Automation Specialist Christian Miguel-Langstrof explains the one-two punch required to work in pharma automation in Bad Homburg, Germany.
How did you start working at NNE?
I worked for system integrators in automation software before applying for NNE. I had never had a project within the pharma industry before. Instead, I worked for machine suppliers and different industries like metal, automotive and bottling. I did the programming and coding for SCADA, HMI and PLC systems. I needed a change. I worked in Barcelona for a software distributer as an application consultant. Due to the economic situation in Spain, my wife and I returned to Germany and the job search began for anything outside of programming. And then I found NNE.
What sort of skills do you need to be a pharma automation engineer?
Right away I learned that in the Automation Department here in Germany, you must have two basic skills to succeed:
1.) You need an excellent set of soft skills. You need the awareness to acknowledge that we are a company that intends to help customers despite possible differing views. You need to respect the customer’s decision even if it opposes your own. Excellent German speaking skills are a must.
2.) You must have solid technical knowledge within automation. Generally, we expect 5-10 years of experience within automation, be it PLC, HMI, SCADA, DCS, etc. You will apply this knowledge daily. Take me for example; I am a programmer who no longer programs – now I also provide a service.
What do you like most your job as an automation engineer?
What I like about being here is the diversity of the work. I plan, create concepts, work with the customers, organise time schedules, offer technical input and more. I love the skills you must utilise to get a common understanding between the customers and the suppliers. Everyone must communicate in the right way together. I really like this and I think it differentiates NNE from its competitors. We have a huge knowledge base, with which we can provide various solutions that set us apart from the competition.
In fact, I call myself a “knowledge claimer” because the customer expects me to provide solutions regardless of whether they come from me or input from my colleagues. If the subject is not in my basic set of knowledge, I can reach out to my qualified colleagues and our large knowledge base to provide the best solution the customer needs.
Automation in the pharma world
Within the Automation field we have an interface between all other departments like Process, Electro, HVAC etc. This is because we provide solutions and services to plan entire sites. I enjoy the sense that I not only provide software solutions but help create a facility that produces a product. I had never performed this before NNE. I concentrated on one subject – the software. Now I have to be aware that there are more departments and not just the software solution I provide because we are building whole pharmaceutical sites.