Women’s power at Sihl

Our machines and their names

1. July 2020
Without Mona, Polly and their hardworking "colleagues", nothing would work at Sihl. The production would stop because the "ladies" are not humans, but our machine

The idea behind the female first names: The employees should see themselves as part of the company familiy. The idea of naming the coating machines with women’s names was born at the beginning of the 1960s and became a loved tradition in the last decades at the production facility in Dueren.

The “new women” in the company

From the very first, the employees were involved in the process of finding names for “their” machines and could co-decide how they should be called. It all started with Olga. When “she” was installed as one of the first machines in 1962 for the production of lampshade paper and laminations, the management of the company came up with the idea because people working at the machine should enthuse about their Olga very proudly.

And this concept worked: The colleagues did not just go to work in the morning, they went to Olga which may have caused confusion in some families, as many anecdotes tell you when you visit the factory today.

The special naming for the machines was even so popular that machines older than Olga, which did not have female names yet, were renamed later. For example one of the oldest “ladies” that went into operation in 1952 was named appropriately Oma (gandma).

Creative naming for Olga’s “sisters”

In 1965 Paula followed Olga to advance the production of fiber-reinforced paper because this product had been taken over from another manufacturer in Dueren and was developed further. In 1968 the next machine started up: our Polly. And just like her “big sisters” Olga and Paula, she still runs today. Her name is derived from her manufacturer Polityp.

After numerous other machines and female names like Lilo (1969), Mary (1970), Elke (1970), Frieda (1972), Biggi (1982) and Helga (1984), Diana moved into the production halls in Dueren in 1988. She was named after the diagram paper they coated on her.

The employees were particularly creative and imaginative when they had to find a name for their Dolly, which came to Sihl in 1990: “D” stands for dielectric, “ol” is taken from the name of the builder Oellers and “ly” was supposed to reflect blueprint paper – a product from the very beginning at RENKER/Sihl that was produced on it.

New machines – old tradition

Following this long history, it quickly became clear that our two new “family members” – the machines that will move from the production hall in Bern to Dueren in 2020 – should also have female names. Once again, an internal ideas competition brought the decision: Since May, art print media and canvas from the application area Photo & Art as well as products for Advertising & POS are coated with Mona. Consequently, her “sister” which will also come to Dueren in 2020 will be named Lisa.