Kempchen Dichtungstechnik, a German member of the KLINGER family, fills multiple roles within the Group. On the one hand, it develops and produces gaskets, packings and compensators. On the other hand, however, the company, which has been around since 1889, is also one of Germany's premier trainers for all matters pertaining to the safe as well as the correct installation and handling of gaskets and valves. Next to E-Learning offerings and workplace aids for technicians in the form of Apps, the company maintains various training facilities in the country and also provides on-site courses for customers, which can also be booked to include the "KLINGER on Tour Truck". Kempchen Dichtungstechnik recently had the honor of training colleagues from Wacker Chemie AG. To be precise, a total of 601 employees.
The Wacker Chemie AG can look back on an impressive history. Formed over 100 years ago in 1914, the company with its headquarters in Munich has spread to all key regions of the world and boasts a staff of 17,200 employees. Wacker is organized into four business divisions – Silicones, Polymers, Biosolutions and Polysilicon – and operates a total of 23 production sites around the globe. Its global presence is further enhanced by representations and sales offices in 31 different countries. Wacker's business activities extend into virtually every industry branch and include, for example, products for the construction industry, for the healthcare sector and life sciences as well as for the automotive, the textile or the pulp & paper industry.
Maintaining the standard
As a producer of a wide range of chemical products that include, amongst others, silanes used for the creation of insulation layers in semiconductors, Wacker Chemie AG understands that two factors are decisive for international success: Plant downtimes must be kept at an absolute minimum in order to ensure continuous production. Plant safety, on the other hand, must be maintained at a high level at all times in order to guarantee that no harm comes to employees, goods, plant infrastructure or the environment. As an active supporter and promoter of plant safety, Wacker Chemie AG co-authored a guideline on the correct installation of flange connections in process plants in 2011 together with other "names" such as BASF, Bayer and Merck, and subsequently used it as an internal standard. Bearing this in mind, it goes without saying that the German chemical company has welcomed the introduction of the EN 1591-4 (Flanges and their joints – Qualification of personnel competency in the assembly of the bolted connections of critical service pressurized systems), which offers a way to certify that bolting and process engineers are capable of carrying out their safety-critical work in a qualified, and above all, correct manner. And in order to train a total of 601 employees at the business locations Burghausen and Nünchritz, Wacker Chemie AG contacted several training providers, among them Kempchen Dichtungstechnik.
"We were one of several companies asked by Wacker Chemie AG to submit a quotation regarding the training of more than 600 employees at two business locations in Germany," confirms Dirk Schmidt, Sales Director of Kempchen Dichtungstechnik, and adds: "According to the customer, we were able to win this project as a result of several factors that spoke in our favor. They included, amongst others, the mobile and flexible solution we were able to offer via our mobile training platform, the 'KLINGER on Tour Truck'. Furthermore, Wacker was also quite impressed by our proposed method of familiarizing the employees with the contents of the EN 1591-4." What Dirk Schmidt is referring to here is the fact that Kempchen Dichtungstechnik firmly believes that, next to know-how, the "know-why" is also of great importance. In other words, understanding what is actually occurring in a flange is just as important as teaching the approved installation and handling methods. "Our courses include special visualization methods such as for example digital photogrammetry. This enables our participants to see the effects of their work on a pipe system and really hammers home the effects of a sloppy installation or the application of an incorrect torque," explains Dirk Schmidt.
As already stated, a total of 601 employees were trained in compliance with the requirements of EN 1591-4 at two business locations of Wacker Chemie AG. "591 of the participants successfully graduated from the course and were certified in accordance with the standard," reports Ulrich Dönges, Head of Training at Kempchen Dichtungstechnik, and adds: "Five participants were subjected to a re-examination of their acquired knowledge and subsequently certified. The remaining five participants, with the approval of their superiors, decided to abstain from taking the test a second time."
Next to obviously being able to train and certify large quantities of students in short periods of time – Kempchen Dichtungstechnik carried out a total of 38 training days in 2016 and has so far completed 28 days of trainings in this year – quality is also of great importance: "Companies with more than 300 participants attending our courses are not only generally taught in accordance with the of EN 1591-4, but also with regard to their company-own specifics," says Dirk Schmidt, "this covers the individual pipe classes, bolted connections and flange connections utilized by the corresponding company." Having completed their task for Wacker Chemie AG, Kempchen Dichtungstechnik took a moment to reflect on the reasons for the successful outcome: "I believe that our flexibility, our mobility and our willingness to adapt to the on-site requirements are our key success factors," summarizes Dirk Schmidt, and adds: "We can offer trainings at the business locations of our customers, at our very own training facilities or wherever they are required – the latter is made possible by the 'KLINGER on Tour Truck'. Last but not least, our ability to integrate the specifics of a plant operator into our EN 1591-4 offering represents a significant value add for our customers."