The Microwave Factory is a “speciality” of the HENSOLDT site in Ulm. There the production of radio-frequency electronic components under cleanroom conditions takes place. Mostly HENSOLDT manufactures its transmitter and receiver modules for radar systems there.
About 100 colleagues work at the Microwavae Factory under clean room conditions already with the second generation of T/R modules, which are based on the material gallium nitride (GaN).
The assembly, one of the most important production processes for high-frequency components, is exclusively in female hands. Martina Einenkel, Sarah Garbe, Diana Rudi and Nevra Sert ensure that the machine production of radar transmitter and receiver modules runs smoothly in the so-called "automated line". And in the manual production Alicia Zeiler and Lisa Wagner demonstrate a trained eye and highly professional fine motor skills.
All six of them are "home-grown", which means they completed their training as micro technologists with us or are still doing so, then moved to the Microwave Factory and quickly showed an above-average performance there.
"A central component of the work at the Microwave Factory is to process complex, small-scale structures with great precision. In the past, women have shown an above-average concentration span here, which they can keep up over a longer period of time - this is a clear advantage here," says Manfred Mundbrod-Vangerow, Head of Electronics and Microwave Production.
Fabian Kast, Head of Microwave Components, adds: "Over the past two years we have clearly seen the positive effects that diverse teams have on the results of our work, and we want to make even greater use of this potential in the future. And the best thing is: This special skill, which we urgently need in our business, is fun for our micro technologists!
Our six colleagues all have one thing in common: besides an interest in technology, they are enthusiastic about creating something, such as assembling empty substrates with processors, resistors and hair-thin connections into a functioning high-frequency module. In doing so, they do not feel – and do not want to feel – that they are being treated like something special.
“We always work in mixed teams in the workflow from the substrate (LTCC) to the finished subsystem. We want to achieve something together, with us the team and performance are clearly in the foreground – gender does not play a role here," says Martina Einenkel. Everyone agrees with this and contributes to the fact that they feel completely comfortable at their supposedly male-dominated workplace and also actively participate in shaping it – many of the female colleagues' suggestions for improvement have already found their way into the production facilities.
We want to achieve something together, with us the team and performance are clearly in the foreground – gender does not play a role here.
From PCB production to component integration
They benefit from a characteristic of our electronics and microwave production that is unparalleled in comparable companies: it encompasses the entire process chain from PCB production and component assembly to the integration of components, both in the manual production of limited quantities with special requirements and in the automated manufacture of standardised products.
In addition, working in close proximity and in close coordination with the development department helps to accelerate processes and increase the quality of the products. This not only increases the vertical range of manufacture, but also makes it easier to keep to time and budget. At the same time, this production capacity from a single source also places special demands on the employees.
Development opportunities for all
For committed HENSOLDTIANS such as our six micro technologists, this means: “The tasks with which we become acquainted are incredibly diverse and varied,” emphasized Sarah Garbe. In addition, the women working in this comprehensive production chain see development opportunities for themselves at many points.
One of the micro technologists, for example, has completed further training as a technician, another is just starting out on this path and another is striving for a master craftsman's certificate.
HENSOLDT’s social benefits such as the “Care for Life” programme as well as the possibility of flexible working hours support them in their endeavours. “We have the same development opportunities as men,” says Alicia Zeiler. ”Anyone who has ideas and wants to get involved is also supported by the company”.