Change as the only constant

Rob van Loon, Additive Manufacturing Engineer

In the five years that Rob has been working at KMWE, he went from being an intern to a 3D-artist to a technical specialist. “My tasks and responsibilities kept growing and now I am responsible for 3D metal printing, which is a promising production technology that I have been interested in since college. It is a field that changes rapidly. It is my responsibility to keep shaping my job and to ensure that my role stays relevant.”

 

Endless possibilities

Additive Manufacturing specialist. That is how Rob calls his job. “Basically, I know all there is to know about 3D metal printing and I answer questions from people on the work floor, customers and other external parties. For the last six years, KMWE has been doing research into 3D metal printing. Currently, we are in the next phase. I am busy debunking assumptions and showing customers that this type of technology gives them more freedom in their design, which sometimes requires a bit of convincing! Not everyone is immediately convinced about the possibilities”, he says with a smile.

 

It is my responsibility to keep shaping my job and to ensure that my role stays relevant.” 

 

Future perspective

“Five and a half years ago, I was looking for a company with a link to the aerospace industry for my graduate internship. I also wanted to explore the possibilities of 3D printing in the future, so I was interested in companies that were already quite far with this. After my internship, I started my career at KMWE in a dual function: 50% 3D drawing/engineering and 50% metal printing. Over the years, the latter extended to more than 100%. It is nice that I can outsource more and more to interns and graduate students.”

 

Freedom, responsibility and fun

“In addition to the fact that KMWE leads the way in developments and has some very interesting partners, it is nice to have so much freedom in my job. My opinion matters, my voice is being heard and I determine largely how I want to develop myself. For instance, if I want to attend a trade show, I do not have to ask permission. Furthermore, I can use my expertise. I share my knowledge by giving presentations internally and if a colleague has a question about a technical printing issue, I come up with the solution myself. Do I devise a certain method or do we need more testing? I learn something new every week. In a nice environment with go-kart races and drinks on Friday afternoon. I would not feel happy in a nine-to-five culture where you punch in and punch out!”

 

″I am always searching for the correct answers to questions that have never been asked.″

 

A rapidly changing industry

“There are so many things that I don’t know and that is what makes my job so interesting. I am always searching for the correct answers to questions that have never been asked. That requires flexibility and creativity. Nobody knows what the future will bring and how fast it will change, but I have noticed that the market is starting to embrace the possibilities that this beautiful technology has to offer. I hope that in a few years’ time we will have so many printing assignments that it will be worth to purchase our own metal printing machine.”

Some clients move a bit slower than Rob would like, often because they are afraid to change. “Luckily, this industry is rejuvenating and young people are not hindered by old habits. Additionally, they break taboos because they do not know certain things yet,” he says. “Nowadays, knowledge is quickly outdated. So, who know? Maybe one day I will be replaced by a younger person with a fresher perspective. Luckily, I am supervising interns, because that keeps me relevant”, he concludes with a wink.

 

Rob van Loon, Additive Manufacturing Engineer

Would you like to know more about the possibilities of additive manufacturing?

Additive Manufacturing is an area of expertise where one development follows the next in rapid succession. This has an effect on the designing of parts. They become function-driven.

KMWE has its roots in the conventional subtractive manufacturing business and the company currently deploys additive manufacturing as a technique for serial production as well. Especially for components that need to be as lightweight as possible, are function-integrated or require internal channels. This ensures that functionality is a top priority.

As Additive Manufacturing Engineer at KMWE, Rob van Loon is responsible for the metal 3D printing activities. He works together with K3D to deliver quality components.

In this video, Rob shows the development of a function-driven part, designed to be as lightweight as possible with the use of topology optimization.

Would you like to know more about the possibilities of additive manufacturing?
Schedule an appointment with Rob at r.vanloon@kmwe.com or +31 (0)6 46 86 25 23.