“As Technical Project Manager, it is my role to ensure that we deliver results with industrial impact. At the start of every project, I visit the partner companies, together with a colleague, to really capture the needs of the companies.” Chris is since 2016 technical project manager at Flanders Make. He leads for example the Drivetrain Codesign project, an industry-driven research project aiming at the design of optimal powertrains for machines and their product family.
In this project, 4 industrial partners are involved with a shared interest in this new technology (Picanol, VandeWiele, Dana and Siemens). “Essentially, they all need the best and cheapest solution to control the motions in their respective machines, ranging from weavings loom to heavy vehicles. The goal of the project is to set up an integrated framework to simultaneously optimise physical (such as motor size / power, gear dimensioning...) and control parameters (such as energy efficiency) in the most economical way. In addition, we want to extend this new framework for one machine to a framework for an entire product family through which a lot of variants can be designed simultaneously.”
Every project also involves academic research partners. “For this project, we collaborated with our colleagues from the core labs PMA-P (KU Leuven) and EEDT-MP (UGent). I regularly bring all partners together. I propose the agenda and lead the discussions. When working together with so many partners (private and academic), you have to keep your wits about you. You can't afford getting lost in one specific technical detail.”
Before working at Flanders Make, I had gained some management experience for a supplier in the automotive industry. My field of expertise is electromechanical engineering and mechatronics. As such, one of my current projects – additive manufacturing processes – is way out of my comfort zone.