The guardian of the recipes

Kathleen Skultety

Kathleen Skultety heads the compounding plant team at Freudenberg Sealing Technologies in Berlin. She has the enormous responsibility of making sure millions of bellow seals and axle boots have the right rubber mixture.

Kathleen Skultety did not start out wanting to be a leader. However, for the last 18 months, she has been head of the FST mixing plant team in Berlin. She loves her job: "It was a real challenge at first, but we are a small, close team with strong sense of camaraderie. I am thrilled to have the challenge and support. ." Before joining Freudenberg in 2012, she graduated with a degree in food technology. After jobs in quality management and HSE, she was made deputy manager of the mixing plant.

Kathleen Skultety heads the compounding plant at Freudenberg Sealing Technologies in Berlin-Adlershof

Skultety and her team in Berlin-Adlershof make sure the rubber mixture is just right for Freudenberg’s innovative bellow seals and axle boots. Approximately two million parts are produced here every week for the global automotive industry. What do they do in the mixing plant? "Whatever the developers' rubber recipe, the result is always black", said the 40-year-old, laughing. Every rubber mixture used here or in other plants uses a set recipe. The required rubber mixture properties need to be accurately maintained in each individual mixing process. "The rubber mixtures are basically carbon black, oil and natural rubber. We produce the rubber with the specific properties required for application and customer needs." The secret lies in the recipe. The carbon black affects abrasion, strength and compression deformation of the final product.

Kathleen Skultety's working days have become far more varies since becoming a manager. Her experience as a mother is extremely useful in the many decisions she makes every day. "Child-rearing taught me a lot about managing people. Both require the same fundamentals of openness, the equal say and trust." The biggest challenge is maintaining efficiency while keeping employees in the company long term. "A flat hierarchy is important. Everyone should have a say. Ultimately, the decision and the responsibility are both mine but I want to make sure my team is behind me. I don't want to ram thing through on my own, but rather explain things and make them understandable." She tries to speak daily with her colleagues and know about their daily life and social environment. "Nevertheless, work comes first and the results need to be good, which can sometimes require a balancing act", Skultety said. However, if the recipe is good the mixture here will be just right.


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