"Our brakes are basically not off-the-shelf products."
No brake is like the other. Fabian Liekam, head of designing at KTR Brake Systems, explained to us why this is the case and what challenges are waiting with projects concerning brakes.
KTR Systems: "Fabian, you are working here at KTR in the field of brakes. Please tell us, how did it come about?"
Fabian Liekam: "My start at KTR was the apprenticeship as a "technical draftsman" in August 2005. After finishing my apprenticeship, I was initially working in the field of calculation/standardization. In parallel with my work at KTR, I immediately started my training as "Staatl. Gepr. Techniker" (certified technician) in summer 2008, which I successfully completed in summer 2012. During this time I changed from the calculation/standardization department to the product area KTR-STOP (hydraulic brake systems) and was working there as a design engineer.
In July 2013 I took over the product area as product manager. Since March of this year I am responsible for the entire designing department of KTR Brake Systems GmbH as head of designing".
KTR Systems: "A great development! A big focus for you is the project business. When do we actually refer to a "project"? And what distinguishes the project business in the field of brakes from other areas of KTR?".
Fabian Liekam: "In short, a project for me is a labour- and time-intensive customer order. Our brakes are basically not products that are sold off the shelf. We are not talking about catalogue parts, as is the case in many other areas. Every brake system is explicitly designed for this application based on customer specifications. The simplest variant is to turn standard components into a (customized) brake. Projects for me, however, are the orders where new designs, calculations, tests, etc. have to be created or carried out. Such projects can easily last several years and usually (almost) all divisions of a company are involved.
KTR Systems: "What special challenges are there in such projects?"
Fabian Liekam: "The challenge is to implement the demands and wishes of the customer in the best possible way, without losing sight of the interests and goals of the own company. Beyond that, one must also consider the procurement/supplier side at any time. There is no point in rigidly implementing the customer's requirements and causing problems for your own production and your suppliers. The biggest challenges arise where you act as a system supplier, because in these projects usually several connected systems have to be considered and adapted. Every project has to overcome impediments and obstacles. But that is one of the things that makes a project so appealing".
KTR Systems: "Finally a personal question: Which "projects" are particularly important to you in your life outside of KTR?
Fabian Liekam: "Right at the top of the project list apart from KTR is of course the family.”
KTR Systems: “Thank you, Fabian, for the very interesting conversation!”