Chiel, how would you introduce the relatively young R&D department of Von Gahlen?
When I entered the organization there was already a solid Quality Management System to guard the well-known quality standards of Von Gahlen. My responsibility is to fully dedicate myself to managing the quality throughout the entire organization. And to evolve this existing system into a more tangible and ‘a living thing’ among the different departments, rather than just a system or a framework.
And what is your personal history at Von Gahlen?
I started as a Mechanical Engineer at the engineering department in 2013. I’m very interested in machine building, especially in a medical context. So that combination attracted me towards Von Gahlen. I was delighted when I got the opportunity to further dedicate myself to R&D when we set up the R&D department in 2018.
So what do you do, ever since?
We basically develop a product portfolio based on the long term vision of the company. An ongoing process that involves market research, specifying business requirements and defining user requirements, followed by designing and testing based on the user
requirements I just mentioned.
But how do you define user requirements when there is not necessarily a customer involved?
True, but that’s part of the fun. We put ourselves in our customer’s shoes and from that perspective we start writing a URS (user requirement specification). Obviously, I do verify certain parts of that URS with our customers, just to see if our vision fits reality.
And from that point on?
If our ‘proof of concept’ passes all the tests and exactly complies with the URS, our engineering department finetunes the technical details. After that, the product will be completed with a data and product sheet. Making the product ready to be added to our catalog and of course: ready to be marketed by our sales department.
Do you only focus on creating new products?
No that’s not the case. Although we emphasize on new product development and new innovations, we also further develop our existing product range. To do so, we closely cooperate with our colleagues from engineering. Together we tweak the products, add functionalities or make adaptations to constantly comply with new regulations.
What does the Von Gahlen promise ‘for sure’ mean with regard to your field of expertise?
From my own experience I can tell that we are quite extreme when it comes to testing. We put everything over and over into practice before we even think about marketing a product. We need real data to draw conclusions. Not just calculations and computer simulations. So that’s how our department adds concrete value to ‘for sure’.
Is that something that distinguishes Von Gahlen?
I would say so. That and our ability to tailor our products and solutions to very specific and detailed customer needs. We are well known as customizers.
In the nearby future, what can customers expect from the Von Gahlen R&D department?
Well, without going too much into detail I can tell that we are currently finalizing a new shielded glove box. Also, and this is quite exciting, we are testing a hot cell which automatically decontaminates using hydrogen peroxide. This H202 process will
increase effectiveness and shorten the cycle time. The results thus far are very promising!