My stay at HQ coming to an end

by Noë van Bergen, winner of the Egemin ie-net Award 2013

Almost two months after the start of my Egemin experience, it’s time for the second post on the Egemin ie-net award blog.

From the 15 to the 17th of October Egemin attended the Transports and Logistics trade show close to our HQ in Antwerp. Egemin exhibited its solutions on a nice booth with a real-life Egemin Guided Vehicle (E’gv®) transferring pallets between racks, a wrapping line and drop-off zone. At the fair I met some existing and potential clients and partners but also the competitors you better take into account, or the “concullega’s” as they are often referred to in Dutch. An interesting subject.

In the last few weeks I paid two reference visits to Oiltanking (Process Automation division customer) and Pfizer (Life Sciences division account). During those visits, I had to dress up in fire resistant clothing respectively overcoat, shoe covers and hair net. The beard net was not required, luckily enough. At the site of Oiltanking located in the port of Antwerp, I witnessed ships on the Scheldt pumping oil towards massive 40,000 cubic meters oil tanks, loads of pipes, valves, pumps and sensors, and a control room with buttons you don’t want to push. At the Pfizer packaging site, small vials were put into their cartons, of course without forgetting the leaflet. The automated boxing line uses sophisticated tools as pick and place robots, leaving no room for mistakes.

The contrasts between both industries are immense, and not only because of difference in scale. For both industries, human safety is extremely important. In pharmaceuticals on the one hand, human safety is reflected in extremely strict regulations to avoid any microscopic particle or organism from contaminating the medicines, threatening patient’s health. In the tank terminal industry on the other hand, stringent safety regulations must secure the entire tank park against incidents and even explosions.

Over the last weeks I’ve been working on a market research for our in-floor chain conveyor system E’tow®. Finding the right approach to tackle the problem was quite a struggle. However, during this first stage I learned about all of the references Egemin delivered over the past decades and about the towline system itself. I hope to come up with the first results of the research very soon.

More and more I encountered the importance of time management. As a student, time management was something to start worrying about towards the end of a semester. But now there is so much to do in such a limited amount of time. This requires from me to set priorities and to make choices : not an easy task. I hardly saw it coming, but my internship at the Egemin headquarters is suddenly coming to an end. From November on, I will be a guest with our colleagues in Switzerland, France and Germany for six consecutive weeks. Expect the next update in two weeks to be written somewhere high in the Swiss Alps.

Tschüss !

P.S. ie-net, the co-organisers of the Egemin ie-net award, recently published an interview about my first experiences at Egemin in their magazine Ingenieur in Beweging. A digital copy of the article can be found here.