Chemistry up close – Girl’s Day 2022 at Häffner

Last week, we had the pleasure of inviting girls to our site in Marbach am Neckar for the first time. Thirteen girls between the ages of eleven and fourteen were given an insight into the world of chemistry and our everyday working life at Häffner.

To welcome them, they were first given typical Swabian butter pretzels to fortify themselves and a short company presentation of Häffner GmbH & Co. KG by Laurien Renke, training officer and team leader of the office service. At her side, our chemical lab technician trainee Marie Höhnle presented her career field and answered the girls’ questions about her training and her everyday work at Häffner. In addition to a wealth of information from the world of chemistry and impressions of the company’s premises in Marbach am Neckar, there was of course no shortage of chemical practice. The girls were allowed to use measuring instruments and trowels to make their own hand cream.

Exciting live experiments

But before that, the participants were equipped with protective gowns and goggles to protect their eyes and clothing from splashes. After heating, mixing and filling, they only had to wait for the creamy mass to harden. The in-house creation, made from various organic oils and shea butter, was of course allowed to be taken home, as were pens, pads, a protective vest and a lanyard – in Häffner green, of course!

Quickly changed and the high-visibility vest thrown on, they went out into the fresh air for a live experiment. The spectacular experiment with the funny name “elephant toothpaste” amazed the participants. For safety reasons, trainee Marie carried out the experiment at a safe distance from the group of girls. The course of the experiment clearly showed that this was chosen with care.

With an exuberant reaction of various and well-known additions such as dishwashing detergent, the experiment amazed all bystanders. Potassium iodide reacts with hydrogen peroxide to form oxygen. This causes the added washing-up liquid to foam. Smoke and odors are part and parcel of many chemical processes and are commonplace in laboratories. If chemistry can be made tangible, it is naturally more exciting than formulas on a piece of paper. But this is also part of the training as a chemical laboratory technician.

Logistics with a difference

Another highlight from another specialist area, warehouse logistics, awaited the girls on Girl’s Day in our fully automated high-bay warehouse. In addition to the complex functioning of the warehouse, the tour impressed them with the sheer facts: Measured at a total height of approximately 25 meters, around 6000 pallets of goods can be stored. Our employees in the Marbach warehouse have all completed height rescue training – why? The oxygen content is only 13.2%, which corresponds to about 3,500 meters in altitude, which means that air becomes relatively scarce if you are in the high-bay area for too long. Logistics master and deputy warehouse manager Kay Haferkorn proved this with a completely normal lighter. In front of the warehouse door it lights up without a problem, but as soon as you enter the warehouse, you try in vain to create a flame because it has too little oxygen to burn. So in the very rare case of fainting, for example during repair and maintenance work, colleagues must be able to come to the rescue even at 25 meters. To do this, they undergo regular high-altitude rescue training. If the oxygen level falls below 13%, access is only permitted with an external oxygen supply. So the warehouse impresses not only with its technology, but also with the way it works.

After these exciting demonstrations, the girls literally deserved a breather. Girl’s Day 2022 came to an end with a lively question and answer session about careers in the chemical industry and a fun game. The girls also got along very well with each other and Laurien Renke was also satisfied with the first Girl’s Day at Häffner: “We are very satisfied for the first time. The girls were all very interested, friendly and above all curious.” The training officer has also taken something away for next year: “On the next Girl’s Day, we’re looking forward to surprising experiments again, even more insights into our everyday working life and even more interactivity!”