Maciej, Automation Engineer, about his experience at Contec

From mechatronics laboratories to the automation of large industrial processes. Directly from the Łódź University of Technology, Maciej Komorowski set off on a fascinating journey through Europe to explore the world of automation. He uses his knowledge and experience while working as an automation engineer in a company with a global reach - Contec Poland. Contec improves and automates processes and industrial machines around the world. How did you establish cooperation with a company with such a wide range? 
During my master's studies, I submitted my application to Contec, which was looking for employees at that moment. The path to employment was not easy - I had to go through several stages of recruitment, the last of which took place at the HQ in Belgium (Antwerp) itself. The more satisfaction I felt with my decision to accept the offer to start as a junior automation engineer. After an introductory training, step by step I started assisting with projects, and a few months later I got the question if I was interested to go on a year and a half delegation to France. It was an amazing experience! I worked there directly with the client in the area of packaging lines, which gave me new, specialized skills. After returning to Poland, I started working directly on packaging projects, gaining more and more independence.
 You are an automation engineer, but you have not studied automation. You graduated from mechatronics at the first degree of studies and electrical engineering at the graduate level. Do you use knowledge from these fields in your work? 
Definitely yes, studies in mechatronics turned out to be particularly useful. The program of this field of study covers various issues that are used in the implementation of industrial automation solutions - such as sensors and actuators, computer networks, control theory, electrical machines. It is a great basis for working in a company that wants to become market leader in system integration. Anyway, Contec introduces solutions that enable not only the control and automation of entire production lines, but also industrial processes. Therefore, my work requires extensive skills, including working with technologies that will haven’t entered the market yet. Studies in mechatronics perfectly prepared me to take up this kind of challenge.
 Engineering studies brought you useful knowledge, while during your master's studies you went to Denmark for a three-month internship. What kind of work did you do abroad? 
It is true, all thanks to the IAESTE student organization, which enables trips to companies abroad. I started an internship in AN Group, which deals with the integration of industrial automation systems. During the internship, I prepared the control of the test system to screen out large particles of material from which the final product was made. I developed the program together with another local apprentice and then an engineer from the company helped launch our work. The skills acquired at that time pay off in my current job, and I maintain contacts with apprentices from other countries of the world to this day.
 You started working at Contec Poland while you were still studying. How did you reconcile work with your studies? 
The internship in Denmark was scheduled until the end of November, so I couldn't start another academic year in October. The prospect of an internship in a foreign company prompted me to submit an application for a one-year dean's leave. After returning to Poland, I still had almost a year of leave, so I decided to use this time constructively and I got the chance to start working at Contec Poland. After the end of the dean's leave, I moved from full-time to part-time studies in order to be able to combine work with studies.
 The possibility of combining work with studies is one of the strengths of our university. What other aspects of TUL do you consider particularly important? 
In my opinion, a great advantage of the Łódź University of Technology is the wide range of education. Depending on their preferences, the future student can easily find a field in which they will gain knowledge. Participation in laboratories and practical classes allowed me to gain valuable skills - conduct research, diagnostics and obtain information necessary to finalize the project. I can also recommend the course of mechatronics. Especially for people who are not yet fully decided how to direct their career path. The variety of areas presented as part of the study program is a unique opportunity for the student to learn in detail about potential paths for further development. For a true engineer, ready to work in various industrial sectors, it is the basis for a good start in their professional life.
 Contec is one of the world's leading automation system integrators, providing dedicated solutions in the field of industrial automation. The company specializes in the implementation of projects for the manufacturing industry. Source: Łódź University (click here to read the original interview in Polish)