"Experience and creativity"

"Experience and creativity"

Rudy Timmer and Jan-Bart Warnders, panel builders at VDH Products

Two very tall men: Jan-Bart Warnders (51) and Rudy Timmer (57). They have been working at VDH Products for 33 and 36 years, respectively. They both have a background in electrical engineering. As part of a team of 5 panel builders, they are responsible for building the VDH control cabinets.

Control cabinet

This type of control cabinet is located between the control panel and the process. The measurement data (including temperature, air pressure, humidity) comes in and the commands for the installation (valves open or closed, fans faster or slower, more or less pressure or current, lighting on or off) go out. The 'brain' of the control cabinet is the VDH controller.

Diversity is cool

Although they have both been working in Roden for more than 30 years (“nice and close to home”), no day is the same.

“Our control cabinets are everywhere. Spray booths at body shops, fruit ripening installations and cold stores, but also in climate control systems on ships. That diversity is cool, because it means that every control cabinet is different. You have to use your brain all the time.”

It starts with the drawing

The structure of a control cabinet starts with the technical drawing. The drawing package is collected from the design department and the details are explained to them. For example, the power being controlled or the machines being used. Then they go through the diagram and can start building the control cabinet.

Very compact

The work requires a high level of creativity. Sometimes cabinets have to be made very compact – for example, for luxury yachts. They again end up in a place where the door can’t open all the way.

“Our technical expert can make a door that’s removable.  Or we attach part of the installation to the inside of the door.”

Carefully tested

When the control cabinet has been completely assembled, it is carefully tested. Every contact is checked. And all the functions are performed using a simulation with the MC3 software. Customers receive the cabinets with the settings they asked for.

Learning from each other

Panel building requires certain skills. Neatness is important, but experience also plays a role. Customers want the perfect finished product. So when you start at VDH, you first have a start-up period. And testing is reserved for the 3 most experienced builders. Warnders and Timmer also think along with the often somewhat younger engineers and vice versa. Because you work so close to each other, you learn from each other.

Tight squeeze

The biggest changes in the past 10 years involve the computers. They now make it possible to have much more compact cabinets because fewer relays are required. This has made the work even more diverse. Every now and then, a customer reports a malfunction in a control cabinet. Usually this can be solved remotely, but occasionally we have to go out and solve the problem on location.

“Then you’re suddenly standing several metres high on top of a machine because that’s where the cabinet is located. Or you're in a tight corner on your back on a yacht – it's a bit of a tight squeeze when you're over 1.90 metres tall!”