On 19 October, the excursion to BASF Schwarzheide took place, which was very popular with the students. As in previous years, BASF was a great host and had prepared a very interesting and varied programme for us.
With over 4,400 employees on site, the Schwarzheide site is BASF's third largest production site in Europe. A wide range of chemicals and intermediates are produced there. Examples include finishing chemicals such as furniture coatings, engineering plastics, coatings and fungicides.
The plant is therefore of great interest from a process engineering perspective. This is why the "ITUN" institute at TU Bergakademie Freiberg decided to pay a visit to the large corporation on site with an excursion.
The excursion organised by ITUN to the BASF site in Schwarzheide took place on Wednesday, 18.10.2023. In rainy weather, we set off punctually at 7.45 a.m. from the bus stop near the Audimax.
Despite the rather old bus, which was unfortunately no longer completely watertight with a mileage of 800,000 kilometres, the journey to the plant went without any major incidents apart from a few complaints about wet conditions. We arrived (almost) on time at the BASF factory entrance at 9.16 am.
We were met there by our guide, who, as a BASF employee, was to accompany us around the plant throughout the day. After our arrival, our group was split into two and at 9.30 am we were entrusted to two participants of the trainee programme.
First, Lisa Lange, a TUBAF process engineering graduate and participant in BASF's trainee programme, gave us a basic introduction to the company, the Schwarzheide site and its products. We were then introduced to BASF's trainee programme. Finally, Mrs Lange's personal career and the prospects the site can offer the next generation of engineers at TUBAF were discussed. The second speaker was also a participant in the trainee programme, who gave us an example of his area of responsibility at the site. He is working on optimising the energy efficiency of the Schwarzheide plant, a topic that is becoming increasingly relevant in view of the high energy consumption of the chemical industry and rising energy prices. Finally, the prospective engineers at TUBAF were introduced to the application process and BASF's mentoring programme.
Now we were accompanied by our guide to the canteen for lunch. The cost of the meal was covered by BASF. This and the fact that we were visiting BASF on "Burger Day" put everyone in an even better mood. The refreshment in the company canteen was followed by a short tour of the plant by bus. We were briefly told about various production facilities at the site as we drove past.
The group was then split into two again: The first group took a closer look at a plant that produces polyester. The second part of the excursion visited a plant where chemicals are produced that are used in the furniture industry to coat furniture. At around 2.45 p.m., all of the excursion group finally returned to the bus and the excursion came to an end. Finally, the group took a short diversions to visit the company's own solar park. This covers around 10% of the site's electricity requirements. Our guide then said goodbye to us and we set off on our journey home at around 3 pm. The return journey went without incident and we arrived safely back in Freiberg at around 4.20 pm.
In general, it was clear that the group was most interested in the plant visit. It was very informative to see the theoretical material put into practice at a chemical plant.
Many thanks to Lukas for the report for the website! Thank you!