Transitioning from Hand-drawn Sketch to Advanced Machinery – Insights from the Engineering Department

Colleagues from our Engineering department derive satisfaction from exploring numerous possibilities, take pleasure in observing final outcomes, and appreciate unconventional pirate-themed music. Meet Gieljan Smits and Tom Stevens, the key contributors in our Engineering department. In this article, they aim to provide further insight into their respective roles and responsibilities.

Introduction: Engineers Gieljan Smits and Tom Stevens

Tom Stevens, who initially joined as an intern several years ago, has successfully progressed to become a fully qualified Engineer. His primary responsibilities involve the development and modification of machinery. Tom adopts a methodical approach, commencing with a blank A4 sheet to sketch out his ideas before creating detailed production drawings for our machine builders.

On the other hand, Gieljan Smits, holding the official title of Engineer, takes on a multifaceted role. With over 9 years of experience at Maats and taking over the position from his predecessor, he is now also responsible for work preparation, procurement, and cost calculations.

First Engineering Challenge

One of Gieljan’s early significant assignments was the conversion of a pipe layer into a more robust version. “Our existing pipe layer had a capacity of 80 tons, and it required an upgrade to 90 tons. While the task might not have been extensive, its immediate deployability was crucial due to high demand, making it a valuable assignment.”

Tom’s first assignment as an intern involved designing the Maats RL26 pipe layer. “It was an excellent project to embark on. Being able to witness the realization of the designed machines as I continued my work at Maats made the experience even more rewarding.”

Customization or Engineering?

At Maats, our engineers do not solely focus on designing entirely new equipment; they also specialize in customizing existing machinery. When queried about their preference between the two, both professionals find it challenging to make a definitive choice. Gieljan states, “Both are enjoyable to work on, but when customizing a machine, you see results quickly.” Tom adds, “The exciting part of engineering is starting with a blank sheet. Eventually, we construct it and witness the tangible end result.”

Major Project: Designing and Realizing the Internal Bending machine

A few years ago, Maats undertook a substantial project: the design and delivery of the Internal Bending Machine, the world’s first pipe bending machine capable of cold bending steel from the inside. For Gieljan, it marked a pinnacle in his career. “Meeting all the requirements for this machine posed an interesting endeavor.” Tom was primary responsible for the technical drawings and calculations. “We have already secured several orders for the Internal Bending Machine. It is safe to say that we have successfully brought the project to completion,” notes Tom.

Both gentlemen are among the few who actually operate the Internal Bending Machine. “In addition to being engineers, we act as operators and advisors, sharing specific knowledge with our clients to ensure the responsible use of the machine.”

Engineering means thinking in endless possibilities

According to the gentlemen, in the field of engineering, everything is possible. “The sky is the limit. But, of course, it must be technically possible and fit within the budget,” says Gieljan. “Of course, we do not just get started. We assess what is needed in the market or respond to our client’s needs,” Gieljan adds.

The Pinnacle of working at Maats

The diverse responsibilities that Gieljan manages contribute to the rapid pace of his days. “Because I have been closely involved in various aspects of the company in recent years, I have gained a lot of knowledge. I understand the machines and customer needs very well.” Tom finds fulfillment in his role because, at Maats, he witnesses the tangible outcomes of his efforts. “While many engineers mainly focus on calculations and drawings, I have the opportunity to witness the end result, conduct testing, and optimize the product. This is what I appreciate about working at Maats – we can conceptualize, draw, and observe the entire construction process first-hand,” concludes Tom.