Engineers of tomorrow

On April 2, 2019, the first of four sessions of the Hector Kinderakademie started at Walter Maschinenbau GmbH in Tübingen. Over several meetings, the children should learn everything about the construction of a tool grinding machine: from the idea, through the actual construction of the machine with its various drive types to the application of the finished machine at our customer. Accordingly, the group went through various departments of the company, such as construction, pre-assembly, test and application department.

The children and their parents were welcomed by Harri Rein, CTO Walter Maschinenbau GmbH:

« We are excited about the opportunity to encourage gifted children from the region and at the same time to inspire a new generation for mechanical engineering. The children get to know the individual steps it takes to build a machine.  »
Harri Rein, CTO Walter Maschinenbau GmbH

Afterwards the group started in the construction department. There they experienced what it takes to develop a machine on the computer. To get the students used to the 3D mouse, teams of two were organised. The first task was a small competition in which a virtual aircraft landing gear had to be assembled as quickly as possible. Finally, the children were allowed to virtually add individual components to a machine in the CAD design program.

Before the young machine builders faced their next challenges, the group was equipped with the appropriate work clothes: safety glasses, cut-resistant gloves and safety shoes in miniature. The next stops were the pre-assembly, the test and application departments. The children learned why precision in mechanical engineering is so important. They were very impressed about their independent construction of a mini electric motor and the invisible power of induction that occurs when current flows through a coil.

In the last session, the group dealt with our grinding software HELITRONIC TOOL STUDIO and the construction of a cutting tool. They created a tool in the software and ground it afterwards on the machine. As a gift, there was a ready-made profile tool for each child each with their own laser engraved name.

Overall, WALTER was very satisfied with the first course:

« The aim of our meetings was to provide a first child-friendly insight into the manufacturing process of the machines. It was a particular challenge for our employees to explain the complex processes and functionalities as simply as possible. We have received a lot of feedback and already have some new ideas for the next course. »
Harri Rein, CTO Walter Maschinenbau GmbH

Since the school year 2012/13 the Hector Kinderakademie Tübingen offers each school year about 50 courses for gifted and highly talented children. Pupils are thus offered the opportunity to deepen their knowledge during elementary school and to explore their own interests. They should be stimulated to independence, discover learning and strengthen  their social skills. The courses are free so that all children, regardless of their social background, have the opportunity to be encouraged according to their talents. The Academy is supported by the Hector Foundation II and the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Culture within the framework of gifted education. Courses usually take place outside class on afternoons or Saturdays. The students can choose from a wide range of subjects from the fields of mathematics, computer science, natural sciences and technology.

Some companies in Tübingen, such as Walter Maschinenbau GmbH, support the Hector Kinderakademie as a cooperation partner. They offer individual courses for the children in their own rooms. By practical on-site learning and concrete applications under the guidance of experts, the children can expand, deepen and consolidate their existing knowledge.

The next course will be held at WALTER in autumn.

Further information about the Hector Kinderakademie can be found here: