Field Reports – Student Internships

Fritz Nauer AG

Research and Development internship field report

As the development engineer for Woodbridge FoamPartner in Chattanooga, TN, I had the unique opportunity to further my polyurethane knowledge by working at the FoamPartner headquarters in Wolfhausen, Switzerland. My continued training was to include both chemistry and manufacturing topics, and was to last around a year.

My role was to develop foam formulations and to see them through to production by assisting in the determination of optimal manufacturing process parameters. My work at FoamPartner involved more innovation than I normally encountered in Chattanooga; namely with the development of new products using novel technologies and specialty chemicals. I worked a lot with foam classes to which I had not previously been exposed such as high resiliency and visco-elastic foams. I actively managed projects including lab work, supplier communication, and regular updates to management. A few projects, in which I participated, led to successful new foam grades, which will see several exciting applications over the next few years.

My goals coming to FoamPartner were met, since I developed a much broader and deeper understanding of polyurethane foams. I look forward to applying my newfound knowledge to my future endeavors in this industry.

June 2015, Chase Lemonds

Research and Development internship field report

After completing my Master’s degree in Chemistry at EPFL in Lausanne, I wanted to find somewhere that would give me a new challenge in the industrial world. Fritz Nauer AG offered me an internship and allowed me to discover the interesting environment of a Research and Development laboratory.

In the process, I also discovered a region of Switzerland I was not familiar with, as I hopped from the beautiful shores of Lake Leman to those of Lake Zurich. Despite the commonly held view, the two sides of the Röstigraben are really not that different from each other.

Except for the language, of course. Speaking of which, this time has also been a great opportunity to try and improve my German (work still in progress), which I learned at school years ago but then slowly forgot. I didn’t have to use it at all during my studies, as courses were mainly in English or French. Swiss-German is another story...

I had done internships in various academic research labs during the course of my studies, and I would say the main difference here is the more application-oriented approach.

With the help of all my colleagues in the R&D lab, I have learned a lot about the field of Polyurethane, with which I was not very familiar, having studied mainly analytical and inorganic chemistry. I have also discovered the beauty and intricacies of foam-making.

I have been able to follow the testing and optimisation of projects from the first lab pours to the test line foaming and sometimes even production line trials. It’s exciting to see a whole new product take form, step by step.

I have also had the opportunity to participate in interesting projects involving industrial and academic partners.

All in all, my time by Fritz Nauer AG has been a very valuable experience, and one that I will not forget.

June 2015, Laurent Joye

Supply Chain Management internship field report

Following my studies in business and engineering, with a specialism in industrial engineering, my rucksack was packed full with theoretical expert knowledge, yet I had virtually no practical professional experience. Because the subject of Supply Chain Management interested me greatly during my studies, as it is cross-departmental and offers a great deal of optimisation potential, I decided to undertake an 8-month internship in this field at Fritz Nauer AG.
My expectations when it came to the internship and the demands on myself quickly seemed clear to me. The aim was to get a foot in the door in my career, play an active role in projects, and apply the knowledge I have learned in a real-life setting.

After receiving a warm welcome from my colleagues and setting up my workstation, I was able to concentrate on the tasks I was assigned fairly quickly. My main duties included analysing processes, as well as developing concepts and implementing them to optimise various logistics workflows. Assisting with and implementing data administration also formed part of my activities.
In order to master these tasks, I had to gain an insight into various areas of the supply chain, give presentations and chair meetings, as well as be active in terms of planning and creativity. In the analysis phase and in the planning field, I was able to benefit a great deal from the expert knowledge I had acquired. However, the biggest challenge for me was implementing the developed concept in reality while also incorporating all of the employees involved. I find that this experience can only be learned in practice.

Looking back, I can say that I had an intensive, exciting and informative internship at Fritz Nauer AG, during which all my expectations were met.
I particularly valued the freedom of movement, as I was free to help shape the projects and no limitations were set on my creativity.
I now have a permanent position as an AVOR administrator at Fritz Nauer AG and can wholeheartedly say that I do not regret a thing.

September 2013, Charbel Beschara

Quality Management/Supply Chain Management internship field report

After completing my studies in industrial engineering at Rafael Landívar University in Guatemala, I undertook an internship in the field of quality management at Fritz Nauer AG. Our main goal was to create and document the process landscape within the FoamPartner Group. In addition, my personal objectives during the internship were primarily to build on my skills and increase my knowledge. I was motivated during these 11 months of internship as I was able to draw on my knowledge from my industrial engineering studies when undertaking my work. In particular, I was also able to apply my training in the field of Supply Chain Management in a targeted manner.

I mainly dealt with processes throughout the company. The ‘process knowledge’ requirement was simplified for me thanks to the knowledge I had previously acquired. I was gradually able to make contributions myself when it came to defining and creating management, core and supportive processes. Many different workshops were held, which were helped by a noticeably good, pleasant working environment.

Defining processes was not the only task, as I also collaborated in various projects. I was able to provide a certain amount of assistance in implementing the project in areas such as Supply Chain Management, Production, Sales and Quality Assurance. In addition, I took part in technical and administrative training courses, which were a great help. By working together as a team, we successfully fulfilled our requirements.

Due to the experiences gained, which had an obvious link to my academic training and the real world, my motivation to later work professionally in this field increased.

I ultimately came to realise: “At FoamPartner, we achieve our goals together”.

September 2013, Gerardo Falla

FoamPartner Trading (Shanghai) Ltd.

Research & Development internship field report

Before I started my new job as an application engineer at FoamPartner Bock China, I first went on a journey through the European foam world. This both in the Fritz Nauer AG in Switzerland and in the Reisgies Schaumstoffe GmbH in Germany. Aiming to support the sales team at FoamPartner Bock better, I started my internship journey.

It was my first time to visit Europe in winter and the freezing temperature gave me a big surprise. However, the kind hospitality of Europe colleagues in both companies Fritz Nauer AG and Reisgies Schaumstoffe GmbH made me really feel warm in the cold winter.

In the companies, I got the best training about foaming chemistry, product applications and processing methods from both technical side and sales side. The colleagues were very kind to share their knowledge and experience with me and patiently gave me the answers to each of my questions.

Through these trainings I learned about the market prospect of foam industry and how to control the business, which made myself more and more qualified for my position. It proofed to be very curious for me to learn about some colleagues’ own cultures. Most colleagues were pleasantly surprised when I showed interests in their cultures and they were very willing to tell me more things. I also joined the Christmas dinner in FoamPartner Fritz Nauer AG and took a lot of pictures. Thanks to the kind hospitality of the whole FoamPartner Group, they made me really feel like home.

During weekends, I also visited some famous cities in Europe like Köln, Düsseldorf and Zürich. I was deeply impressed by the majestic cathedral, the deluxe Kingsallee street and the beautiful lake of Zürich. I even went to the Jungfraujoch to see the most famous mountain in Switzerland. Though I had some altitude sickness, the Piz Gloria Restaurant and the fantastic view on top of Jungfrau were wonderful!

Thanks to the nice colleagues in the FoamPartner Group, I got such a memorable three-month trip in Europe that I would hold these memories in my mind for the rest of my life.

February 2014, Charlie Luo

FoamPartner Singapore Pte. Ltd.

Research & Development internship field report

Shortly after joining FoamPartner Singapore as the new Product Development Engineer, I embarked on a training stint. I uprooted from Singapore for a stretch of almost 4 months to work and live in Germany and Switzerland.

My training commenced at Reisgies in Leverkusen in Germany. I spent the first month picking up the basics of foaming in the laboratory. With the help from the R&D department I expanded my knowledge of the various polyester foam. In addition I had the possibility to assist to other  departments within the company.

After spending two months in Germany, I began the second half of my training at Fritz Nauer AG in Wolfhausen in Switzerland. Similarly, I got to work mainly with the colleagues in the R&D department. This time, I have been exposed to the polyether and comfort foam business that FoamPartner is involved in.

Despite being in countries where I had no kin and where English is not spoken as the primary language, I did not feel lonely or helpless because my colleagues were very gracious and patient in helping me settle into the local working and living environment. Some of them even went out of their way and took time out to play host to me after working and over the weekends, enabling me to feel extremely welcome and very much a part of the FoamPartner family.

Living in a concrete jungle city of Singapore, the lush greenery and natural landscape in Europe felt as a fresh change for me. I thoroughly enjoyed the scenery that Germany and Switzerland offered throughout my stay there and on my trips to nearby cities and villages. I also savored the authentic cuisine of Germany and Switzerland, often enjoying the beer produced locally as well as the delicious Swiss chocolate.

The training program has enabled me to experience the the working methods and the daily life of my colleagues in Germany and Switzerland at close quarters. So I was able to get an impression of the dynamics in the polyurethane foam industry. The overall European experience has been amazing if not somewhat surreal because it seemed all new and different for me. I really had a good time and I have gained so much experience, independence and life-long knowledge from this training programme both on a personal and professional level.

February 2014, Paula Sng