Training at MAPAL

Lukas Bodi reports on his apprenticeship to become an industrial mechanic.

When a compressed air hose starts whistling or an oil skimmer jams in the plant, he's usually already on his way. As an apprentice industrial mechanic at MAPAL ITS in Eppingen, Lukas Bodi has his hands full.

"My main responsibilities include maintaining and repairing machinery and equipment, as well as machining", is how Lukas describes his varied field of work. After school, he trained as a chef and spent a gap year doing voluntary work before opting to train as an industrial mechanic in 2018. During an internship, he simply realised that he really enjoyed the job and that it offered him good prospects. He then applied for an apprenticeship at MAPAL ITS in Eppingen. This site produces actuating and ISO custom tools in one of the world's largest and most modern manufacturing facilities for these kinds of products. Lukas works exclusively in the in-house production training centre and is now more firmly convinced than ever that he made the right choice. "At first, I wasn't sure whether a career in metalworking would suit me, but I was in for a nice surprise. I think this area of work is super interesting, and I was really blown away by how complex all this is – and how you are able to learn something new every single day", he enthuses.

"At first, I wasn't sure whether a career in metalworking would suit me, but I was in for a nice surprise. I think this area of work is super interesting, and I was really blown away by how complex all this is – and how you are able to learn something new every single day"

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Variety meets routine

Every day comes with its own surprises. Some days, a machinery requires maintenance or a pneumatic system needs set up. On others, Lukas might mill parts for assembly at short notice or turn workpieces on the CNC machine. It's this complexity which makes the job so fascinating for him. For him, a typical project is maintaining a lathe, for example, if it's making a squeaking sound or generally won't rotate. He usually needs to replace the belt, check the oil level, spindle and tool holder and remove as well as replace the coolant. The older conventional machinery particularly requires a great deal of maintenance. "You have to lubricate it every day, top up the coolant every week or two and occasionally change the filters. However, if you look after them properly, they're very robust and long-lasting", says Lukas.

The real challenge for him is putting a machine he's dismantled back together without forgetting a single cable or screw. Eventually, every part has to be back in the exact same position in order for the machine to operate with precision. Accordingly, he meticulously documents every step of the process by taking photos and making notes to track progress. Although this takes some time and concentration, this discipline is usually worth it in the long run and saves him the odd extra task here and there.​​​

Like a small family

Among the four apprentices at MAPAL ITS in Eppingen, Lukas is currently the only industrial mechanic. His colleagues have opted for cutting machine operation. However, that doesn't tarnish their team spirit: "We're like a small family – we all get along brilliantly and we communicate really well". Essentially, working with metals is the foundation of both jobs, and in his opinion, the difference between them is negligible anyway. "The boys spend more time on the CNC machine. I'm more flexible and work in maintenance as well as on machines", he explains.
Lukas also enjoys an exemplary working environment when collaborating with other colleagues. "Everyone helps each other if you've got a question or you don't know what to do. It's great". He feels like he can try lots of things out and has free rein to pursue different approaches. His foreman is open to ideas and suggestions. You're free to try out different approaches, particularly for less urgent tasks, although Lukas personally prefers to draw his strength from routine.

The right skills in your toolkit

The industrial mechanic apprenticeship is hard work and isn't for everybody. "You shouldn't be afraid of technical mathematics; you should enjoy working neatly and precisely and you shouldn't be scared to get your hands dirty. For instance, you often end up wallowing in old oil and grease if you're dismantling a gear". That's Lukas' advice for those who haven't decided yet. If you're happy with all of this, then varied work, a relaxed working environment and a good apprenticeship wage are waiting for you. These are only three of many reasons why he recommends training at MAPAL ITS in Eppingen.

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You will soon start your professional life - and with it a new phase in your life.
​​​​​​​Discover exciting opportunities with us.


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