“Everything flows!“

Panta rhei – everything flows! That was a word of wisdom already from the ancient Greek philosopher Heraklit. I am sure he meant something different than what we mean in our industry when we talk about materials handling, dosing and storing. Still literally we strive to achieve the same goal: to have the material flow consistently and without blockage. What seems easy very often turns out to be tricky, there are a lot of pitfalls for the engineers who do their best to provide the best possible material handling to keep the production processes in kilns and mills running.

Yet the words of Heraklit still provide a valuable message for us. Even way beyond the material handling in our plants – everything else also flows – or to use a more pragmatic term: everything keeps changing. Grasping the fundamental meaning behind Heraklit’s words helps us to understand the complexity of our lives. We have to take it for granted that everything keeps changing. How true it is that if we think of our working environment: the colleagues and teams are changing, the costs and prices are changing, the safety rules and the environmental permissions are changing. We may not like it because we feel that once we become accustomed to the new requirements they are about to change again! However, instead of being angry about it would be better to accept these constant waves of change and “find ourselves a boat to ride these waves towards our destination shores.” Changes are both exhausting annoyances and fundaments of improvement. We may find the right attitude to make the right choice in this dilemma by apprehension of Albert Camus’ interpretation on the fate of Sysiphos, who, according to the Greek Myths had to keep on rolling a stone up a hill: “We have to think of Sysiphos as a happy man”. As Sysiphos had to bring the stone up the hill every day, we have to adapt to changes every day – let’s not be angry about it, let’s play the game and use it to make a change for the better!

Sincerely yours

Matthias Mersmann

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