‘As interns, we have to come up with the solutions ourselves’
At Vetipak, we realize that young people are the future. So, we are proud to open our doors for motivated students who want to do an internship with us. Since last January, Daan, Jasper, Arjan, and Sven have been focusing on challenging assignments in the field of robotics. Five questions, five answers.
How did you come up with the idea of doing an internship at Vetipak?
“We are in the last year of our Mechanical Engineering degree program at Avans University of Applied Science in Den Bosch”, Sven explains. “So we were looking for an interesting company for our final internship. I met Arno at a party, and he was so enthusiastic about the constant focus on improvement and innovation at Vetipak. That really appealed to me. So when he said that they always have positions for interns who want to contribute to that, I passed it on to Daan, Jasper, and Arjan. After a tour of the company, we knew it was the perfect place to do our final internships.”
Are you all still as excited about it after four months?
“Absolutely”, says Jasper. “Daan and I are developing an automatic palletizer together. To find inspiration for that, we visited several other companies and the Empack trade fair. Eventually, the idea is that we’ll develop a prototype that can be used throughout Vetipak. So it’s a challenging, but cool assignment.” Arjan: “Sven and I have developed a new tool that allows robotic arms to package small orders. We had to start completely from scratch. That meant we ran into all kinds of challenges along the way, and we had to work closely together to find solutions.”
‘It wouldn’t surprise me to see flying robots at Vetipak within the next 10 years.’
What happens if you can’t figure it out together?
Daan: “We get plenty of guidance from Cees and Arno. Every week, the six of us meet to evaluate our progress and discuss the problems we face. The great thing is that Cees and Arno don’t just tell us how to solve them; they help us think about the solution ourselves. We’ve learned quite a bit that way.” Arjan adds: “The lines of communications are really short here, and we can always ask our colleagues for help when we need it. Everyone is open to helping us with the next steps.”
Will your solution help Vetipak in the future as well?
“Absolutely, which is what makes the internship assignments so rewarding”, according to Jasper. “Tougher legislation means that workers won’t be allowed to stack heavy boxes by hand anymore. The automatic palletizer is a solution to that. The machine is flexible, and it takes all of the heavy work out of the employees’ hands.” Sven: “Our solution also offers added value, because it’s important that the company doesn’t lose orders to low-wage countries. Automation and robotics help keep you competitive, without having to invest in a new line.”
Good work! What does the future have in store for you all?
“Eventually, I want to design entire machines”, says Daan. “You can contract out a lot of work, but it’s really more fun to build it yourself. Especially when you can watch your machine work perfectly when you’re done.” Jasper: “The pace of technological development is extremely fast at the moment, and I think that’s fascinating. Therefore, I’m curious about what the future will bring us, and how we’ll be able to contribute to it. It wouldn’t surprise me to see flying robots at Vetipak within the next 10 years.”