Outstanding university graduate researches for STEULER-KCH


For his thesis, Viktor Schönhof investigated the interactions between refractory materials and molten metals. He has now been recognised with the sponsorship award from the VDI (Association of German Engineers).

A collaboration that benefits both parties - that certainly describes our employee Viktor Schönhof's thesis.

For six months, Schönhof worked intensively on a question that had long been of interest to STEULER-KCH. The young engineer from Neuwied single-handedly constructed an apparatus to carry out the necessary investigations. His vocational training as a precision tool machinist, which he completed before his engineering studies, came in very useful here. He conducted numerous tests, evaluated the findings, postulated hypotheses and rejected them again. The end result is a thesis with direct practical application for STEULER-KCH. The insights from his final year project enable the production of higher purity materials with reduced wear characteristics and thus the near optimal utilisation of refractory materials in industry. Much of his research has already been incorporated into the renowned company's product development process and is meanwhile finding use in various industry-specific solutions.

Werner Schönwelski, who together with Jens Sperber acted as thesis supervisor, has no doubt: "We need first-rate specialists who commit themselves to our company at a young age. This is the only way for us to secure a knowledge base in the field of refractory materials and confirm our standing as an authority in the industry." This works in a remarkable way at the Steuler-Group through the dedicated involvement of our specialists. Werner Schönwelski is always on the lookout for qualified new staff members. He keeps a store of practical topics suitable for theses ready and actively supports young professionals in preparing their research projects.

It's worth the effort: Excerpts from Mr Schönhof's work are due to be published in the autumn in the trade journal Refractories Worldforum (special issue for the ALUMINIUM trade exhibition), underscoring once again STEULER-KCH's expertise. And lest we forget, with Schönhof STEULER-KCH has managed to recruit a young specialist to the Process Engineering Department, whose work is sure to be of long-term benefit to the company.

The VDI has now also recognised the great practical value his thesis has for industry and honoured Viktor Schönhof with the 2014 VDI Sponsorship Award. When giving the reasons for the nomination, Prof. Krause stated: "Together with STEULER-KCH, Mr Schönhof has composed a truly brilliant piece of work on 'Interactions between various refractory materials and non-ferrous molten metals (Al, Cu, Pb)'. I would like to note that the paper not only hints at the tremendous amount of work he undertook during the six month period; what especially stands out is his prudent, scientific analysis of the results obtained."

Congratulations to Viktor Schönhof (centre). Werner Schönwelski and Jens Sperber together with Ulf Frohneberg and Ulrich Körner (from left) are delighted about the achievement and wish him all the best for his career at STEULER-KCH.