Arthur van de Goor - senior creative engineer and project leader at ACE
- Oct. 18, 2016
- Frank Steeghs
‘I used to be obsessed about aeroplanes and was not really planning on following the Industrial Design course’, Arthur van de Goor (40) recalls. ‘As only a small percentage of graduates actually ends up working in the aeronautical industry, he eventually opted for the Industrial Design course at the Technical University in Delft. We were considered the odd ones out for a technical course, we were viewed more as artists than as techies’, Arthur laughs.
The area between design and end user is where Arthur likes to spend most of his time and in 2005 he was able to start working as a design engineer and product developer in the Product Development department at ACE. ‘ACE approached me directly. And their offer matched my ambitions. Here I could modify existing products to meet the customer's specific requirements. A great real first job!’
Between designer and end user
Arthur now has plenty of years of experience in the sector and - following a detour via another company - he has now progressed to become project leader and senior creative engineer at ACE. ‘This position at ACE allows me to realise my ambitions. All projects are special. This means that the work remains varied and there is not much opportunity to develop a routine. I like that complexity and variation.'
Even though every project is different, there is a recurring process. Arthur explains that it usually starts with market research, which results in a recommendation. Where are the gaps in the market? What does the target group want? and what must the product be able to do? are questions that are answered during this phase. ‘I am usually not very involved in this part of the process. The customer usually creates moodboards and develops an idea before contacting ACE’, Arthur explains. ‘I get to work when the questions have become clear. We have then reached the phase of concept development and the design of prototypes. We start with "flat prototypes" in the form of photograph’s, drawings and images. We present these to the customer. If they like the design, we create a working prototype. At this stage it becomes clear whether our ideas are technically viable. I find this an interesting phase, because this is where the interplay with the designers starts and I am usually faced with various dilemma’s. The product must look good (design), but it must also be affordable for the consumer. And a product can look good, but is it user-friendly? In addition, I also need to consider legislation and regulations.’
A special project and a personal favourite of Arthur's is the development of a new seating system for an electrical wheelchair that is initially intended for the Norwegian market. We were asked to design a seating system that can be adjusted easily to suit various handicaps. The chair must be easy to adjust by therapists, because the wheelchair will be used temporarily by one client and then needs to be reconfigured for a different user. "Although the design criteria had already been set, it was still a really cool project, because there were many challenges and things that I had never done before; such as identifying stakeholders on the Norwegian market. This market differs a little from the Dutch market. It was also really cool to have a crash test performed, as this is a mobility product. The short development time was also a challenge. I had only 4 months to go from an idea to a working prototype! That is very little time, considering that 1.5 years is a more common period’, Arthur explains with a smile.
In addition to working on various projects, Arthur is also actively involved in the works council [ondernemingsraad (OR)] at ACE. ‘I want to contribute to the organisation and the works council allows me to ‘bridge the gap’ that I sometimes experience between the work floor and management. I act as a conduit to pass information between management and colleague’s on the work floor.'
Arthur has recently also become involved in the development of a Quality Management System. ‘We are effectively mapping the workflow of the project and testing this according to the customer's desired standard. Where necessary, the workflow needs to be adjusted to produce the desired quality. In practice, this is almost always already the case, because the industrial design course teaches the same standard, but now it is being recorded on paper. To put it simply, we are creating a manual. The fun part is that this was originally only going to be used for my own product development department, but other business units at ACE are now interested.'
Passing on knowledge
Quality and subject knowledge are important at ACE. This is reflected in the fact that we are the main partner again this year for the TU/e-Contest. This is an innovation competition held by the Technical University Eindhoven (TU/e), in which students are supported by ACE and other partners to have the opportunity to develop their business plan, prototype or another innovative idea further. Arthur is involved on behalf of ACE and coaches the students. ‘It is always surprising to see what students come up with. The idea is presented to me in a 15 minute presentation and I have to give advice. This is also a challenge for me, because I have to use all my experience and knowledge . It is a very intense process and sometimes I have to dig deep.'
A project that laid the foundations for the collaboration between students from the TU/e and ACE is the football robot TURTLE-5k. "The Technical University Eindhoven has its own robot, but this is very expensive’, Arthur explains. "In order to give other teams the opportunity to work with a robot too, ACE was asked to develop an affordable version. We were asked to industrialise the product, whilst trying to keep the cost price as low as possible.'
The collaboration between the TU/e and ACE ensures that increasing numbers of students or recent graduates know how to contact ACE when they need advice. One current example is the Blue Jay project. This is a project in which a drone acts as a household assistant. Once again, Arthur was able to use his knowledge and experience to develop the idea further. Blue Jay will give its first performance on Friday 22 April in the drone café during the festival weekend to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the TU/e. "I really focused on feasibility. What is the aim for your first demonstration? And what is necessary to achieve this? It is very nice that a drone will have a face for interaction, but for the initial presentation it is impressive enough that the drone can bring you a beer.'
In addition to all that brainwork, Arthur likes to use his hands. ‘When I feel like it, I make furniture at home. Often with a practical aspect, meaning that I make something when I need it. I also do not make furniture to order. I want it to remain a hobby.’ I also enjoy having a drink with colleagues’, for example during one of the staff get-togethers. Arthur is very happy with the way things are. ‘At ACE I have a varied job, with new challenges every time and plenty of opportunities for growth. The thing that is great about ACE is that everything is open to discussion. As a result, you know that there is always a solution.'