After getting up at seven, I have breakfast with my wife and children. We discuss the day ahead and before I know it, I am on my speed pedelec heading for Prodrive Technologies. This half hour trip is ideal to contemplate the challenges ahead, although I never know what the day will bring.
Our project team is once again trying to defy the laws of nature: we have a limited envelope in which to construct a system consisting of two stages moving at micrometer accuracy. These stages move over a stroke of roughly three meters and at a speed of over one meter per second. We need to properly isolate the system from environmental disturbances. Aside from these performance requirements, the system must look slick from the outside. To be honest, the list of requirements is nearly endless. Our customer expects us to deliver all of this at the lowest possible cost, of course. I feel great to be in the middle of this as a system architect.
Today and the remainder of this week, we are preparing for the face-to-face meeting with our customer in Israel. We have been spending several months to come to the design as it is now. Mechanic and mechatronic colleagues Tom, Pim, Bas and Ron are finalizing the system model in Siemens NX: motion base, stage carriers, frames, covers, etcetera. Control engineer Bauke is processing results of the mechanical FEM analyses to determine our motion control strategy and to simulate achievable accuracy. Jorie is working on motion software, while purchasers are getting quotations for parts. It is my task to maintain consistency of all of this.
Nick, Tom and I set the agenda for next week’s meeting. In Israel, our team, our customer, our mechanical models, simulation results, cost estimates and project plan will meet once more.
Upon agreement, further preparations start for assembly of the first prototypes. Of course, the whole team will participate!
I have yet to encounter the first colleague at Prodrive Technologies who tells me a technical issue cannot be solved
Pros and cons
Create your own dream job
Discipline boundaries do not exist
You never know what the day will bring
Having and giving responsibilities instead of tasks
Flexible work hours
Trips abroad are not always welcomed enthusiastically by my wife and kids
You don’t just go to work, you feel responsible for your project
You decide when, where and how much you want to work
You like to think about manufacturability when designing
You don’t sit and wait, you have a hands-on mentality