After 41 years with Sorg Keramik Service (SKS) Werner Frankenberger is retiring.

For 150 years Sorg has served the glassmaking industry, and since 1949 has settled in Lohr am Main. Like many other boys within Rechtenbach, Germany, Werner Frankenberger aspired to work there.

“​​As a young man, I was fascinated by the stories and experiences of people that worked at Sorg. It soon became clear that I would also like to enter the glass industry,” he said.

It didn’t take long for him to join the company in 1981. Now, 41 years later, Mr Frankenberger is retiring from the business: “​​What I will certainly miss most is the exchange with customers and colleagues.”

Mr Frankenberger started as a bricklayer, and his first task was reconstructing a glass melting furnace in Steinbach am Wald. Eight years later, he moved to the service department, where he enhanced his knowledge and skills with the help of Adolf Knauer. The technical manager turned himself into a mentor for Mr Frankenberger. Sadly, Mr Knauer died in 1996 and it was up to his pupil to assume the manager role.

As a technical manager, Mr Frankenberger was responsible for the technical execution of projects and services. One of his biggest challenges was a glass leakage in South Africa a few years ago: “The customer rang me out of bed in the middle of the night. The next morning, I was on a plane on my way to South Africa to support the customer on-site.”

Asked about his greatest accomplishment, Mr Frankenberger brings up his first replacement of a complete throat in hot conditions: “It took a lot of preparation and consideration. I was jubilant when it all worked out.”

Since he joined the company, a lot has changed: “Today, we have lots of tools and equipment for our work. Back then, everything was done by hand! I also noticed that, due to digitalisation, many things are discussed via video conferencing and email. Personal contact on-site is becoming less and less frequent.”

The manager predicts that more changes are coming: “It is becoming increasingly difficult to find skilled experts and personnel for the glass industry. SKS is facing increased competition, especially in maintenance and hot repairs. The preservation and transfer of knowledge will be challenging, but I am confident that we will handle it.”

Mr Frankenberger's retirement plans are simple yet fun – to cycle more: “I’ll miss my colleagues and customers, but I look forward to investing more time in riding a bike.”