Margit Aigner is one of the wheel loader operators at Metran in Kematen. Together with her colleagues and their heavily horse powered colossi, they ensure that the recycling and recycled materials reach the right spot at the right time within the boundaries of Metran site. For this relay interview, in which one of the employees of the Müller-Guttenbrunn Group is presented, Margit has briefly parked her huge wheel loader.
Hello Mrs. Aigner, your workplace is a heavy weight wheel loader, which you have just turned off. Are there many men who envy you a job?
AIGNER: Yes, indeed quite a few. Many cannot or do not want to believe that I am doing something like this – and many simply find it cool. Fortunately, there are more and more women who are operating heavy equipment like these.
How did you get such a cool workplace?
AIGNER: I used to be working as a sorter at a conveyor belt with another recycling company. At that time – we are talking some 20 years ago – I have always looked at the wheel loader drivers from above and I must say, that I was fascinated by these devices. During the breaks I was allowed to try and go around a bit with these machines and somehow I was officially entrusted with a small loading machine. And after that the devices have simply become bigger and bigger.
That means you have been driving these machines for 20 years now. How long have you been at Metran?
AIGNER: I’ve been with Metran for about 10 years. I started here at the sorting station. Fortunately however, there was a shortage of loader operators. Since I mentioned that I had already experience driving such loaders in the past, after a few weeks I was given the chance to take the position of wheel loader operator…….. and it stayed that way, fortunately.
Could you please describe your workplace?
AIGNER: It is an articulated steering loader with a weight of almost 20 tons and nearly 200 HP of power. With the shovel I can transport up to five cubic meters of material at one time.
What is your typical working day in your 200 hp office?
AIGNER: Before I can sit down on my seat, there is a shift handover. With the shift handover, we get the shift plan, so that we know which material is processed on which machines. There is always a clear plan of what exactly is planned for the day. This way I know what I have to do, which material is loaded onto which machine and whether the finished material has to be loaded onto trucks, railway wagons or shipping Containers.
How long does a shift take?
AIGNER: We operate in two shifts. The morning shift starts at 5am and runs to 1pm. The afternoon shift begins at 13:00 and ends at 11 pm. There are always three wheel loader operators per shift and an additional fourth wheel loader during day-time.
Are there any particular challenges in your work?
AIGNER: Not really, no. If you are operating such a heavy wheel loader, you simply have to pay attention to the situation on the site, for example, when sloppy holes form. In the winter we clear the snow with our wheel loaders. You simply have to know where there are any manholes and take care, whilst clearing the snow, not to damage them. But the most important issue is to have your vehicle under control so that you can quickly and properly feed one separation system after the other with the correct material and then return the separated material to the appropriate storage box.
Are you as wheel loader operator also thinking about the fact that you are making an important contribution to keeping raw materials in circulation and to the environment at large?
AIGNER: Yes, of course! It is great to know that everything is recycled instead of being disposed of or land filled. Fortunately, I have been entrusted with a huge a wheel loader here and this since ten years. I could not imagine anything else today.
What do you do to compensate for the long sitting in the wheel loader all day?
AIGNER: In my spare time I love to do sport and I enjoy nature. I like cycling or walking. And in the winter I enjoy alpine and cross-country skiing.
Thanks a lot Mrs. Aigner for the short pit stop and this pleasant conversation. We wish you all the best with your interesting job.