I have also worked on it.