YPN visits VDL ETG - visitors Report
1 December 2015
VDL Enabling Technologies Group (VDL ETG), part of the VDL Group is a tier-one contract manufacturing partner with worldwide activities for OEM manufacturers, playing a leading role in high-end technical equipment and users of advanced production lines.
After a warm welcome at VDL ETG by Steven van Bommel, controller and host of the day, the YPN visit started with a presentation of Guustaaf Savenije, CTO of VDL ETG, introducing VDL; how it has grown from a small company in stormy weather into a successful and unique family company with about 10,500 employees. He showed examples of VDL's products and why VDL ETG is transforming from a Build to Print (B2P) into a Build to Spec (B2S) company. This transfer also makes VDL ETG very attractive for higher educated young professionals in precision technology. Moreover, his pitch was reaching out towards other companies in the Eindhoven region to follow the same path since he showed that this is required to reach the top in today's market.
After this inspiring story, there was time for a tour through VDL ETG, giving a glimpse of the production capabilities of VDL ETG and a range of products which VDL ETG machines and assembles. This ranges from semiconductor products (e.g. the wafer handler for ASML) , medical (C-arms for Philips) and space (gigantic aluminium blocks, milled in a milling machine capable to mill blocks with 'swimming pool' dimensions).
After the tour, Gerrit Oosterhuis (Engineer) presented how additive manufacturing (AM) is used within VDL ETG; especially how AM in metal sometimes can be used to outperform conventional techniques. An example was the design of a cooling manifold; shapes and structures can be produced using AM which are optimized for optimal flow, cooling capacity and mass, and which would be impossible to obtain with conventional techniques.
Pierre van den Hurk (Technologist) talked about high speed machining; how knowledge about the dynamical behavior and performance of the total milling set-up, which is already altered after a tool and/or material change, can help VDL ETG to machine both faster and more accurate at the same time. The ideal region for fast and accurate milling lies close to the chatter modes, resulting in the requirement of active acoustical measurements during milling.
Finally, Rick Baade (PH.D. student) showed typical starting opportunities at VDL ETG, by walking us through his first project on a wafer handler robot.
Afterwards, the group came together to share some thoughts about the visit during drinks and snacks.
YPN would again like to thank VDL ETG for organising the inspiring visit.
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