“What could be so interesting about paper and film?”

My school internship at Sihl

5. July 2024
Raphael Mast
What could be so interesting about paper and film? I asked myself this question at the beginning of my internship. I had no idea how much I would change my mind after three days! My name is Raphael Mast. I am in ninth grade at the Inda-Gymnasium in Kornelimünster and I was lucky enough to spend a three days internship getting to know the day-to-day work at Sihl GmbH.

I was not aware of the variety of products that I would be able to see. From material for menus, envelopes, lorry speedometer discs, admission tickets, labels for shower gel bottles or seawater-safe labels for containers, T-shirt transfer paper, label paper that only sticks to itself, and that’s not all!

During this time, I have gathered numerous impressions and learnt about several career paths. The professions I have learnt about include:

Chemical technician: Various chemical solutions are needed to refine paper and films. However, these must of course be suitable for the product, and when a new material is required, you always need a few smart minds to create the right product through testing.

Lagerregal mit Rollen
Lange weiße Beschichtungsmaschine in heller Produktionshalle

Production foreman: The production foreman manages the machine operators. The sheer size of the production facilities is simply overwhelming. I didn’t expect so many different machines to be needed. An annual production volume of 110,000 kilometres of paper is more than enough to wrap our planet twice.

Quality assurance: To ensure that the goods always reach the customer in top quality, there are a few hard-working engineers in this department who make sure that the high level of quality is maintained. They also check purchased raw materials and analyse rejected material. They use complicated technical testing methods and equipment to do this.

Warehouse: This is where the finished goods are packed and loaded for dispatch.

Application technician: I learnt a lot about printers and methods at the AEC (Advanced Experience Centre). This doesn’t mean the small printer you use at home. These are bigger, more expensive and use a wide variety of printing methods. Even printing on 3D objects is possible!

Inside Sales/Customer Service: Communication with the sales representatives, customers and other departments is important in this department. A versatile job in which foreign languages are certainly welcome. If you like working in a team, this is the perfect place for you.

All the employees I met were always helpful and open to my questions. The size of the machines alone blew me away and when I learnt about the huge range of products that are manufactured here, I couldn’t even imagine how it all works. But it does, especially through teamwork. All departments must collaborate to be successful. This works particularly well at Sihl.

I want to thank the Sihl team for taking the time to show me around and answer all my questions. It was an amazing opportunity which I highly recommend to other pupils.