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A Koll for every season

Work that is carried out behind the scenes of a project is often not recognised or is overshadowed by the end product. „A lot of preliminary work, discussions with customers, fine technical adjustments and countless little steps help WFL to achieve the perfect end product for delivery to the customer,“ says Reinhard Koll, head of application engineering. Since before WFL Millturn Technologies had even been founded (formerly being Voestalpine Steinel), einhard Koll and his team to this day keep this important cog in the WFL machinery turning and conduct all the pre-project work in line with the holistic „MILLTURN“ concept. Special technical requirements are continuously incorporated into projects in order to ensure customer satisfaction. We were lucky enough to be able to ask Reinhard Koll a couple of questions at the heart of WFL‘s base in Linz.

Mr. Koll, we would love to gain a small insight into your personal background and to learn a bit about where your love of machining comes from.

My father had always worked with metal throughout my childhood. He was a smith in his spare time, so I’ve really had an interest in metalworking since before I could even pick up a hammer. I then looked for an apprenticeship in the metalworking sector and trained as a lathe operator. After a period of training and a few months working the night shift, in January 1985 I applied for a position as a technician at the voest demonstration centre and worked on the first MILLTURN machine. In 1991 a few of my projects came into fruition and I was made head of application engineering.

How much have things changed at WFL over the years?

Back then the field was new and machine tool engineering was undergoing radical change. The new technology of multi-functional machines was ridiculed and people kept reverting back to traditional methods. At the time I’d often hear people say: “If I want to turn something, I’ll buy a turning machine, and if I want to mill something, I’ll buy a milling machine; everything else is just a toy.” However, this criticism spurred us on and made us redouble our efforts. To cut a long story short, the first complete machining centres were way ahead of their time, so we can safely say that Linz is the birth place of complete machining. WFL is now a technology leader, so I’d say the hard work has paid off.

Were you a model student or a bit of a rebel at school?

I certainly wasn’t a model student, just ask my parents. I’m sure both of them could still tell you a few funny stories. Learning just never used to be that important to me – I did what was necessary. The turning point for me was my apprenticeship; the interest was there so I found it easier to learn and I learned more quickly.

What does WFL mean to you?

WFL is a way of life. WFL continuously drives further development and improvement. For me, the idea of self-improvement, testing boundaries and pushing them even further has always been the essence of all things in life. Of course there are always complications, but with the right team you can tackle them together and help one another.

Reinhard Koll and his team – how are things planned and carried out?

Customer enquiries always come to me first. When delegating enquiries, both capacity and the employee’s area of expertise are considered. Of course it may be the case that one employee has to process several enquiries at once, but we place a great deal of emphasis on teamwork. Despite a lot of work and stress, my team is extremely well-integrated and we tackle every task together.

Which details do you pay particular attention to?

First of all: the customer is KING. Working closely with the customer is our top priority. In this respect, we focus on honesty, accuracy and openness. This can be difficult in some cases, but up to now we have overcome every  complex challenge. In such cases we focus on working together and try to offer the customer the best solution for their needs.

How do you balance your career, family and spare time with the stresses of daytoday life?

You have to separate family and work – as fulfilling and inspiring as your job may be, your family should always come first! I make the most of every second with my family or my friends and I really enjoy this time. This is the only way I can recharge my batteries and be re-energised for the challenges faced on a daily basis.

Is there anything that you still want to do in life – what are the top 3 items on your “bucket list”?

My list is certainly pretty extensive, but the top 3 are quite clear: to experience Siberia in winter, to see an active Volcano in real life, and one very personal wish would be to go for a walk my brother-inlaw up our local mountain. Unfortunately he has been in a wheelchair for some time following a serious bike accident. He can take a few steps but walking is not possible for him at the moment. It will be quite a while yet before we can fulfil this dream, but until then the “GIS” (the peak of our local mountain) will be eagerly awaiting us.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Hmm… in 10 years I’ll be 62 years young. Of course, my plan is to spend these 10 years at WFL. I will start passing tasks on to the next generation at some point, but sitting back and relaxing is certainly not an option for me, as further development is key for WFL and also for myself.

What does the future hold? What trends can we look forward to?

There is still a long way to go before we achieve our objectives in the field of complete machining. There are new challenges to be overcome every day, as countless new technologies and processes are being integrated into  complete machining. Take automation and digitisation, for example. These polarising forces are being pushed worldwide to improve the economy and its liquidity. The cost-benefit factor will therefore play a considerable role in the future.

What goals are being set for 2025?

As the inventor of complete machining, at WFL we must remain on the ball and set the pace for 2025, but also find out where the limits are and set new benchmarks. Under no circumstances do we want to give up our technological lead; we want to expand it!

Responsible for the content of this press release: WFL Millturn Technologies GmbH & Co. KG

Contact

WFL Millturn Technologies GmbH & Co. KG
Wahringerstraße 36
4030 Linz
Austria
+43 732 6913-0
+43 732 6913-8172

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