Manual and mental work.
It’s easy to develop things – but the essential thing is that they have to function. You could also apply this realisation to the work of Steffen Hafner, lead engineer in electronics safety at Bertrandt. Here, for example, the comfort features of vehicles are tested to the limit. This includes vehicle seats with electrical adjustment, heating, ventilation and massage. Unlike in development, the functions of the control systems are tested here in conditions simulating actual operation on the road and in interplay with the overall vehicle electronics.
“Naturally, we are only responsible for a small part of the future of mobility,” says Steffen Hafner. “But, nevertheless, we are always right on trend in the sector, for example, where vehicle-driver networking is involved.” In this field, development is finally really getting going. So, for example, the physical and mental status of the driver and passengers could be measured via smart watch – pulse, temperature and humidity of the skin could be taken and transmitted to the comfort-controls of the vehicle. These would then suggest a suitable programme to optimise the comfort or performance of the driver: such as power napping, carefully chosen music or massage. “It is exciting, and will certainly become more important in the future.”
It is inconceivable that he and his team could lose touch with such innovative development. “On the one hand, we get along really well and are always there for our colleagues when they need us; on the other, we are extremely dynamic and motivated.” The rapid growth of the department and the team, as well as the mixture of graduates and practical technicians with their very different talents, also contribute to keeping them ahead of the curve. The work environment also leaves little to be desired. “Offices, laboratories, machinery – there is a very comfortable atmosphere here, and we are also completely up to date as regards technology.”
So no question that Steffen Hafner has felt good about working at Bertrandt since his first day, a good five years ago. But he also admits getting “the wrong end of the stick” occasionally – or should that be block? “After work, I run a small woodworking business, partly making butcher’s blocks and partly wooden gentlemen’s accessories like bow ties and cufflinks.” After the mental strain of the day, manual work evens out the balance.