Many thanks to our cooperation partners the NAT initiative and mint:pink for the following report on their visit to our company. Among the things, what the mint:pink project does is to get female students excited about careers in scientific vocations by arranging exciting visits to companies and research institutions.

Coatings put to the test - mint:pink on research and development at Mankiewicz

Magenta is the color of the day and Julian slowly swings the spray gun from left to right, lowering his arm on nearing the edge of the sheet metal. In a separate paint booth with the large glass fronts, Greta and Tina stand in white full-body suits with protective masks over their faces while they listen to explanations by the second-year trainee paint laboratory technician. Other students from the Luisen high school in Hamburg crowd in front of the glass panes of the paint booth, eager to see how their two fellow paint pioneers will make out. It's the fourth day of the mint:pink program and the girls are visiting industrial coatings manufacturer Mankiewicz. Together with his colleagues in training, first-year industrial manager Leo has planned this day for the schoolgirls. "Who wants to give it a try next?" he asks the girls gathered around. Seven arms shoot into the air.

What it comes down to

After ten minutes, two large sheets are evenly painted and Greta and Tina step out of the booth and back into the hall, visibly satisfied. In the testing department, coatings are tested by being applied under various environmental conditions. Whether high humidity or different temperatures, everything can be simulated. "That wasn't so easy," the two remark. To get a good result it all comes down to the right amount of paint and air supply through the spray gun, as well as the speed at which it is moved. "It gets pretty hot in these suits," Tina notes as she tries to pull the white fabric over her shoe. Earlier, the students were allowed to mix the paint themselves. "Here you have to add something to cure the paint, our products include systems with one or two components. This coating’s used in aviation, for example," Julian elaborates.

Quality before quantity

Aviation is only one of many sectors by which the manufacturer's coatings are used. The family business is now managed by the fourth generation, has affiliates around the world and specializes in customized paint systems. The research and development department at its Hamburg-Wilhelmsburg site is correspondingly large and where the schoolgirls will be able to explore as part the morning of their fourth day in the mint:pink program. One stop is at quality control, where products are tested to withstand the rigors of their specifications using various mechanical and chemical processes. "How long does it take for a paint to be fully developed?" questions Leni, while working on her sample painted sheet. "That depends a lot on the customer's requirements and what raw materials are available," answers the lab technician, who earlier explained to the girls how the various devices work. "Several days or months, or even years; it can take some time."


The girls get to see a lot on this day, because at the company's site in Hamburg, all parts of the business are carried out, from customer advisory to production and logistics. In welcoming the girls, Mona, who is now studying for a dual degree in industrial engineering, recalls her own mint:pink visit in 2014. She then tells them about the company and gives them a tour of the factory premises: through the production halls with their huge vats and equipment, along ceiling-high shelves of raw materials and into the laboratories. The fact that there are so many different departments and job profiles involved in the development of a coating surprises and fascinates all the participants. Mona concludes, "No two working days are the same at Mankiewicz. What's more, true teamwork is called for. We often accompany the products all the way from the customer's original idea to final delivery. That makes it all extremely exciting."

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