Design for manufacturing crucial in demanding markets
How do you respond to changing market conditions? In recent years, Antonius has developed from a global supplier of vessel heads into a full-fledged production partner for companies in demanding markets. We discuss his background with Sales Engineer Marco Hamersma and talk about how Antonius is making a difference in new and existing markets. His answer revolves around Design for Manufacturing, a close collaboration with the customer in which a product is further developed with a view to (serial) production.
As a native of Maasbracht, it is not surprising that Sales Engineer Marco Hamersma works at Antonius because the company has been a household name in the region for decades. Still, fresh from his Mechanical Engineering studies, he thought he would never work for Antonius:
“I did an internship here during my studies, so I knew the company well. But I also thought I knew I wanted to do something else, I was trained as a technical draftsman after all. After my studies I started practicing that profession at various companies. My technical knowledge and social attitude ensured that it did not take long before I was appointed to a sales position. That turned out to be the right direction for me. When a great opportunity opened up at Antonius I couldn’t resist.
At Antonius, a salesman would retire within a few years, and I had the opportunity to learn the trade from him. I started out as a calculator but was able to take over more and more of his sales duties so he could hand it over with peace of mind. My technical knowledge came in very handy; I can often dive into the technology with the customer at the table. That is greatly appreciated.”
Hamersma/Marco served the Dutch and later also Belgian customers of Antonius for 15 years. In 2016, he handed over these markets to colleague Ralph Giesen and focused on Antonius’ growth in the UK, Scandinavia and the rest of the world.
“In the Netherlands and Belgium, customers know Antonius well, abroad it’s more about being a pioneer. You have to make sure that customers want to get to know you and remember you so that they think of you when something happens. In recent years, I often flew to the Middle East, North and South America to visit potential customers and build a relationship. The variety, both the countries and the different questions that arise from this, gives me a lot of energy.
And that is necessary, because a client from Vancouver can sometimes not meet during our regular working hours due to the time difference. I enjoy making time for that. In the company they also like to joke about this: “Call 0900-antonius, and Marco will answer your question quickly.”. They mean it as a joke, but I’m proud that many of my customers really feel that way. Our knowledge often makes the difference.”
Design for manufacturing
Antonius produces and assembles complete exhausts for a shipbuilding customer. Already during the preparation, Antonius considers the manufacturability of certain products and proposes improvements in the field of material selection and production process. Marco talks about one such example:
“A particular part, consisting of about 40 segments, was initially formed by means of Explosion Moulding. This is a special technique that is a relatively poorly reproducible and expensive production method. The large number of segments resulted in high costs in continuous production. The number of segments therefore had to be reduced but this could not cause a different airflow, volume or pressure than was incorporated in the design. Together with the customer, we designed the part in such a way that it consists of only 20 segments and the end product performs the same.
This is only possible if the customer works with a supplier that has in-depth knowledge of both materials and production techniques. An engineer designs something that is often technically perfect but sometimes not optimal to produce. We then work with customers to prepare the design for actual production. ”
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Sustainable energy storage
An important but relatively young market for Antonius is what are internally called the renewables, the storage of, for example, hydrogen, natural gases, or CO2. A lot of development takes place here and fits the company like a glove:
“Antonius is able to work with special or even exotic materials on a scale that is beyond the reach of many companies. We have a lot of experience with manufacturing large pressure vessels and complex products that are used by or even at the sea and therefore must be highly corrosion resistant and reliable. At the moment, there is a lot of demand for this, especially in the market for renewables, new companies encounter all kinds of challenges that cause delays or other problems.
That is why we help more and more customers with the new challenges that arise when it comes to new applications or the use of certain techniques. In doing so, we use our extensive knowledge of materials and production techniques to work with the customer to arrive at a solid product that can be produced at scale.”
Would you like to know more about a collaboration with Antonius? Contact our sales department by phone or email or discuss your question directly with Marco Hamersma by +31(0)475 439 000 or email@example.com.