Paper Machine Operator
How long have you been working at Mondi Frantschach and how did your career develop?
I started an apprenticeship as a paper technician at Mondi Frantschach in 2008. After completing my apprenticeship for 3.5 years and the final apprenticeship examination, I was offered a permanent position in the paper production sector. I accepted this offer with great pleasure and started working in shifts in April 2012. Initially I started with our three rewinders followed by other areas. My work was mainly concentrated on PM7 and PM8 machines. I worked in the stock preparation department as a refiner attendant and then as an assistant to the machine operator. In 2020, I operated the PM7 for the first time as machine operator and led the team. Although I am still at the very beginning of my career as a machine operator, I am very curious to see where this path will take me.
Tell us about your time as an apprentice.
When I started, I was the first woman in this apprenticeship role. Besides me, there was another woman who started her apprenticeship as a mechanical engineering technician, so then we were two. The time at vocational school was an exciting and thrilling one. We were only four women among the paper technicians at that time in Austria, and that was something very special in a profession that had previously been chosen more by men.
What does your working day look like today?
My working day is very varied. There is no real routine, because my shift rhythm is always changing. High flexibility is required, but that's exactly what I like. In my case, family and career life is combined smoothly, whether I work in the morning, afternoon or night. My favourite shift is the night shift because you actually get most of the rest of the day. Of course you sleep in the morning, but you can make the most of your free time.
What was it like for you to operate the PM7 for the first time as a machine operator?
I was very excited! Everything worked and the machine produced "very well". It was really a great feeling and a confirmation of my work and the trust that was placed in me. My colleagues were very proud of me and I was very proud of myself, of course. Cooperation is essential, especially at the beginning as a new machine operator. You are only as good as the team that works with you!
What are your tasks as a machine operator on PM7?
The PM7 team always consists of three people. Two control production and one person operates the rewinder. As machine operator, I control the production process along with my colleague. You have a lot of responsibility, because the most important thing is to produce high quality paper and not have downtime. I pay attention to the speed of the machine and try to ensure optimum productivity. As a machine operator, I pay utmost attention to safety – that’s not only my job, but also for the safety of my colleagues.
What is produced on PM7?
On PM7 we produce machine glazed Speciality Kraft Papers - also called MG paper. The paper is mainly used for packaging and carrier bags.
What fascinates you about the papers you produce?
I believe that it will become even more important in the future to offer sustainable and environmentally friendly packaging solutions for our customers. Consumers, whether in retail or other sectors, are consciously paying attention to sustainability. Paper will certainly displace other currently used packaging and serve as a basis for application in many areas. We are all in touch with packaging / bags / carrier bags, made from our paper on an almost daily basis – we should be aware of that. I often think of this when I buy bread or rolls from the baker. When my two nephews go shopping with me, they often ask me, "Auntie, did you make this paper?" I very often answer YES, because I recognise our paper from Frantschach immediately!
What was your "Mondi Moment"?
I don't need to think long - my "Mondi Moment" was after I finished my apprenticeship. I got a lot of positive feedback from the trainers here at the Frantschach mill and then I got the job in paper production at Mondi Frantschach and was the first woman in this position at that time. I always wanted to work in a "male profession" and with the job, a wish came true. A very special moment!
What is your favourite thing about Mondi Frantschach?
Mondi Frantschach has always supported and promoted me in my career. I feel very much at home in my shift team, we really are a great team that doesn't miss out on the fun. Mondi Frantschach for instance, organised excursions during our shifts! We support each other and my colleagues are also my friends outside work. I enjoy going to work.
What advice would you like to give to young women interested in technology?
They should dare to do something and under no circumstances should they put their heads in the sand. Young women should be confident, especially in professions in which the majority are men. I would recommend one of my mottos to everyone - "If you start something, you finish it!" - That also helped me during my apprenticeship. What is still very important is open communication with colleagues and superiors. If there is a problem, you have to address it and you must not be shy. There is always a solution.