Erwin Groothedde has been employed at Voortman Steel Machinery for six months, but has over 20 years of experience in ICT. ‘My role is that of Application Engineer. I have a technical background and it’s great to be able to draw on that again.’ One aspect of his role is the operational management of the software. ‘To explain it briefly, I make sure that the development environment of software such as VACAM is available and up to date, that performance is at an acceptable level and that the right software is available.’ Application management and project management fall within Erwin’s remit. ‘That’s the cherry on the cake. I really enjoy a project-based approach.’ One important project that Erwin is working on together with Jos van Gorp and Jan Schulenburg concerns the changes being made to the IPC (the Industrial PC that controls the machine).
What has changed? ‘In the old situation we installed Windows, TwinCAT and other software using a USB stick. As this had to be performed manually on site, there were limits on the number of machines we could install, for example.’ Thanks to the new system, the necessary software will now be installed from the network. ‘You have far fewer choices to make and the installation process is pretty much automatic.’
A test engineer installs the software, which is adapted to the customer’s requirements. The process now takes a little longer, as the data has to be obtained from the network, but the major advantage is that it is managed centrally. ‘We can also easily log and monitor incidents and changes in this way’.
Thanks to the possibilities that the new systems and technologies open up, more and more elements can be automated. For example, alerts are sent simply and automatically via a tracking tool. Everything is documented. ‘We are moving increasingly towards a standardised approach. Although, in principle, our new way of working may increase the administrative burden, the benefit lies in the clarity and structure it delivers. And, ultimately, in the amount of time it saves too; you can always do things more quickly. Our aim is to automate as much as we possibly can in the future.’ Erwin feels very much at home at Voortman and in his current role. ‘There is a strong team spirit within the departments and within Voortman as a whole. Together we are achieving some excellent results. This was my first project and I can look back on it with great satisfaction.’