Anyone who has ever witnessed a well-staged chemical reaction likely does not shy away from comparing it with magic. Some would call Ümit Özkütükcü therefore a magician. Here is at least one illusionist that knows the impact of carefully placed effects. He politely smiles and begs off such comparisons. Ümit Özkütükcü, who his colleagues jokingly call “Mr. Ö”, is just someone who likes to show what is possible.
And someone who can certainly play Tetris well. The head of the Application Labs does not currently have much space to accommodate the machines and test equipment for his technical center. The use of every corner is well thought through. “We manage to do a lot in the smallest space and still keep safety first,” says Ümit Özkütükcü. The lack of space has scattered his department a bit. The laboratory, twin-screw extruder, rubber compounding, drawing and injection molding machine are located on several floors in Buildings 12, 13 and 14. A small mixing and grinding line is available in Building 19. Ümit Özkütükcü was allowed to place ten of his twelve hardening furnaces in a container on the site.
“We are the connecting link between Development and the customer.The majority of our newly developed products are tried out internally on a small scale.”
This “being a little bit present everywhere” also has its advantages. Creating and using synergies with other departments is essential for Ümit Özkütükcü. “We mix in everywhere,” he winks. His own team, which has grown considerably in recent years, is also bursting with inter-disciplinary talent. In the field of Application Technology, Chemical Engineers and Laboratory Assistants work with Technicians and Chemical Technicians from Production. They continuously share their expertise and know-how. It is a give and take and a multi-faceted wealth of expertise from which everyone benefits, especially the customer. At the end, the Application Labs are there for our customer most of all. “We are the link between development efforts and the customer. Most of our new developments are tried out on a small scale. The tests are carried out in a targeted manner, depending on the requirements of our customers.” During customer training, including compounders, Ümit Özkütükcü introduces what could be specified in the tests. “The customer is glad to receive not only a white powder from us, but also the know-how: What can it do and how do I use it?”
Ümit Özkütükcü grounds development in solid facts. “Is it even possible?” The chemical engineer quite often asks this question when he investigates the potential of ideas or researches new raw materials for products at the development stage. Application technology is also a lot of trial and error. That is a luxury which Ümit Özkütükcü believes is necessary in this field. The fact that a mid-sized business like Brüggemann is using application technology is far from self-evident – especially since Ümit Özkütükcü and his team cover development, analysis and test processes of both chemical divisions at Brüggemann. Ümit Özkütükcü has many places of action.
For example at the twin-screw extruder, where one compounds on a small scale. A few floors away, the injection molding machine awaits. Here, countless individual granular particles become a visual and tactile whole. Advanced cake decorating and cookie baking. The results are high-performance rods, sight plates or cylinders made of plastic. Molds which now have to prove in wide-ranging tests, for example in the drawing machine or in the oven, whether they have the properties that the plastic additive promises.
The main focus of the Application Labs is not always only on applicability or the marketability. Sometimes, when there is a small gap in a challenging workday, Ümit Özkütükcü takes the time to “spit ball” a bit, as he puts it, in a small group. At such moments, he even speculates rather fatalistically: “Why not? This can certainly work!” This chemical engineer may not be a magician, but he is certainly a researcher.
74076 Heilbronn, Germany