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When Dr. Szopinski holds the plug and mating plug to his ear, inserts them into each other and waits for the latch to engage, he is concentrated. When it clicks, its eyes glow. A
simple but beautiful test, this 'click test'. The latching noise must have a certain, standard-compliant volume. Why? A worker needs the acoustic feedback that the plug is properly engaged - at 70 decibels, because it's loud in the factory."
Dr. Daniel Szopinski, head of the EK central laboratory, enjoys his job very much. As a recent graduate in chemistry, with a focus on development and processing
of sustainable plastics, he immediately had a team of seven people at five locations worldwide to lead - a big responsibility.
The activities are broadly diversified for the head of the central laboratory, which is part of a combined laboratory for electrical cables and wiring harness systems, internally jokingly called the "EKEL" laboratory. For example, once a connector has been designed and developed, it must be put to the test with mechanical and electrical tests. And the lifetime of a wiring harness must be mapped within the framework of the climate test. "It can be as long as 15 years, but we can't wait that long ... that's why we artificially age the wiring harness in the oven. We also apply very harsh climatic conditions, such as thermal shock tests from -40 to 130 degrees Celsius, to the wiring harnesses."
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Real detective work, on the other hand, is required when field failures occur. "Different analyses must be carried out until the reason for the failure is discovered. You can let off steam a little," says Szopinski. But the laboratory is not just about testing, it's also about development. "When new projects start, we see which connectors are newly developed for them. The design has to be validated in the laboratory." So every day brings new challenges, routine never comes up. "The only thing that remains constant is the freshly prepared lunch in the well-equipped company restaurant," joked Szopinski.
Poland, China, Mexico, Moldova: The worldwide locations have their own laboratories. Moldova, where the laboratory is currently under construction, is a particularly exciting location. Conditions such as humidity and temperature are standardized for laboratories. The equipment must be uniform at all locations. "This is not about the individual's comfort temperature and favorite equipment, but about comparable framework conditions," explains Szopinski. "That's challenging, but also a lot of fun.