Awards for Peter Rutgers and Gihin Mok during the Precision Fair

Awards for Peter Rutgers and Gihin Mok during the Precision Fair

25 November 2015

During the 2015 Precision Fair, two awards were handed out under the auspices of DSPE. Peter Rutgers, Technical Director of Demcon, was presented with the Rien Koster Award for his in-depth insight as well as the creativity, vigour, practical skills and openness he exhibits as a mechatronic designer. Gihin Mok received the Wim van der Hoek Award for his dissertation project at Delft University of Technology, entailing the design of a cost-effective planar precision stage.


The Rien Koster Award is given to a mechatronics engineer/designer who has made a significant contribution to the field of mechatronics and precision engineering. The award was handed out for the seventh time on Wednesday, 18 November, and this time the focus was on the depth and breadth of the mechatronic design discipline. On behalf of the judges chaired by Ton Peijnenburg, Manager Systems Engineering at VDL ETG, Rien Koster, after whom the award was named, presented the award to ir. Peter Rutgers, co-founder and Technical Director of Demcon.    


Winner of the 2015 Rien Koster Award Peter Rutgers, flanked on the right by the man after whom the award is named. On the left, Hans Krikhaar, Chairman of initiator DSPE, shows the trophy associated with the award. (Photo: Jan Pasman/Mikrocentrum)


Peter Rutgers studied mechanical engineering at the University of Twente and carried out his dissertation project under Professor Rien Koster. He collaborated with Dennis Schipper, with whom he subsequently set up the Demcon mechatronic design studio. Their business has since developed into a high-end technology supplier. As of 2015, Demcon has 250 staff members and offices in Enschede, Eindhoven, Amsterdam, Groningen, Oldenzaal in the Netherlands and Münster in Germany. Demcon designs and produces high-tech systems, medical devices and industrial automation. Dennis Schipper still heads the commercial side of the business, and Peter Rutgers is still Demcon's technical 'brains'.

The panel of judges emphasise the fact that this is an award for Peter Rutgers' overall body of work, in recognition of his professional skill and the way in which he has used it to benefit the people around him, both within and outside of Demcon. "When embarking on new projects he quickly gets an idea of what options there are in order to devise solutions. He makes calculations, sketches, builds a test model, working into the evenings if necessary in his home workshop, thereby uncovering the risks and alternatives that the new project entails and coming up with solutions that provide promising responses to his customer's needs. He draws on knowledge not only from his original field but also from other disciplines, such as optics, electronics and software." Thanks to this dedication, customers see genuine improvements to their products, say the judges, that bring real benefits to the world and that can be commercially successful as well. Finally, the judges praised Peter Rutgers' professionalism. "He's not one to keep his knowledge and insight to himself; indeed, he enjoys sharing it with those around him. Not by overwhelming them with science, but by giving them the insight that will enable them to solve the problem themselves." In the words of someone involved: "Peter's openness ensures that he makes the technical experts around him better."


The importance of designing
With its Rien Koster Award, DSPE wants to highlight the importance of designing to the precision industry. Globally, the Netherlands plays a leading role in this industry, which in broader terms can be dubbed the 'high-tech systems' sector. As a group leader at Philips CFT (Centrum voor Fabricagetechnologie [Centre for Manufacturing Technology]) and professor at the University of Twente, the award's namesake M.P. (Rien) Koster has made a major contribution to the Netherlands' position in this sector. Koster is also the author of the renowned book "Constructieprincipes voor het nauwkeurig bewegen en positioneren" [Construction principles for precision movement and positioning)]. The Rien Koster Award comprises a sum of money, made available by The High Tech Institute, and a trophy made by students of the Leidse instrumentmakers School (LiS) [ Leiden Instrument Makers School ].


Design engineer award
The next day (Thursday 19 November) at the Precision Fair featured the presentation of the Wim van der Hoek Award. This award (also known as the Constructors Award) was introduced in 2006 to mark the 80th birthday of the doyen of design engineering principles Wim van der Hoek. The design engineering award is presented every year to the person with the best graduation project in the field of design in mechanical engineering at one of the three universities of technology. This award includes a certificate, a trophy made by LiS and a sum of money (sponsored by the 3TU Centre of Competence High Tech Systems).


Gihin Mok, winner of the 2015 Wim van der Hoek Award, looks at the trophy, which was made by the Leidse instrumentmakers School, together with the man after whom the award is named. (Photo: Jan Pasman/Mikrocentrum)


Learned a lot
The 2015 Wim van der Hoek Award went to Gihin Mok, who studied mechanical engineering at Delft University of Technology. He worked on his dissertation project in the department of Precision and Microsystems Engineering, specialising in mechatronic system design. His dissertation project concerned the use of inexpensive optical sensors for computer mice in the design of a planar precision stage. In the presence of the man after whom the award is named, it was presented by chair of the panel of judges and DSPE board member Jos Gunsing, lecturer in mechatronics at Avans University of Applied Sciences in Breda and technology innovator at MaromeTech in Nijmegen. The judges were impressed by the sheer scope of Gihin Mok's work. "Once again we have learned a lot as judges. He has adopted a systematic, multidisciplinary approach, from specifications to draft to elaboration to testing. We'd be happy to have him in our company!" Gihin Mok is now working as a process control technologist at Shell.