On this post I’m going to talk about going to Litostroj, one of my favorite visits so far!
This first thing that stood out to me about this company was the size and importance of their product. Litostroj produces turbines for hydropower plants. They are suppliers for projects all over the world, even huge engineering feats like the Three Gorges Dam in China.
The next striking quality about Litostroj was the large scale and accuracy of their products. All of the parts for the turbine are made by their highly skilled employees on machines larger than I have ever seen before. The lathes were capable of machining parts multiple meters wide, and even with such a large part their dimensions had tolerances of roughly one thousandth of a millimeter. I was very impressed! I fully expected to walk into a factory full of robots but I did not find a single completely automated machine that I found.
The best part of Litostroj in my opinion was their friendliness and how much they value people. This is a fairly large business but we were still given a tour from the CEO and two high up engineers. And this was not a quick in-and-out visit just for the photo opportunity. The CEO was very interested in teaching us about their products. They showed us much of their manufacturing facilities and explained in-depth the manufacturing processes and how they designed the turbines to have maximum efficiency. This was not a tour you would likely get in the US. They were very willing to answer questions as well. I had a great conversation with one of the engineers that helped me better understand the design and manufacturing processes they used and gave me a better sense about where a mechanical engineering degree could take me. One cool thing about Litostroj was how much they value education. After being hired they train employees for up to five years, sending them all over the world to learn. Also, they have all of their engineers work in the manufacturing facility for a year when they start because they feel it is important to learn the processes in order to design parts to be functional and manufacturable.
As a mechanical engineering student, this visit gave me great perspective on the type of career I could have in the future. It also helped broaden my view of engineering careers. It is so easy to focus on the United States, but there are fantastic companies and career opportunities for engineers all over the world.
We are now on the coast of the Adriatic Sea, and heading to Venice tomorrow! I am super excited for the opportunities I’ll have to explore Venice and Piran this weekend!