I learned everything here

21-04-2022
I learned everything here

René Kuiper, manometers and thermometers, VDH Products

René Kuiper has been working at VDH Products for 23 years. “If you’re passionate about what you do, you become a master at it.”

Professional football

School wasn't really my thing. So at around the age of 16 I started working in the medical field, a wholesaler that sold everything needed for a doctor’s practice except the medicines. I combined that with football, which was my other job. I lived in Roden and played with the FC Groningen youth team. I was also part of the selection for the Dutch under 18 national team, and after that I play professional football in the top division.”

Hired at VDH

“The wholesale business grew quickly and they opened a new branch in Assen. They asked me to work there. But I'm from Roden and I didn’t want to commute. Then my sister told me they were looking for people at VDH. I knew the owner at the time; he sponsored VV Roden. And his son was also a good football player. I also knew that Gerard Voskuil worked at VDH. He was the trainer of Achilles Assen. When I was hired, I started working work under Gerard in the pressure gauges and thermometers department.”

Learned the trade

“I was slowly ‘schooled’ as they say in football. I learned the trade step by step. First I was allowed to fill the manometers with glycerine and close them. Later I learned to adjust the settings, and eventually also to calibrate, because VDH manometers can be supplied with a calibration certificate.”

Mastery

“Making a pressure gauge is a precise job. You build them completely by hand, including the 100 bar ones. Gerard taught me everything, such as when to use which tools and how much force to use. If you really apply yourself to something, you become a master at it. I think it's a question of passion. And I have a lot of technical and spatial insight and good motor skills. You need that, because manometers and thermometers are true precision instruments."

Special tools

“Our pressure gauges and thermometers are solid high-quality instruments and are supplied to customers all over the world. Areas of application include refrigeration technology, the dairy industry and oil refineries. I’m responsible for the entire line; we have a great team and we complement each other well. There are no tools on the market for the efficient production of our measuring instruments. Thanks to good communication with my colleagues in the mechanical department, we’ve developed and produced many machines in-house to improve the production process.”

Knowledge transfer

“In order to transfer the work to others, I’m now recording all the production processes in my department in our digital system, called Assembly-X. Of course, you can’t learn everything from a system. For example, there are needles that you have to put tighter over the axle so that they don't vibrate loose. These are things you have to experience and learn in practice. I’m happy to pass on that knowledge.”

Job satisfaction

“I really enjoy my job at VDH. My work is valued, I have my own department and I still have more than enough challenges ahead. I gave up playing football some time ago. Now I cycle a lot. The main skill that football gave me was how to deal with people and with pressure. I benefit from that to this day.”