Facteon People: Introducing Mathias Koller, Junior Design Engineer

What elements of your role are you most excited about?

I’m enjoying the opportunity to contribute to the whole process. As Facteon manages the process from end-to-end, my role is focused on machinery design yet I have exposure to machinery build and commissioning as well. This level of exposure ultimately allows me to further develop my skill set. The opportunity to design machinery and then work alongside the machine builders allows for a greater appreciation of the process from design to commissioning.

With most projects, we can see the production line operating before it leaves our facility. This provides a real sense of appreciation for how the contribution of each team member is required to deliver the customer’s requirements. It also allows for learnings regarding how the machinery design affects the potential to build the line and modify it in the future.

When manufacturers approach Facteon asking us to modify a line we delivered several years earlier, it’s essential that the line is designed in a way which means it’s simple to adapt later if the customer’s requirements change. Of course, all lines designed today utilise flexible manufacturing principles to minimise the need to significantly modify the line in future.

Where do you see the manufacturing industry five years from now?

Rather than a drastic shift, I’m expecting to see a continued evolution of the manufacturing industry. Industrial IoT (IIoT) technologies have and will certainly continue to enable greater connectivity. There is also an increasing array of data input options. As sensors become more widely available and increasingly cost-effective, manufacturers can now draw data from machinery of any age. This has also shaped the mechanical design side of the industry. It’s no longer a case of re-building a factory from the ground up to adhere to smart manufacturing principles. Instead, it’s about taking stock of your current factory assets and considering how they can be repurposed and adjusted to meet your factory requirements today and in the future.

My main advice to manufacturers regarding data is that you can collect all the data in the world, but it’s not worth anything unless you’re able to understand it. To do something meaningful with data, it’s essential to ingest that data into a system that turns it into information. The ability to interpret key trends is valuable to manufacturers looking to making use of machinery data.

How do you see the role of a Design Engineer evolving as the manufacturing industry advances?

As the role of the Design Engineer changes, the way mechanical engineering is taught at universities is also changing. New graduates are taught more advanced engineering concepts. If you’re an engineer already working in industry, it’s important to continue learning. It’s become clear that smart manufacturing is certainly not a fad. It’s a way of operating which is paying dividends for many manufacturers. The level of flexibility and the ability to meet consumer demand so effectively is something we haven’t seen before. It’s also driven by the end consumer. For that reason, manufacturers, and those designing manufacturing solutions, must remain on the leading edge of these innovations to capitalise on the potential of these technologies.

What’s your advice to any future engineering graduates about to start their career as a Design Engineer?

I have two pieces of advice for soon to be graduates. The first is to gain hands-on experience. Whether that’s through a university or hobby project, you’ll challenge yourself and learn new skills along the way.

Another piece of advice I would give is to speak with people in a similar role to where you’re working towards. By connecting with other people early in their careers, you’ll get tangible advice regarding the skills you need to develop and what you need to do to take those next steps in your career.

Mathias  Koller

Mathias Koller

Junior Design Engineer

Having joined Facteon in mid-2021, Mathias supports Facteon’s design engineering team in the development of automated production lines. The opportunity to blend traditional engineering with advanced automation appeals to Mathias as he’s able to work with a range of modern manufacturing technologies. Mathias’ holds a Masters in Mechanical Engineering from Technical University of Munich.