For the latest edition of our Newsletter, we spoke with Eduard Enggist, one of our experienced applications engineers, and asked him a few questions about his career and personal life. Read here what he has to say about himself and his everyday work at Steinemann.

Interviewer: First we would like to ask you a few personal questions …

Rock or pop? Rock
Summer or winter? Summer
Sleep in late or get up early? Get up early
Coffee or tea? Coffee
Stay home or travel Travel

If you could meet a famous person, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Meryl Streep. She’s really a great actress and she has a lot of personalities.

What’s your favorite film of hers?
«Out of Africa».

What actor would you want to play you if your life story were ever filmed?
Leonardo di Caprio. He’s also a very talented actor. I think he makes great movies as well, and he can be funny too.

What did your parents want you to be when you grew up?
A civil engineer. My father had a construction company, which I was supposed to take over one day.

And you didn’t want to?
I started souping up mopeds at a very early age. Machines were just more my thing and that’s why I wanted to study something in the field. So I started a vocational-technical program in the canton of Basel-Country. The company I trained with sent me to Taiwan to work in a factory run by the Taiwanese military. I already wanted to travel back then!

And how did you end up in Eastern Switzerland?
After my assignment in Taiwan, I worked all over Switzerland. When I saw the job at Steinemann, working as a technician all around the world, I decided to apply, and that was 29 years ago!

And where was your first assignment?
In Germany.

Today you are an applications engineer at Steinemann Technology AG. Can you describe a typical work day?
There’s no such thing as typical! Sometimes I work in the office, sometimes I visit customers. Over the years, I also started handling order processing in our ERP system: I respond to customer inquiries and support customers with technical issues by phone or go see them on site. A lot of times I conduct sanding belt and insert tests with them on their premises.

Do you see major differences in your daily work compared to the early days?
The travel time was much longer back then. Once I had an assignment in Australia. It took me 30 hours to get there! The job took 3 days and the return trip another 30 hours.

What do you like most about your job, or what part of it do you enjoy most?
The customer contact. Especially on their premises. I really enjoy that, like recently: I spent two weeks in the field visiting customers and then two weeks working in the office. Sometimes I spend more time in the field, sometimes less.

What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you in all the years as a field service technician?
On my first assignment in South Korea, I received information prior to my trip on where the plant was located. I had to take a taxi from the airport, because no one came to pick me up. The taxi driver couldn’t speak English, and I couldn’t speak Korean. I just gave him the address I had received. After driving for maybe three or four hours, the taxi driver asked me where the plant was. The address I had been given turned out not to be a city, but an entire region.
There was vast landscape visible in front of us and suddenly I saw smoke rising from a tall smokestack. So I told him to head that way. Fortunately, it ended up being the right place!

Back then, traveling was a real adventure. We didn’t have smartphones, Internet or GPS navigation; we depended on the information we got from customers and on local public transportation. It was an exciting time.

What was the most memorable event you experienced at Steinemann?
That would be when Steinemann told me I should start looking for an apartment in Asia! We went on all assignments back then – worldwide! We were based in Switzerland, but usually spent between four and twelve weeks on the road. I didn’t know then how long I would end up staying. I just had my first assignment, then the next and so on.

How long were you in Asia in the end?
Altogether about six years. I set up the Service organization there together with Hansjörg Fritsche. I trained the very first technician, and later many more.

Why did you keep returning to Switzerland?
Asia was beautiful, but Switzerland is too beautiful NOT to return (laughs). But also, I had never intended to be away for the duration. I identify too strongly as Swiss for that!

Service staff also have to deal with customer complaints. What situation do you encounter most often and what is the usual solution?
Since we started manufacturing belts, we get a lot of questions about them, including ones about surface quality. We try to solve most problems by phone. If we can’t, we send out a technician. Poor surface quality can be caused by different things, such as bearing damage or an imbalanced drum, which in turn causes vibration.

What do you think is the solution?
The entire drum, with its bearing assembly, can be replaced. And then it’s like new. And we also issue another two-year warranty in such cases. Or the customer can replace the bearing assembly. But most customers send us an order, for quality reasons.

Edi’s tips for drum maintenance:

  • Check its overall condition on a regular basis
  • Use a bearing ring to check the parallel positioning of top and bottom drums
  • Check for uniform grooves in the drum
  • Regularly grease the roller bearings
  • Replace the bearings every 2 to 3 years
  • Always have a drum, complete with bearings, on hand, so you can quickly replace the one in use
  • Ship used drums including the bearings to Steinemann for repair

What was the nicest compliment you ever received from a customer?
When customers are happy at the end of a job, they often invite me to dinner. I have had a lot of wonderful evenings. Sometimes they also call up and say that the technician was good and they want to work with me again in the future.

You are celebrating your 30th anniversary with Steinemann next year. What do you wish for the company in the future?
That it continues to be as good as it is now. That it actively pursues product development, so that Steinemann still exists 50 years from now. To this day, I stand behind Steinemann products 100%.