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From Aalen through South Africa to StuttgartAlumnus Markus Heiler writes about his Bachelor work at the Central University of Technology in Bloemfontein.

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I had an awesome time in South Africa – Markus Heiler, who studied Business Engineering at Aalen University and then finished his bachelor’s thesis at the CUT.

Mo, 19. June 2017

“The last few months were pretty exciting,” laughed Markus Heiler. Last August, the 26-year-old Business Engineer was awarded the 2016 expertise prize from Robert Bosch Automotive Steering GmbH. Three days later, he was sitting in an airplane to Bloemfontein to finish his Bachelor degree. In barely five months, he finished his bachelor’s thesis at the Central University of Technology in Bloemfontein and gained more insights in additive manufacturing. Along with his new insights, Marcus also brought a lot of South Africa back with him. His experiences are already helping him at his new job.

He has worked as a corporate buyer at Bosch in Stuttgart since the middle of February. Now, Marcus Heiler reports of his experience in the Rainbow Nation and at the Central University of Technology.

The alumnus Markus Heiler did his Bachelors thesis at the Central University of Technology in Bloemfontein. He writes about his experiences:

“Temperature departing Frankfurt/Mannheim: 30° Celsius

Temperature upon arrival at Bloemfontein: 9° Celsius

When I arrived, I needed a little time to adjust to the temperature, and especially to the cultural and culinary customs. Everyone who has been to South Africa knows what I’m talking about. Aside from that, a quick internet search is usually sufficient for questions like why so many people of one nation can’t seem to agree on anything, or why a street light gets called a robot. There’s no comparison between the pride people take in their own culture and languages, 11 of which are official, and the eternal scuffle between Baden and the beautiful Württemberg.

If you can get used to these and other quirks, though, you have opened yourself up to an almost unending El Dorado for those who like to travel, adventure or learn about history. Aside from doing my bachelor’s thesis, in just over 5 months, I managed to explore a large percentage of the country. There is no shortage of places to travel.

“Improving the world layer-by-layer”

The Center for Rapid Prototyping and Manufacturing (CRPM) at the Central University of Technology in Bloemfontein (CUT) is one of the institutes funded by the National Research Foundation to research additive manufacturing techniques. Aside from research grants, the research team also gets commercial support from businesses that need additively manufactured parts, e.g. medical equipment and airplane manufacturers. My project there, which supposedly demanded the skills of a Business Engineer, ended up requiring a diverse set of skills. The process had to do with how well one could replicate the performance quality of a selective laser sintering device. It was important to the leader of the Center, Gerrie Booysen, that the process was tailored to the needs of the CRPM. Aside from important work with the manufacturing research, I also worked with familiar and new concepts in quality management and data analysis. The final report gave a theoretical background of the process, as well as future prospects and recommendations for the CRPM.

I’m very thankful for the intense and successful work I got to do with my colleagues at the CRPM and CUT. These experiences working in manufacturing and production will serve me well in my future employment. I’d especially like to thank Nichola Adams and Refilwe Moleyane, the foreign exchange advisors at Aalen University and CUT. Without their support before and during my stay, the preparations and living wouldn’t have gone as smoothly as it did. I’d also like to thank Prof. Dr. Ulrich Holzbaur, who, through his engagement with our partner university, got me to go to Bloemfontein, and hopefully will get more students to go in the future.

I can only recommend that every student at Aalen University seriously consider the many offers to go to a partner institution and decide to take a semester in another country.

Temperature departing Bloemfontein: 34° Celsius

Temperature upon arrival at Frankfurt/M: 1° Celsius”