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Nantheepan Kalanathan – Master electrician and shift coordinator at thyssenkrupp Steel

Nantheepan Kalanathan is currently working as a master electrician at the continuous casting plant, Brammenerzeugung Beeckerwerth in Duisburg. There, we refine liquid steel into high-quality products that are ideal for further processing or direct sale. His impressive career began back in 2002 at the Bochum location, where he successfully completed his apprenticeship as an electronics technician for industrial engineering.

With his degree in hand, he moved to Duisburg in 2006 as a qualified electronics technician and continued his professional development there. After three years, Nantheepan took on the position of foreman in the electrical department. Thanks to the support of thyssenkrupp Steel during his master craftsman training, he was able to take on the role of master electrician in 2016. Since 2020, he has also acted as shift coordinator and plays a central role in ensuring trouble-free steel production processes.

In order to realize our vision of green transformation, we are currently expanding our teams of electronics technicians, click here for the job advertisement. In the interview, we learn more about Nantheepan's professional journey, his experiences and his perspective on electrical engineering at thyssenkrupp Steel.

General inquiry


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thyssenkrupp Steel Europe AG

Kaiser-Wilhelm-Strasse 100

47166 Duisburg, Germany

+49 (0)203 52-0

What motivated you to work at thyssenkrupp Steel and what aspects of your job as a now master electrician in the Beeckerwerth slab production plant excite you the most?

From an early age, I spent a lot of time in electrical engineering, in a kind of modular style. I was always fascinated by electrical engineering, as I always tried to use energy to get things moving - this also shaped me during my school years. Later, I even completed my vocational baccalaureate in automation technology, which reinforced my desire to get into this industry. When I was looking for apprenticeships, I simply looked around and my first impression of thyssenkrupp Steel was very positive. A lot of money is invested in training, the workplaces were well equipped - the first impression after the interview was really convincing and that hasn't changed to this day. What inspires me most is the appreciation I have received from my superiors, team leaders and the entire company throughout my career - especially with regard to further training opportunities, where I have been encouraged and supported throughout.

What is your team responsible for and what responsibilities and tasks are associated with your position as shift coordinator in the continuous casting plant?

Our main responsibilities lie primarily in the area of troubleshooting. We look after a production plant that runs around the clock and are, in a sense, the "fire department" for the plant. If a problem occurs somewhere, we are determined to rectify the fault as quickly as possible in order to avoid production downtime. Our focus is also on preventive maintenance to minimize future disruptions.

In my role as shift coordinator, my responsibility is to ensure the continuous availability of the continuous casting plant. This means staffing the systems with the right specialist personnel to ensure casting safety. Coordinating and managing the team, which consists of around 40 people, is a challenge that I face every day and one that I really enjoy. Our aim is to deliver the best solutions and to continuously improve.

As part of one of our diagnostic procedures, the development workshop, your ability to coordinate shifts was identified. What does this mean?

Exactly, I was registered for such a development workshop by my team leader. The workshop serves to assess personal potential by analyzing one's own strengths and areas for development on the basis of a prepared self-presentation and various tasks. The whole thing only lasted one day, but had a lasting impact on my professional development. You receive impulses for differentiated self-reflection and an additional feedback perspective, as various other representatives are on site in addition to the supervisor, such as HR business partners or works council members.

Nantheepan Kalanathan

What did you like best about the development workshop?

The orientation workshop gave me many opportunities to further strengthen my strengths and compensate for my weaknesses. thyssenkrupp Steel and my team leader offered me training and courses to further develop my skills. At the same time, I was given the opportunity to be considered for a higher-skilled job, the shift coordinator.

Which work project are you particularly proud of?

One work project that I am particularly proud of during my career is our Plant 1 here at Continuous Casting Plant, which was built in 2014. At the time, I had the opportunity to prove myself in a completely new environment. As a young electronics technician, I was able to participate in this project from the very beginning and experience all phases of the conversion. The amount of cooperation from thousands of people to get the plant up and running was impressive. It makes me proud to be responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of this plant and the challenge of troubleshooting and keeping it running smoothly is something we have all successfully mastered together.

At thyssenkrupp Steel, we are always looking for reinforcement in the electrical area. In your opinion, what are the key qualities that someone needs to be successful as an electronics technician at thyssenkrupp Steel?

An apprenticeship as an electronics technician is definitely the basis. When it comes to key qualifications, an interest in technology and openness to new technologies are crucial. After all, we are always striving for innovation and new technologies. Technology is constantly improving and is becoming increasingly user-friendly, even automated in some cases. We are therefore looking for motivated people who enjoy working as an electronics technician and are willing to take on these appealing challenges. A certain interest in electrical and automation technology would be ideal. Other qualifications such as manual dexterity, technical understanding, problem-solving skills and the ability to work in a team are also important, as many projects are carried out in collaboration with colleagues.

However, we don't expect anyone to already have all the skills and knowledge. When we take on new employees, they are first given intensive training. They start with a tour of the plant to get to know it. Experienced tradespeople take them to various construction sites to learn about troubleshooting, maintenance or new projects. This means that new employees are not thrown in at the deep end, but are given an individual induction. The plant is large, there is a lot of technology - you can't master it overnight.

Why should talented professionals consider thyssenkrupp Steel as an employer?

The great thing about thyssenkrupp Steel is that there is always the opportunity to continue your development after completing your apprenticeship from your current position through further training measures such as courses and our e-learning offerings in Workday. From my personal experience, I can say that there are a huge number of opportunities for further training. An electronics technician can start here and then develop into a master electrician, shift coordinator and beyond. That's really phenomenal.

What makes you representative of #nextgenerationsteel?

My motivation is to continuously improve, both professionally and in terms of plant-specific developments. We are working intensively on aspects such as the production of green steel and energy-saving measures. #nextgenerationsteel means avoiding stagnation and being open to improvement. For example, we have large electrically powered pumps, as casting requires a lot of water. We have implemented an energy efficiency system for longer downtimes. If the downtime is more than 60 minutes, we switch off the pumps to save energy and become more sustainable. This is just one example of the projects that we are supporting and with which we are already making significant energy savings.

Did this pique your interest?

If so, become part of the #nextgenerationsteel movement and apply as an eletronics technician.

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