In May 2019, Luca Basso and I participated in the national competition of “Schweizer Jugend Forscht” with our maturity work “Sintesi di una resina autorigenerante”. We received the mention “excellent” and the SimplyScience special prize.
This special prize includes a one-week internship in one of the 250 partner companies of the SimplyScience foundation. Considering that in the maturity work I was confronted with polymers, I was really excited and pleased to accept the internship offered by EMS-CHEMIE.
In order to know a little more about the company where I would spend the week, I visited the 75 years anniversary exhibition on the first day and had an overview of the history of EMS-CHEMIE, which has been able to adapt itself and to elaborate different products. From the foundation in 1936, the enterprise changed its main products four times, from ethyl alcohol to fertilizer to fibers to high performance polymers today. It has been under the leadership of three important figures: Werner Oswald (the founder), Christoph Blocher and Magdalena Martullo-Blocher. These changes led to the modern situation of 1000 workers in an impressive company in Domat/Ems and many other enterprises around the world.
During the first two days of my week at the EMS-CHEMIE, I had the opportunity to visit the testing facilities for every product, where not only the quality of the products is controlled, but also experimental data are gathered for new prototypes.
Some of the tests that the products undergo regularly were already known to me thanks to the project I worked on with Luca Basso for the SJF competition (for example the traction test or the pendulum test), but I was really amazed to see how many different tests are done on samples under varying conditions: mechanical, physical and chemical experiments are carried out on samples for one week, one month or years; for example under harsh climate conditions, under water or at a certain temperature.
On Wednesday I visited the application technology department, and I discovered an important service provided by EMS-CHEMIE: they don’t only produce the polymer granulate, but also support and help the customers who ordered the product. In fact, they help to concretize the requests of customers and provide them data and procedures, acquired by tests characterizing the material, in order to have the maximum result and begin immediately with the production. This is something I would never have imagined and which surprised me a lot.
Systems and equipment building and maintenance
I spent the last two days of my internship in two different departments that deal with the maintenance, replacement and construction of systems and machines as well as the construction of instruments and components for the company.
During this time I had the chance to know a little more about the production of the granulate and to see the entire system of production from the beginning to the final product step by step, machine by machine, that I could then see assembled with the different pipes.
In the end I would like to thank Mr. Lazzarotto, Mr. Willers, Mr. Wick, Mr. Engi, Mr. Albin, Mr. Tisot and all the employees of EMS-CHEMIE who looked after me during this incredible week in Domat/Ems, both for their availability and the passion they showed. It has been a full week, and it has been very enriching and interesting for me to see how such a large company is organised and how research turns into application. I would also like to thank SimplyScience and the EMS-CHEMIE for this great opportunity, which I am sure I will remember.